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Report: Vegas to select Fleury and acquire additional draft pick from Penguins

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On this date in 2003, Marc-Andre Fleury went first overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Entry Draft. Today, it does in fact appear, based on translated reports, that the popular veteran goaltender is heading to Vegas in the expansion draft.

Fleury has been, for quite some time now, mentioned as a possible option in net for the Vegas Golden Knights.

According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, it also looks like the Penguins are sending a draft pick to the Golden Knights — a deal made to persuade George McPhee to take Fleury.

Now 32 years old, Fleury had a no-movement clause in his contract, but with Matt Murray taking over the No. 1 goaltending duties in Pittsburgh, Fleury decided to waive, making him available in the expansion draft.

As it stands right now, the Penguins now have about $15 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, with 12 players on expiring contracts. That includes pending restricted free agents Conor Sheary, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz. They also have a number of pending unrestricted free agents, like Nick Bonino, Trevor Daley, Chris Kunitz and possibly Ron Hainsey.

Pittsburgh’s general manager Jim Rutherford has urged the club’s pending UFAs to test the free agent market, but kept the door open to those who may want to return.

Fleury has become a fan-favorite in Pittsburgh, and he recently got the chance to say goodbye to Penguins fans.

Report: Stars’ Cody Eakin is going to the Golden Knights

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It appears Cody Eakin is about to be reunited with George McPhee.

Then the general manager of the Washington Capitals, McPhee selected Eakin in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. On Wednesday, reports emerged that Eakin is heading to Las Vegas, taken in the expansion draft by McPhee, now GM of the Golden Knights and perhaps right now the most powerful person in the league.

Eakin played 30 games for the Capitals in 2011-12, scoring four goals and eight points.

He was traded following that season to Dallas, where he eventually earned praise from former coach Lindy Ruff for his defensive play as a center. However, Ruff also saw more offensive upside. Two seasons ago, Eakin reached career highs with 19 goals and 40 points.

“He can be a good offensive player. He can be a guy that you can trust defensively which for any centreman is a really good place to be,” said Ruff, per CBC.

“Defensively he’s done a nice job. He’s a guy that can play on the power play. I’ve used him killing penalties. I think as these games go on his role evolves and he gets comfortable in what he’s doing best.”

Eakin is about to enter the second year of a four-year, $15.4 million contract that has an annual cap hit of $3.85 million. This past season, his offensive numbers declined, as he scored three goals and 12 points in 60 games.

Golden Knights’ historic home opener goes Oct. 10 versus Coyotes

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Mark the date in your calendars.

The Vegas Golden Knights have announced the date of their inaugural home opener. Their first-ever NHL regular season home game at T-Mobile Arena goes Oct. 10 versus the Arizona Coyotes.

The Golden Knights will make history on Oct. 6, when they play their first NHL regular season game on the road against the Dallas Stars, according to reports.

The full NHL schedule will be released Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Golden Knights, as well as the rest of the NHL, unveiled their brand new jerseys for the 2017-18 season. Vegas has also submitted its expansion draft selections.

Other notable home openers from across the league:

— The Penguins open up at PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 4 against the St. Louis Blues. The Penguins will unveil their 2017 Stanley Cup championship banner before the game.

— The Stars’ home opener goes Oct. 6, as they will officially welcome the Golden Knights into the NHL.

— The Bruins host the Western Conference-champion Nashville Predators on Oct. 5.

