When Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the NHL's first expansion team since 2000 would be based in Las Vegas, Nevada nearly a year ago, the idea of hockey mixed with the glitz and glamour of the desert may have been hard to believe.
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.
"We have a pretty good idea of what we would do if we had to put the list in right now", he said.
Fans will get a treat on Sunday, as 10 a.m. ET stands as the deadline for the league to "approve and simultaneously distribute" said protected lists.
Expansion draft rules require the Vegas Golden Knights to select one unprotected player from each team, meaning they will take on the contract responsibilities of at least one player who skated with the Blues last season. 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. The one thing that didn't materialize was a large number of trades happening involving players teams didn't want to expose. 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 big moment. We're unsure how this reveal will be done, but we know it will be during the annual league Awards show on NBCSN and Sportsnet. 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. There are some teams that are positioned differently than others with the expansion draft.
Fleury seems like a no-brainer for the Vegas Golden Knights to select as their expansion choice from Pittsburgh. In most cases it's a team now owning the future rights to a player, but in very few cases it results in that player going straight to the National Hockey League.
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It certainly took a lot of pressure off of the organization to not pursue a trade and thats really what we wanted to do, GM Jim Rutherford said.
The NHL froze its rosters at 12 p.m. today and two hours later teams submitted their protection lists to the NHL Central Registry for review.
With Henrik Lundqvist as the lone protected goalie, Raanta is exposed coming off a terrific season in which he made a convincing case to be a possible No. 1.
He's also your expected replacement for Dominic Moore should he leave via free agency come July.
The Montreal Canadiens recouped a third-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for 24-year-old defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who has a connection to Vegas coach Gerard Gallant and would've been left exposed in the expansion draft.
This trade affords Anaheim to keep Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm as a unit, but now, the Golden Knights have an opportunity to select a top-nine forward off the Ducks roster.