Plenty of talent available to stock Golden Knights

The 30 players the Golden Knights decide to choose will come from a list of players that the other teams in the National Hockey League left unprotected. “‘Is there something you want to do about it or not?,'” McPhee said.

“It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had”, McPhee said.

McPhee said he has not completed any trades with teams looking to protect players, but he is now talking to several teams. But he said Monday was the final day for GMs to make pitches and hold negotiations because Vegas was planning to pick its team Tuesday.

Among those protected by the Blues, who chose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goal – as Blues general manager Doug Armstrong indicated to the media during the Blues’ exit meetings – were forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Paul Stastny, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund and Ryan Reaves, defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Joel Edmundson and goalie Jake Allen.

That benefits the Golden Knights because it maintained a deeper pool of talent available.

The Golden Knights will be selecting one player from every team and they must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies from the lists of unprotected players.

“Whatever you want to give us has to be better than what we can claim from that club”, McPhee told reporters in Las Vegas on Sunday.

He emphasized that each team will be contacted and given the opportunity to have a say in protecting its roster. Golden Knights GM George McPhee sounds excited about the situation, and you can see why given all the picks he’s going to accumulate for this young franchise.

Those Blackhawks exposed to the expansion draft include forwards Marcus Kruger, Jordin Tootoo, defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk and Michal Rozsival and goaltender Jeff Glass. Their full roster will be announced on Wednesday night. Bjugstad led the team in points back in the 2013-2014 season, but has suffered several injuries since then, and fans have seen his production drop off significantly since signing a six-year, $24.6 million contract in December 2014. They must also spend 60 percent ($45 million) of their available salary cap for 2017-18, which Sunday was raised to $75 million after the NHL Players Association executive board and the league worked out an increase. Brodziak and Jaskin are players the Blues would certainly love to retain, but could be nice pieces for the Golden Knights to snag to fill immediate roles on the inaugural team. Any pending free agent signed would count as Vegas’ expansion-draft selection from that player’s team.

It’s believed that Vegas already has many pre-arranged trades in place, some that will happen and others that might not. 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.

“We think we can accomplish two things”, McPhee said, according to NHL.com.

Thats what Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was thinking after trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary on Saturday.

Forward Robby Fabbri and defenseman Colton Parayko have only two years of professional experience and thus were exempt from the draft, meaning they did not need to be protected.

Vegas is holding all the cards while the rest of the National Hockey League comes to a full stop in awaiting McPhee to determine his selections over a three-day stretch during which the Golden Knights are the only team allowed to make trades and sign pending free agents.