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NHL: Vegas holds all the cards with NHL expansion draft list out

Three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Nashville Predators forward James Neal and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen are among the high-profile players available for the Vegas Golden Knights to select in the National Hockey League expansion draft. Vegas must pick one player from each of the existing 30 teams, but there’s only so much room on the roster next season even with some minor league prospects thrown in. No more, no less. He did not say if that might be an option with McPhee and the Golden Knights.Kevan Miller: In what was really a year-long tryout between Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, and Colin Miller, I really think it was a strong postseason showing from Kevan Miller that’s earned him the right as the club’s third and final protected defenseman.Among the other available defensemen: Paul Martin (San Jose); Trevor Daley (Pittsburgh); Ian Cole (Pittsburgh); Dan Hamhuis (Dallas); Johnny Oduya (Chicago); Dmitry Kulikov (Buffalo); John-Michael Liles (Boston); Jack Johnson (Columbus); Andrei Markov (Montreal); Brooks Orpik (Washington); Marc Methot (Ottawa).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. Well, McPhee is clearly going to listen, but if another team were interested in the draft-and-trade, it could drive up the price of protection, landing Vegas a higher draft pick.Players with two years or less of professional experience are automatically exempt from the draft, meaning that the Blues did not have to protect forwards Ivan Barbashev, Robby Fabbri and Zach Sanford and defensemen Colton Parayko and Jordan Schmaltz. The selections will be announced Wednesday during the NHL Awards Show from Las Vegas.Andy Andreoff, left wing: Eligible to become a restricted free agent July 1.McPhee told reporters Sunday that “there were no surprises” when the Golden Knights received the lists and that he was “really pleased with what’s available“. However, teams are still permitted to make moves with the Golden Knights during that stretch.McPhee will be fielding many offers in the next few days as teams try to keep available players from being drafted. “So we can start with a real good team and build it with these draft picks to a team that can win [the Stanley] Cup”.What’s uncertain is how many trades the Golden Knights have negotiated with teams to influence which player Vegas selects or avoids. Teams could only protect 10 skaters at most, and some elected to protect eight (with four defenseman).The Columbus Blue Jackets have a trade in place with the Vegas Golden Knights, as TFP has already reported, but the parameters of the deal are coming to life.Added McPhee: “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 lots of good players there”.In one mock draft from the Washington Post last June 21, it was revealed that the Knights is likely to pick veterans in the league with in Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal at the top of the list.