Three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Nashville forward James Neal and Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen are among the high-profile players available for the Vegas Golden Knights to select in the National Hockey League expansion draft on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
McPhee was excited to discover the cache of quality players to choose from. What happens if McPhee calls and tells the Capitals they are selecting the smiling Minnesotan because he or another National Hockey League team wants him? "We're focused on our goal of winning the Stanley Cup and are looking forward to this week as we continue to prepare for the 2017 NHL Draft and free agency".
Keep in mind that just because a player has been left unprotected doesn't mean he's necessarily going to be snapped up by Vegas.
Finally, TSN's Pierre LeBrun highlighted one other option on the table for the Golden Knights: selecting an available player and immediately flipping him in a trade to a third team.
The Knights acknowledged as much when they released the following press release late Saturday.
The Winnipeg Jets solved an expansion issue even as they didn't make a trade as Toby Enstrom agreed to waive his no-movement clause before the deadline Friday, allowing them to protect their other three top defensemen: Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers. Vegas' may take on injured David Clarkson ($5.25 million salary cap hit) as part of the deal.
Anaheim Ducks couldn't find room on their list to protect fifth year defenceman Sami Vatanen, who won't be ready for the start of next season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury. They have one unrestricted free agent - Scottie Upshall - and three restricted free agents (Parayko, Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov).
Another example is the New York Islanders, who went with the unique decision of protecting five defensemen, leaving forwards like Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey available. Teams could also ask Vegas to pick an exposed player they're interested in, then get the Knights to subsequently flip him. And that he's open to being dissuaded with picks, and possibly prospects, gels with everything he has said thus far. So there are definitely some great goalies available.
"We are now going through the process of trying to put the team together, we are still talking to clubs and we are hoping to do deals with clubs if they want to protect their rosters", he told reporters, according to SportsNet. It also is another team-first act in a career full of them. "But we will not make a claim with any club before we talk to the club".
Under that line of thinking, Jori Lehtera is a player many Blues fans would like to see claimed by Vegas, as his performance has rarely lived up to expectations set by his rookie season and hefty contract.
"You can negotiate your way out of this if you wish", McPhee said, via the AP's Stephen Whyno.
The Knights now have until Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET to submit their expansion draft selections and any standard player contracts that were signed. Vegas must select players whose salary cap charges add up to at least $43.8 million, or 60 percent of the $73 million salary cap that was in place for the 2016-17 season. But those kind of characteristics also make for a potential blockbuster deal if the right team calls with the right offer.
The Golden Knights are owned by Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, a consortium led by Bill Foley, the team will be a member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference starting in the 2017-18 season.