Vegas Golden Knights might be able to wheel and deal at trade deadline

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It’s been noted that the fear of losing players to the expansion draft could mean that the Vegas Golden Knights would make an indirect impact on the 2017 trade deadline. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the Golden Knights could make moves in a more direct way, too.

The Golden Knights could start making moves on the condition that owner Bill Foley pays the final installment of a $500 million expansion fee.

If all their ducks are in a row, they can make a variety of moves, with this nugget likely being most pertinent to fans of the NHL’s other 30 teams:

For instance, the Golden Knights may acquire a draft pick, prospect or future considerations from another NHL team in exchange for their agreement to not select a particular exposed player in June’s expansion draft.

(Seravalli notes that the San Jose Sharks made deals to protect Evgeni Nabokov from the 2000 expansion draft, so there’s precedent here.)

The Vegas Knights could sign college free agents and acquire prospects (or even players on loan overseas), but they can’t “stash” active NHL players through 2016-17. Injured players included.

Overall, the Knights gain opportunities to do some work in advance, while other teams can simplify their methods of avoiding losing a crucial piece in the expansion draft. Rather than going through some gymnastics to cycle players from one team to another, they can go straight to Golden Knights GM George McPhee to make sure that a given skater is safe.

When you consider that Bill Foley admitted there’s a chance that the Golden Knights could land their coach before the 2016-17 season is over, it’s remarkable how proactive Vegas management can be if things swing their way.

Seravalli’s full article is absolutely worth reading, especially if you’re the type to daydream about different hypothetical trade possibilities.

The 2017 trade deadline could be quite memorable, and possibly a little chaotic … though these options could also make things more orderly. Or it might be quiet from Vegas’ standpoint.

We’ll just have to see who’s willing to gamble with the expansion draft versus how much they’d ante up for more certainty.

(Honestly, you might as well get used to clumsy gambling references before 2017-18 rolls around.)