Here is the full list from the NHL:

Anaheim Ducks: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Arizona
Arizona Coyotes: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Vegas
Boston Bruins: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Nashville
Buffalo Sabres: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Montreal
Calgary Flames: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Winnipeg
Carolina Hurricanes: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Minnesota
Chicago Blackhawks: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Pittsburgh
Colorado Avalanche: Wednesday, Oct. 11 vs. Boston
Columbus Blue Jackets: Friday, Oct. 6 vs. NY Islanders
Dallas Stars: Friday, Oct. 6 vs. Vegas
Detroit Red Wings: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota
Edmonton Oilers: Wednesday, Oct. 4 vs. Calgary
Florida Panthers: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Tampa Bay
Los Angeles Kings: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Philadelphia
Minnesota Wild: Saturday, Oct. 14 vs. Columbus
Montreal Canadiens: Tuesday, Oct. 10 vs. Chicago
Nashville Predators: Tuesday, Oct. 10 vs. Philadelphia
New Jersey Devils: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Colorado
New York Islanders: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Buffalo
New York Rangers: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Colorado
Ottawa Senators: Thursday, Oct. 5 vs. Washington
Philadelphia Flyers: Saturday, Oct. 14 vs. Washington
Pittsburgh Penguins: Wednesday, Oct. 4 vs. St. Louis
San Jose Sharks: Wednesday, Oct. 4 vs. Philadelphia
St. Louis Blues: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Dallas
Tampa Bay Lightning: Friday, Oct. 6 vs Florida
Toronto Maple Leafs: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. NY Rangers
Vancouver Canucks: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs. Edmonton
Vegas Golden Knights: Tuesday, Oct. 10 vs. Arizona
Washington Capitals: Saturday, Oct. 7 vs Montreal
Winnipeg Jets: Wednesday, Oct. 4 vs. Toronto

Report: Wild’s Haula agrees to sign with Vegas

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It appears the Minnesota Wild have lost forward Erik Haula to the Vegas Golden Knights, according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Wild had exposed Eric Staal, Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella, but apparently had been in talks with Vegas general manager George McPhee to make a deal. It was reported later yesterday that Haula could sign with the Golden Knights, which would mean Minnesota keeps Staal, Dumba and Scandella.

It’s still costly for Minnesota, which reportedly also loses 2014 first-round pick and prospect winger Alex Tuch.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Haula, who would have become a restricted free agent July 1, agreed to a multi-year deal with the Golden Knights during their exclusive free-agency window that ended at 7 a.m. Pacific time this morning. That was also the deadline for Vegas to submit its initial 30-player roster to the NHL and sign and submit unprotected free agents.

In exchange for the Golden Knights choosing Haula in expansion and steering clear of, among others, defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella and center Eric Staal, the Wild has agreed to trade prospect Alex Tuch and a conditional future draft pick to Vegas, sources say.

Haula turned 26 years old in March. He played in 72 regular season games for Minnesota this past season, scoring 15 goals — a new single-season career high — and 26 points. He was in the final year of a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $1 million.

He was a pending restricted free agent.

The deadline for Vegas to submit its expansion draft selections was today, 10 a.m. ET.

Welcome Shea Theodore to the trade rumor mill

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Today is the day.

The deadline for the Vegas Golden Knights to submit their expansion draft selections has passed, and now we await for the roster to get revealed, as well as the supposedly many side deals George McPhee had with other clubs around the NHL.

Yesterday, McPhee said he had “at least” six trades completed. The Anaheim Ducks were among the clubs believed to have made a deal with Vegas.

On Wednesday morning, prior to the expansion draft selection deadline, TSN’s Bob McKenzie dropped this little tidbit involving Shea Theodore:

Nothing has been confirmed or announced yet, and McKenzie added this qualifier.

If this indeed is the case, that would be quite a pick-up for the Golden Knights. The Ducks selected Theodore in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. He’s been up and down between the Ducks and their minor league affiliate over the past two years but is only 21 years old and has shown plenty of potential as a young defenseman.

He’s also entering the final year of his entry-level contract.

This seems to be the price some general managers have to pay in order to keep certain other unprotected players on their roster. The Minnesota Wild were among the teams that exposed three good players — Eric Staal, Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella — and may have to get a deal done in order to avoid losing one of those players.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, are in a position to stockpile a number of additional draft picks to help increase the growth of their young talent pool going forward.