Wild have a plan going into NHL Expansion Draft

Alyssa Bailey
June 19, 2017

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee will be a busy man for the next few days. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets have already agreed to deal their first-round pick this year and a prospect to Vegas for McPhee to steer clear of forward Josh Anderson, young goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Jack Johnson.

This is a collaboration between Vegas Golden Knights writers Thomas Conroy and Shayna Goldman analyzing the 2017 Expansion Draft by each division.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is among the high-profile players left unprotected and available for the Vegas Golden Knights to select in this week's expansion draft.

"We think we can accomplish two things", McPhee said.

"The issue for us isn't going to be, 'Can we fill out the roster?'" McPhee told reporters after the list was released. They will identify the best asset on each team they can select.

As for goalies, each team will have to expose at least one under contract for next season, or a qualified restricted free agent.

The Wild have an atypical run-up to the Entry Draft as they don't have picks in the first or second round. Tomas Plekanec has one year left on a contract that pays him $6 million, which is probably too much for the Knights. The pressure would then be on the Golden Knights to pony up in contract talks, but if the team is set on acquiring immediate talent, so be it.

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The team could have conceivably asked Seabrook to waive his no-movement clause to expose him in the draft, but it seems highly unlikely that Vegas would have wanted to deal with his almost $7 million cap hit.

Antti Raanta, Michael Grabner, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast appear to be the consensus choices as the top candidates to be selected by the Golden Knights by Wednesday.

The NHL Expansion Draft will take place on Tuesday, and teams had to submit their list of protected players to the league on Saturday afternoon. The favorites to be protected are Ferland, who the Flames believe has the potential to make an impact in the lineup next season, and Lazar, a trade deadline acquisition from the Ottawa Senators that they believe can resurrect his career after playing in their system for a full season. So, as a hypothetical, a team that might be interested in Washington's Grubauer could incentivize Vegas to select him in the expansion draft and then subsequently trade him.

"It certainly took a lot of pressure off of the organization to not pursue a trade and that's really what we wanted to do", GM Jim Rutherford said.

"Vegas doesn't need 10", said Chayka after making a proactive move to free up the Coyotes' protected list by trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary. Their coach, Gerard Gallant, was sacked by the Panthers just 22 games into the 2016-2017 season after leading the team to a club record 47 wins and 103 points in 2015-2016.

Each team must expose one defenseman and two forwards under contract for next season who played a minimum of 40 National Hockey League games last season or 70 games over the past two.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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