List in hand, Golden Knights set to pick players for expansion roster

The list of players available to Vegas was released over the weekend, with each team protecting seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie.

Every team - except for Vegas, of course - had until 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning to finalize a list of players they wanted to keep from being selected in the expansion draft.

So who might the Golden Knights select?

"There's a lot of unprotected goalies out there", Chayka said. Martin, 36, plays a key role on the Sharks blue line as the Burns whisperer, but with depth on the backend, the Sharks can afford to lose him knowing that his salary could give them some wiggle room in free agency.

The new cap ceiling will be about a 2.% increase from the $73-million figure used in 2016-17.

"That's just a way to make it easier so they would have more flexibility heading down the stretch, not having to worry about me, having to force a trade or something", Fleury said last week. That could set up a draft-and-trade scenario with the Golden Knights selecting a player only to flip him in the days following the draft.

"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. "The reality is that we will be losing a player and quality person from our organization but whatever the outcome, we feel fortunate that we have a strong prospect pool with the San Jose Barracuda to help fill that loss".

"This has worked out very well for the Vegas Golden Knights and we expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice", McPhee said.

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He learned the management game under Pat Quinn with the Vancouver Canucks and later went to his first and only Stanley Cup final at the helm of the 1997-98 Washington Capitals.

"I think Chad had a good career for himself as a back-up, had an excellent year, last year, and there's a chance he could be a starter in this league".

With this group, you have a personality to sell the game in a new market and Stanley Cup victor in Fleury as well as backups in Raanta and Mrazek who appear ready to take the next step. He was the seventh overall pick in the 2012 draft and would immediately become one of Vegas' top blue-liners. There's also Philipp Grubauer in Washington who has high end talent and whom McPhee drafted while he was the GM there. As for defensemen, Minnesota exposed both Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella, while Buffalos Zach Bogosian and Dallas Dan Hamhuis are also available.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Panthers left Jonathan Marchessault exposed for the draft.

But since teams weren't able to protect everyone they would like, Vegas is going to use that against them and try to swing deals to selecting specific players. Winnipeg is another as the Jets need a starter to be a playoff threat.

Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Thomas Vanek of Florida, Bobby Ryan of Ottawa and Kris Russell of the Edmonton Oilers were among the other forwards left unprotected.

His appeal: Turns out Staal still might have more to give as a top-two National Hockey League centre - rebounding from a meek finish in Carolina with 28 goals and 65 points in his first season for the Wild.

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