NHL Expansion Draft: 5 best players available for Golden Knights

Conventional wisdom has the Knights selecting Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With the protected lists now available, the Vegas Golden Knights have until 10 a.m. ET Wednesday to determine which player they will draft from the 30 other National Hockey League teams. Detroit’s Petr Mrazek, once considered the top Red Wings goaltender, wasn’t protected along with defenseman Xavier Ouellet, a second-round pick in 2011.

As has been noted throughout this process, the protection lists are somewhat of a starting point for each of the 30 teams that will be forced to lose a player to the expansion Golden Knights.

The Anaheim Ducks are also a strong candidate to pull the trigger on a deal after failing to protect Vatanen and Manson – two coveted defensemen they’d love to retain.

The Penguins opted instead to protect Hornqvist, who has one year left on his deal at $4.25 million. The fifth-year player, however, won’t be ready for the start of the season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury.

Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens were among other forwards left unprotected.

The Golden Knights now have until 10:00 am (EST) Wednesday morning to submit their expansion selections to the league’s front office. The one thing that didn’t materialize was a large number of trades happening involving players teams didn’t want to expose. The Golden Knight can’t select 10 goalies because they’re required to use up 26 of their 30 picks in filling 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalie spots. The selections will be announced Wednesday during the NHL Awards Show from Las Vegas. He holds the cards for a significant chunk of the league’s talent, fielding calls from colleagues willing to trade something to keep McPhee from plucking certain players from their rosters, or to take someone from another team to flip in a deal.

McPhee wasn’t prepared to discuss individual players when specifically asked about Fleury, but noted there were no surprises based on the numerous mock drafts the Golden Knights conducted over the past few months.

There’s also nothing barring Vegas from having a deal in place to select a player in order to trade him to another team.

Electing to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender-in lieu of protecting eight total players regardless of position-St. They have one unrestricted free agent – Scottie Upshall – and three restricted free agents (Parayko, Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov).

“Everybody’s going to have conversations”, Brad Treliving of the Calgary Flames said.

Now that the lists are out and Vegas can really make decisions, the league looks in for a insane few days.

Just two years ago, the Senators got a first-round pick from Buffalo for goaltender Robin Lehner, Boston a first-round pick from San Jose for Martin Jones and NY second- and third-round picks from Edmonton for Cam Talbot.

“We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks”, McPhee said, via the Knights Twitter account. The 25-year-old has played effectively in a depth role with Chicago for the past two seasons, boosting up veterans like Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell. They only need a couple, and there’s opportunities for trades from that perspective.