Golden Knights Ask Fans for Input on Which Blackhawks Player to Pick

Buffalo Sabres forward William Carrier

Buffalo Sabres forward William Carrier

"I'm really pleased with what's available", McPhee said.

"What we've told everyone today is that today will be the last day that we are going to have (trade) discussions", McPhee said. "We can put a good team on the ice and accumulate draft picks and be in a surplus situation here in the next couple of years".

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.

Beyond building what could be the most competitive expansion team in National Hockey League history, McPhee has the golden opportunity to play some desperate teams against each other and build a collection of draft picks and other assets.

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. "We will not make a claim with any club before we talk to the club".

Conventional wisdom has the Knights selecting Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins instead protected Matt Murray a week after the second-year goalie led them to win their second consecutive championship.

There's also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one. Along with Fleury, other goalies exposed are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Petr Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth.

The Golden Knights have the ability to sign unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents who are eligible for the expansion draft (which excludes the Blues' Parayko), but that transaction would count as the team's selection. But it's unlikely the two would consider joining an expansion team at this point in their respective careers.

And then we're going to go that club and say: 'We have interest in this player, there's another club that has interest in this player, how do we want to do this, how can we protect your roster? He intends to inform teams who Vegas is selecting in the event they want to strike a deal to have the Golden Knights choose another player.

As a result, teams interested in a particular pending UFA could ask Vegas to sign that player, then trade him to them at a later date.

Teams were allowed to protect either seven forwards and three defensemen or eight skaters regardless of position. He's got one year left on his deal with a modest $1 million U.S. cap hit. Every team in this league has a chance to protect their roster.

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.

The Penguins also might have bought out Fleury's contract, but that would have left them with a salary cap penalty of nearly $3 million per year for the next four seasons. Also, the salaries of players selected must total at least 60 percent of the salary cap ($43.8 million) for the season that just ended.

Maniago, meanwhile, had the dubious distinction of allowing Bobby Hull's record-breaking 51st goal of the 1965-66 season when Belleville's own Golden Jet became the first player in history to pot more than 50 in a single National Hockey League campaign.

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