Who will the Blackhawks protect and expose in National Hockey League expansion draft?

Hope Soto
June 19, 2017

The Golden Knights can only select one player from each of the 30 teams.

The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins avoided making a potentially harmful trade several months ago when they asked veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury if he'd waive his no-movement clause so they could protect 23-year-old goalie of the future and present Matt Murray.

National Hockey League teams have until 4 p.m. Saturday to submit the list of players they plan to protect from the newest expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who will pluck one player from each National Hockey League team next Wednesday to form their initial roster for the 2017-18 season.

The Predators were put in a bind in being forced to expose Neal, a 10-time 20-goal-scorer, because they elected to protect a fourth defenseman. I think Cam Ward is better suited to be Scott Darling's back up this year which means that Francis either finds a trade partner or Lack plays 55-60 games in Charlotte while providing the team with an NHL-ready emergency net minder should Darling or Ward fall victim to injury. Aside from Fleury, other goalies available are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Petr Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth.

The Blackhawks have the option of protecting eight skaters or protecting seven forwards and three defensemen, and we're leaning toward the second option for the team. Not to suggest the Penguins would go insane and over-spend on a free agent, but less Fleury the Penguins would have about $20 million in space under the now expected ~$75 million 2017-18 salary cap.

The unprotected list includes players eligible to become restricted or unrestricted free agents, which the Golden Knights have the option to sign over the next three days. Goalie Jeff Glass is under contract for next season and fulfills the requirement for exposed goaltenders. Fletcher, however, said the Wild don't have any such deals in place.

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McPhee told reporters Sunday that "there were no surprises" when the Golden Knights received the lists and that he was "really pleased with what's available". The selections will be announced Wednesday during the NHL Awards Show from Las Vegas.

Typically this time of year, National Hockey League general managers and their respective staffs are busy preparing for the upcoming entry draft, deciding what to do with their pending free agents, and thinking about potential free agent targets for July 1.

Chayka was exaggerating, but only slightly. For example - and this is only an example - if the Sharks would like the Golden Knights to select Mikkel Boedker and his hefty contract, rather than someone else from their roster, they could sweeten the pot by offering further assets like a draft pick or a prospect.

I know what I would do, and millions of other armchair GMs have their ideas, but what will the Stars do?

Canes general manager Ron Francis said Friday that he has had conversations with McPhee, although noting, "Probably not as much as other teams have had".

This story has been corrected by removing Red Wings defenseman Mike Green from list of unprotected players.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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