Fleury among players exposed for Vegas NHL expansion draft

Apparently, the Vegas Golden Knights is looking to complete its roster soon despite the rule that prevents them from getting young superstars such as Jake Guentzeland Connor McDavid. One of the teams that has reportedly shipped their first-rounder to Vegas is the Columbus Blue Jackets. The objective behind this is to allow the Golden Knights to get a sense of whether or not they will be able to sign a free agent before going ahead and using a pick on them in the Expansion Draft.

Every NHL team has submitted their list of protected players that the Golden Knights will not be able to select from. The Golden Knight can't select 10 goalies because they're required to use up 26 of their 30 picks in filling 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalie spots.

The NHL is now under a trade freeze that lasts until Thursday at 8 a.m., with teams only allowed to make trades with the Golden Knights.

For the Washington Capitals, there was no suspense on Sunday morning, as The Post reported their protection list on Saturday afternoon. Fleury was nearly traded at the deadline due to the Penguins already having Matt Murray in net but they chose to keep him for their playoff run; a good decision as Fleury starred in the first two rounds with Murray nursing an injury. That forced the team to also expose top-pairing blueliner Marc Methot. In exchange, McPhee was intent on stockpiling draft picks to help spur the franchise's growth through youth. Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion hoped Dion Phaneuf would waive his no-movement clause and risk exposure because his age (32) and contract - four more years with a $7-million (U.S.) annual cap hit - likely wouldn't appeal to Vegas.

McPhee wasn't prepared to discuss individual players when specifically asked about Fleury, but noted there were no surprises based on the numerous mock drafts the Golden Knights conducted over the past few months.

Several general managers, including Arizona's John Chayka on Saturday, noted how the Golden Knights can corner the goalie market and use those assets as trade bait. In most cases it's a team now owning the future rights to a player, but in very few cases it results in that player going straight to the National Hockey League. Teams can still make trades with Vegas during the freeze.

"I don't think this process is any different than, say, a free agency process or a trade deadline process where there's a lot of talk leading up to the anointed hour and then activity happens". The team also listed Trevor Carrick, Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy as their defensemen, and new goalie Scott Darling in net. But in protecting seven forwards, the Hawks have to expose van Riemsdyk, who will be entering the previous year of his entry-level deal.

Things remained quiet on that front as the Rangers approached Saturday's 5 p.m. deadline to submit their list of protected players. Nash had seven goals and 17 points in 81 regular-season games for the Bruins, but was an integral part of the B's league-best penalty-killing corps.

Stu's take: The biggest question mark is Alexander Radulov, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. "They only need a couple, and there's opportunities for trades from that perspective".

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