If there’s been one constant in the Expansion Draft strategy talk throughout the last 11 months it’s the idea of gathering assets. Whether it’s simply selecting a good player, or making a trade to pick a player (or not pick a player) in exchange for draft picks and/or prospects, George McPhee will have the league by the balls for a three day period, and he’s got to make the most of it.

There are tradeable assets all over the Expansion Draft, it’s just a matter of finding the right partner to dance with. Sometimes it’ll be something as obvious as taking a big contract off the hands of a contending team, but other times McPhee and other GMs will have to get creative.

That’s right, the free agent negotiation window that’s still up for debate as to how long it will last… it’s an asset in it of itself.

The Golden Knights have to be a bit careful with these types of deals because they are forbid from buying out any player until the end of the first season. If someone goes back on a deal, things could get really hairy in a hurry. 

But putting that one tiny concern aside, this is yet another example of a way McPhee and Co. can take advantage of the options this Expansion Draft has to offer.

Just look at the last few weeks, two players’ rights were traded just so teams could have exclusive negotiating rights with that player. Ben Bishop to the Stars and Scott Darling to the Canes. For a 72 hour window (unless they shorten it) the Golden Knights have negotiating rights to EVERY free agent in the league. The Stars gave up a fourth round pick for a few extra days of one-on-one time with Bishop. Carolina gave up a third rounder to do the same.

What might negotiation rights with Kevin Shattenkirk, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Sharp, Alexander Radulov, or Joe Thornton be worth? Of course it’s slightly different here because Vegas would have to get the deal done first and then secure the trade, but there’s no doubt it’s something that could, and probably, should happen from June 17th to the 20th.

When this is all said and done, after the clock runs out on the Expansion Draft, the Golden Knights should have plenty of time on a different clock a few days later in Chicago at the Entry Draft.