All talk, few trades before NHL's expansion roster freeze

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Getty Images

McPhee said he believes he "can accomplish two things" during the expansion process after selecting players and making trades with other clubs. As there are some top defensemen, such as Anaheim's Sami Vatanen and Ottawa's Marc Methot.

Sure, Vegas (in the National Hockey League, the "Las" part is forbidden for some reason) is an exciting town, but in this case it comes with a caveat. There's a similar concern from the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators, who will most likely expose a few intriguing forwards to protect defensemen Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm.

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee had difficulty containing his excitement in anticipation of the NHL's expansion draft list being released. Until Wednesday at 10 AM ET McPhee and his team, which consists of several former Capitals scouts and coaches, will pour over a list of available players for the expansion draft. The Minnesota Wild and the New York Islanders were not far behind but one look at the Ducks' protected list and you can see it was like a Christmas present for Vegas GM George McPhee. "Every team is this league has a chance to protect their roster".

The Golden Knights will be allowed first crack at any pending unrestricted or restricted free agent, as long as that player is not protected in the Expansion Draft.

Frank Seravalli of TSN reported weeks ago that it's possible the Vegas Golden Knights end up with both Kruger and van Riemsdyk. McPhee is willing to negotiate with any and all teams willing to give up something to keep a certain player.

The Canes could use the 7-3-1 option, protecting forwards Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe, and defensemen Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy and possibly Trevor Carrick. Talk to McPhee. Want a player from another team's unprotected list? If the Golden Knights agree to terms with one of them, they are not permitted to take a second player from San Jose's list of available players. The Golden Knights could swipe Rangers forward Michael Grabner, who scored 27 goals this past season. Considering the stakes ahead for the Golden Knights and the Blues, there are five likely victims whose hockey careers may continue away from the Gateway City as soon as this week.

Everyone knew that the NHL Expansion Draft was going to be interesting.

At forward, the Sharks protected Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson, Jannik Hansen and Ryan Carpenter, who re-signed with the team Saturday for two years.

In other NHL news Sunday, the league informed teams that the salary cap ceiling for the 2017-18 season will be $75 million, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

That's a bit further down the line and it remains to be seen how it will play out, but for expansion purposes Fleury pretty much took out all the drama or unknown, when he nearly literally "took one for the team" to open himself up for the expansion draft. Following the draft, the Golden Knights will be permitted to trade players that were selected.

From Saturday afternoon through Thursday morning, after Vegas makes its picks, the rest of the teams can't make trades with each other.

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