Vegas holds all the cards with NHL expansion draft list out

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Teams can either protect seven forwards, three defenseman, and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie. Vegas could agree, for example, not to pick a certain player in exchange for a draft pick.

The same argument applies to Martin, who still has two years with an average-annual salary of $4.85 million left on his contract.

As for those who spent last season in juniors or college hockey, it would be a bit of a surprise if we saw anything beyond a cameo at PNC Arena, though the future does look bright for Nicholas Roy, Janne Kuokkanen and others.

Most notably, the Stars protected their rights to Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin, who left the team a year ago to return to Russia's KHL after chafing under the direction of now-former Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. Smirnov finished last season with 47 points in 39 games to the tune of 28 assists and 19 goals.

The NHL expansion draft and Vegas' initial roster will be unveiled during Wednesday's televised NHL Awards Show. Moreover, he could fetch a nice return at the 2018 National Hockey League trade deadline, as he's a free agent after the 2017-18 season.

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.

The Golden Knights will be allowed first crack at any pending unrestricted or restricted free agent, as long as that player is not protected in the Expansion Draft.

The Flames solidified their goaltending situation by getting the 35-year-old Smith from the Coyotes for a conditional pick and a prospect, taking advantage of their ability to protect a goalie that most other teams in the market didn't have the luxury of doing.

Fleury seems like a no-brainer for the Vegas Golden Knights to select as their expansion choice from Pittsburgh. Stempniak, Nordstrom and Dahlbeck - who was signed to a one-year contract after the season - fit the requirements.

Probably a lot of wheeling and dealing once the trade freeze is lifted Thursday, a day before NHL Entry Draft begins in Chicago. McPhee had Brouwer in Washington and signed him to a sizeable contract, well aware of his leadership and intangibles. The club traded popular winger Jannik Hansen knowing it would have difficulty protecting him from the Golden Knights.

Jason's Take: The Canucks actually made one of the first pro-active deals related to the expansion draft. Numerous commentators say he should be traded, though most doubt the Oilers can find a trading partner.

"It won't take them long to be good", Wilson said. A delicious idea is making the rounds in Vancouver, where the Canucks expose Brandon Sutter to protect 23-year-old Brendan Gaunce instead. “They dont want to lose two players if you make a deal.

Two forwards will be exposed in this scenario, with Kruger and his $3 million cap hit joining Jordin Tootoo in that category.

The best bet is that either Joakim Nordstrom or Lee Stempniak will be snapped up by the Golden Knights, but I wouldn't be entirely shocked if Brock McGinn had his name called.

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