With just a few days before the NHL expansion draft and the actual NHL draft, the NHL rumor mill is starting to heat up.
National Hockey League teams had two options for putting together their protected lists for the draft: either protect a goalie and eight skaters, or a goalie, seven forwards and three defensemen.
Anaheim wants to keep defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, Columbus wants to keep goalie Joonas Korpisalo, forward Josh Anderson, and defenseman Jack Johnson, and NY wants to keep forwards Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas.
There were a number of teams who left exposed quality players and when a variety of trades didn't take place prior to the trade freeze on Saturday, the assumption was that future deals would be announced during the NHL Awards and the introduction of the NHL's newest roster.
In addition to Rask, forwards David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Riley Nash, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak are not available to the Golden Knights, nor are defensemen Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.
The Predators elected to protect a fourth defenseman that exposed Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, including 23 this past season.
Defence (11) - Karl Alzner (Washington), Jack Johnson (Columbus), Dmitri Kulikov (Buffalo), Ben Lovejoy (New Jersey), Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles), Adam McQuaid (Boston), Marc Methot (Ottawa) Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton), Marco Scandella (Minnesota), Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago), Sami Vatanen (Anaheim). This means that Panarin does not have to be protected since he can not be selected by Vegas.
Nobody scored more among available players than the 33-year-old Eaves, who cracked the 20-goal plateau for only the second time with 32 last season. The Vegas Golden Knights now have until 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday to make their picks for the draft.
"We really like what we're looking at right now", McPhee said.
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The Detroit Red Wings also made a fascinating decision by opting to protect goaltender Jimmy Howard over Petr Mrazek.
While talking to teams, McPhee said the Knights have also been in discussions with individual unrestricted and restricted free agents.
McPhee said Monday this would be the final day for teams to make trades as he will select his expansion team on Tuesday. Las Vegas won't be able to pick from the protected players but they'll be taking one unprotected player from each team. McPhee can also negotiate deals with teams to not pick certain players, although there will certainly be a price tag attached.
The NHL released their protection lists from all 30 teams ahead of the expansion draft for the Las Vegas Golden Knights. They only need a couple, and theres opportunities for trades from that perspective.
Once he knows what trades he's making, the Golden Knights staff will really dig down on every expansion decision.
"I heard gunfire coming from the camp and I saw people running out of the site", said Modibo Diarra, who lives nearby.
ROLLING THE DICE: Pending free agent Kevin Shattenkirk of the Capitals wants to be a No. 1 defenseman and could get that role in Vegas. Any pending free agent signed would count as Vegas expansion-draft selection from that players team. The Golden Knights must take players whose average annual salaries add up to at least $43.8 million, or 60 percent of the $73 million salary cap that was in place for this season.
In so many ways, the National Hockey League got this right.