The Las Vegas Golden Knights might not have any players on their roster, but they can start wheeling and dealing today, according to John Shannon of Sportsnet.
Golden Knights GM George McPhee had to wait for owner Bill Foley’s last expansion fee payment was received by the NHL and it seems like that’s been taken care of.
Even though Las Vegas isn’t allowed to acquire roster players, they can still get draft picks or prospects from the other 30 teams.
Since they have no one to move, the only way they can get something is by agreeing not to touch certain players in the upcoming expansion draft.
Each team is allowed to protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie or eight skaters (any position) and one goalie.
Every player with a no-movement clause at the time of the expansion draft must be protected by their respective teams, which makes things even more difficult.
So by shipping a pick, a prospect or both to Las Vegas, teams can ensure McPhee doesn’t take a certain player they’re worried about losing.
One team that could potentially benefit from making this kind of deal is the Anaheim Ducks, who have more than three defensemen to protect in Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen and Kevin Bieksa (NMC).
“We’ve been talking with teams here for a few weeks now,” McPhee said, per the Associated Press. “Teams are looking for some certainty with their rosters and obviously trying to improve their rosters before the trading deadline and they want to talk to us to see if there’s a player that we could agree upon that for a couple months from now to claim, which would make their life easier.”
It’s still hard to imagine McPhee agreeing to stay away from a certain player four months before the expansion draft takes place, but if a team can make it worth his while, maybe he pulls the trigger.
McPhee can also be active without making trade with one of his colleagues.