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


The NHL announced Sunday the players that each of the league's 30 existing teams has protected in the expansion draft and which players each team has made available to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

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.

The Golden Knights will also have this three-day window to meet with the pending restricted and unrestricted free agents exposed in the draft, and if they negotiate a deal with one of those players in that time, that counts as Vegas' pick from that team.

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Among those left unprotected, and available to the Golden Knights in the draft, were goalies Cam Ward and Eddie Lack, forwards Lee Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom, and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.

"There was a certain intensity to the last two or three days because we were trying to keep an eye on all the other clubs and it certainly changed today", McPhee said yesterday morning, only three hours into the expansion draft period. Those side deals won't be announced until Wednesday night, leaving nearly a full four days of pondering and guessing why Player A is exposed or why Player B was protected.

"The issue for us isn't going to be, 'Can we fill out the roster?' It would be, 'Do we have too many players?' There are a lot of good players there".

A handful of big names are already available to Vegas as the team's pick announcements near, and a flurry of ripple-effect trades and signings could be coming as well.

The release of the teams protected lists kicks off a busy two-week stretch for the National Hockey League.

The Canes protected goalie Scott Darling, forwards Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe; and defensemen Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy and Trevor Carrick.

"Everybody's going to have conversations", Brad Treliving of the Calgary Flames said.

"We really like where we're looking right now", McPhee said Sunday at the team's Summerlin offices. "People have identified people on other clubs that they'd like to have and we have to establish the value for that and whatever you want to give us has to be better than what we can claim from that club". "Having the ability to have a spot to protect someone, if all the other boxes were checked, there certainly was an advantage".

But trades that didn't happen before the freeze stood out even more, most notably the Wild not dealing Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella or Jonas Brodin, and the Senators not moving Marc Methot or Dion Phaneuf. The 23-year-old forward was swapped to Arizona last weekend from the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-player, one draft-pick transaction.

McPhee seems ready to let the games - and negotiations - begin.