Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears

McPhee has made it known that he’s willing to cut deals-if you want a player, Vegas could select them and trade them to you.Still, a few protected players make you wonder …While De Haan likely won’t stand out on the stat sheet in a insane way; the market for young, responsible defensemen is slim, and the Golden Knights would be remiss to pass up on him. “Now that we’re here at the finish line, we can look back and say we’re glad that we did”. “We expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice”. Any player with a current/continuing no-movement clause was exempt, and eight of the Blackhawks’ 11 protected players have one (Toews, Kane, Hossa, Anisimov, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Crawford).The Anaheim Ducks are also a strong candidate to pull the trigger on a deal after failing to protect Vatanen and Manson – two coveted defensemen they’d love to retain.The Predators elected to protect a fourth defenseman that exposed Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, including 23 this past season.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). They can also select a pending free agent from any team in place of an unprotected player, although they’d then corner themselves into contract negotiations. He has played up and down the Penguins’ lineup _ and will likely find himself in a bottom-six role next season _ but could easily be a top-six winger for an expansion team. There is enough talent available to select a competitive team for 2017-18, but with other GMs eager to protect their own assets, stocking the cupboards with draft picks and prospects seems to be the path Vegas will take.Francis didn’t say what his plans might be, saying, “We’ll just see where we are and what happens” in the expansion draft.The Blues used the option of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goal, and their list was exactly what the Post-Dispatch projected, with Ryan Reaves occupying the final forward spot.Mike Smith went from Arizona to Calgary and a couple of defensemen traded places as National Hockey League teams made last-minute moves before the Vegas expansion draft roster freeze. Under contract for another four years at $7.25 million per season, the Bruins will instead focus on trying to find another capable wing to skate with Krejci, particularly on his left side.The league is certifying each team’s protected list to make sure all rules of the process are followed, and the lists will be released to the public shortly after 10 a.m. ET on Sunday. He’s also your expected replacement for Dominic Moore should he leave via free agency come July. Vegas’ may take on injured David Clarkson ($5.25 million salary cap hit) as part of the deal.McPhee holds all the cards and for this brief period of time is the single-most important figure in hockey.The new cap ceiling will be about a 2.% increase from the $73-million figure used in 2016-17.