The Fleury-to-Vegas speculation ignited what is sure to be a chaotic two-week period in which the expansion and entry drafts are expected to be accompanied by a flurry of trades that will, in the end, fill the roster of McPhee's squad. One of the teams that has reportedly shipped their first-rounder to Vegas is the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The mock draft also stated that Fleury is very likely to join the Knights and has nowhere to go but Vegas for the expansion franchise.
McPhee held court Sunday in Sin City, hours after the expansion draft protection lists for all 30 clubs were publicly revealed, and said there were "no surprises" in what has been made available to the Golden Knights. The Bruins have to protect either eight skaters and a goalie or seven forwards, three defenders, and a goalie.
Without making a deal before Saturday's afternoon trade freeze went into effect, the Rangers submitted a protection list of 11 players to the National Hockey League and NHLPA for the expansion draft that will be formally revealed - along with those of 29 other teams - at 10 a.m. Sunday. Fleury was nearly traded at the deadline due to the Penguins already having Matt Murray in net but they chose to keep him for their playoff run; a good decision as Fleury starred in the first two rounds with Murray nursing an injury.
Losing a quality blueliner like Connor Murphy isn't going to improve the situation in Arizona, especially after the team's goaltenders struggled horribly in between the pipes all last season.
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It's possible Thomas won't even be in the final pairing Sunday afternoon, but he is firmly back in the mix. I put myself in a great position. "And I'm kind of going out there and just doing it, and letting it go".
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"The league controlled the timetable", majority owner Bill Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Florida also left captain Derek MacKenzie and veteran forwards Jussi Jokinen and Colton Sceviour available. Players with no more than two years of experience, most notably Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko for St. Louis, are exempt from being selected in the expansion draft.
That would mean Stempniak and forward Joakim Nordstrom would be available to the Golden Knights, and Stempniak could be the choice. But the Bruins, who admitted that they wanted more production out of No. 42 but were more than satisfied with what he brought to their locker room, were never going to ask him to waive for Vegas.
"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.
The Predators were put in a bind in when exposing Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, because they elected to protect a fourth defenseman. The Devils lose one player to expansion, and here are the most likely candidates to be taken.
The expansion draft process begins Saturday when teams submit their draft protection lists, with the names released to the public the following day. Smirnov finished last season with 47 points in 39 games to the tune of 28 assists and 19 goals.