The National Hockey League on Sunday announced the protection lists for all 30 franchises who took part in the 2016-17 season ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft. The NHL's newest team will select one player from each organization to complete its first roster.
All of the picks will be made public Wednesday night during the 2017 NHL Awards show, which is taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights must give their list of choices to the league by 10 a.m. ET Wednesday morning ahead of the 8 p.m. ET telecast on NBCSN.
Even though the protection lists are public, the process isn't as straightforward as Vegas taking the best asset available from each team.
The official draft rules state the Golden Knights must select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders, have to reach at least 60 percent of last year's $73 million salary cap ($43.8 million) and need to take at least 20 players under contract for next season.
In addition, the Vegas front office owns a lot of bargaining power in being able to offer not to select certain players in exchange for different assets.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported the Columbus Blue Jackets are set to give the Golden Knights the No. 24 overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft and a prospect in exchange for the expansion team only taking Matt Calvert, William Karlsson or Ryan Murray.
Another example is the New York Islanders, who went with the unique decision of protecting five defensemen, leaving forwards like Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey available.
Darren Dreger of TSN reported the Isles have agreed to deal their first-round selection, No. 15 overall, to protect extra centers and wingers.
Other deals with the same type of background are likely to occur between now and Wednesday. It should allow the Knights to stockpile an ample number of future draft picks.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is one marquee player's who's not expected to receive any added protection from his team. The two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions are set to move forward with Matt Murray as their full-time No. 1 netminder.
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada commented on the Vegas goalie situation:
Elliotte Friedman @FriedgeHNIC
One name that is coming out as unprotected: DET G Petr Mrazek. With Marc-Andre Fleury going to LV, that's an interesting one.2017-6-18 14:17:43
Finally, TSN's Pierre LeBrun highlighted one other option on the table for the Golden Knights: selecting an available player and immediately flipping him in a trade to a third team.