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Could the Wild still make a deal with Vegas? (Updated)

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George McPhee said Tuesday that he has at least six trades completed ahead of tomorrow’s expansion draft. Could the Minnesota Wild perhaps be among the potential trading partners?

General manager Chuck Fletcher and the Wild left Eric Staal, Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella unprotected — a tantalizing trio of players to chose from, although Vegas would only be able to select one. That’s still a difficult spot to be in for the Wild, which didn’t make a move before the trade/waiver freeze went into effect.

And now, there is this:

Here’s an update from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Things were still fluid Tuesday night, but there’s a chance pending restricted free agent Erik Haula signs with the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

If that occurs, the Wild won’t lose defensemen Matt Dumba or Marco Scandella, center Eric Staal or any of its other unprotected players when the expansion team announces its initial roster later in the night.

That certainly seems to be the cost of doing business with Vegas, as other general managers try to persuade McPhee from taking certain players that have been left unprotected.

Interesting times.

Related:

Lightning have side deal in place with Vegas

Vegas could make ‘throwaway picks’ in expansion draft

Nolan Patrick highlights Hockey Canada roster for World Junior Summer Showcase

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Nolan Patrick, the potential No. 1 overall pick in this week’s NHL Entry Draft, highlights the list of players on Hockey Canada’s development camp roster for the upcoming World Junior Summer Showcase.

Click here for the full list.

Hockey Canada invited 14 players that are eligible for this year’s draft. Among them are potential top-five picks Cody Glass and Gabe Vilardi.

A total of nine first-round picks from last year — Jake Bean; Dennis Cholowski; Dante Fabbro; Logan Stanley; Pierre-Luc Dubois; Brett Howden; Tyson Jost; Michael McLeod; Sam Steel — have also been invited to the camp.

“For about three-and-a-half weeks in July and August, we get to see all of the players in our program concentrated in two locations, which gives our management team, coaches, and staff a chance to develop, first and foremost, what we feel is our top talent in Canada and evaluate those players as we look to put together winning teams throughout the upcoming season,” said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations and national teams, in a statement.

Hockey Canada’s junior development camp runs July 30 – Aug. 2 in Toronto, with a four-game series versus Finland, Sweden and the U.S. from Aug.3-6 in Plymouth, Mich. 

Last summer, Patrick underwent sports hernia surgery. He then missed the 2017 World Juniors due to injury.

Related: NHL Draft profile — Nolan Patrick

Report: Mrazek’s attitude among reasons he was left unprotected

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It seems like the relationship between Petr Mrazek and the Detroit Red Wings has been through a lot in the last year.

They were scheduled to go to arbitration last summer — a team-requested arbitration hearing — before coming to terms on a new deal, and, after a difficult season for the 25-year-old netminder, the Red Wings have now left Mrazek unprotected in the expansion draft.

It was one of the bigger surprises when the protected/available lists were revealed.

The eight-year age discrepancy between him and 33-year-old Jimmy Howard has something to do with it, as does contract. Howard has two more years remaining at a costly $5.291 million cap hit and is a pending unrestricted free agent when this current deal is over. Mrazek, who had a .901 save percentage this season, is the cheaper of the two right now at $4 million.

However, a few theories about why the Red Wings made Mrazek available to the Golden Knights have started to circulate.

From MLive.com:

Part of the reason Mrazek’s luster has faded could be due to deportment issues that can be traced to contentious off-season contract negotiations (they settled on a two-year, $8 million deal; Mrazek will be a restricted free agent in 2018).

Mrazek was not happy the Red Wings were unable to trade Howard in the off-season and let the club know in less-than-tactful terms.

Mrazek has always had a swagger and air of confidence, which appealed to the Red Wings. But sometimes he’s too cocky for his own good, some in the organization believe. He became increasingly difficult to coach last season, they said.

According to The Athletic, the Red Wings had tried to trade Mrazek prior to the expansion draft, but couldn’t get something done in the end.

From The Athletic:

When things went sideways for Mrazek this season, there was concern internally about his response. Rather than digging in and trying to work his way out of it, Mrazek, according to multiple sources, soured and placed the blame elsewhere.

Contrasted against Howard, whose work ethic picked up when his play went south in previous seasons, it presented a tough decision for an organization with an embedded belief in culture and work ethic for its best players.

“Work has never been a problem in Detroit,” said one NHL source outside the Red Wings organization. “And there’s a changing of the guard and the leadership is changing. You can’t let that creep in. If that guy, who doesn’t want to work, is going to be handed your No. 1 goalie job, it changes everything.”

The two sides were able to avoid arbitration last summer.

But if George McPhee decides to take a pass on Mrazek in the expansion draft, it might make for an uncomfortable situation for all parties concerned in Detroit this summer and leading into next season.

Marchessault’s ‘esteem took a hit’ after being unprotected

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Jonathan Marchessault broke out last season, reaching the 30-goal plateau for the Florida Panthers — all while on a very affordable contract that still has one more year remaining.

This week, well, he could become a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The 26-year-old forward was left unprotected by the Panthers, which was among the surprises when all the available/protected lists were made public on Sunday.

You can count Marchessault as one of those caught off guard by the decision.

“My esteem took a hit, but it’s not like I had a bad season,” he told TVA Sports, according to a translation.  “My agent told me that there are a few options including one where the Panthers asked the Golden Knights not to take me in exchange for a draft pick.”

Read more: What’s the biggest surprise from available/protected expansion draft lists?

Vegas general manager George McPhee has offered other GMs the chance to negotiate deals in order to keep certain players teams have left unprotected but do not wish to part ways with. However, he said that Monday was the last day teams had to trade with the Golden Knights before the expansion draft.

The Panthers also left Reilly Smith and Jason Demers exposed for the draft.

Related: Welcome Jonathan Marchessault to the trade rumor mill

Predators sign prospect d-man Lyytinen to two-year entry-level deal

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The hockey world marveled at the play of the Predators’ vaunted blue line during the playoffs. On Monday, Nashville added some depth on defense.

The Predators announced the signing of Finnish blue liner Joonas Lyytinen to a two-year entry-level contract.

The Predators selected Lyytinen in the fifth round, 132nd overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Now 22 years old, he has spent the last four seasons developing his game in Finland. This past season, he had eight goals and 24 points in 54 games, finishing second among KalPa defensemen in points.