The NHL is entering its busiest part of the off-season. The NHL Draft and Free Agent frenzy is normally enough to keep the rumour mill churning. This year, however, the NHL is having an expansion draft. The Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft roster is being announced on June 21st. The expansion draft has added a new layer to the normal NHL off-season craziness. Lets have a look at the rumours around the NHL.
NHL Rumors: Expansion Draft, Alex Galchenyuk, Kris Russell, Joffrey Lupul and More
Vegas Golden Knights open for Business
With the expansion lists in and a roster freeze in effect, most of the news is coming out of Vegas. Golden Knights GM George McPhee has a lot of work to do and seems to be busy making deals. McPhee has made no secret that he is open for business but has put a 9:00 PM (PT) deadline for all deals.
GMGM said VGK will have their 30-man expansion list finalized by Tuesday evening. Deadline to do business is 9 pm (PT) today.
— Steve Carp (@stevecarprj) June 19, 2017
Vegas Looking to Make Some Deals
McPhee has made no secret of his desire to use the expansion draft to acquire future assets. McPhee is looking to acquire draft picks and prospects to help build a strong foundation for the Golden Knights.
According to James Mirtle of the Athletic, McPhee plans to use the teams salary cap to leverage assets from teams during the expansion draft. The Golden Knights are willing to pass on certain unprotected players or take on some bad contracts in exchange for draft picks and prospects. Mirtle heard that the Tampa Bay Lightning were considering making such a move, looking to shed the salary of veteran defensemen Jason Garrison.
The News & Observer’s Chip Alexander is suggesting that the Carolina Hurricanes are trying to get the Golden Knights to select goalie Eddie Lack in the up coming expansion draft. Alexander thinks that the Hurricanes might offer up a draft pick to ensure Lack is picked.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping to persuade Vegas to select winger Joffrey Lupul in the expansion draft. Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star suggests that Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello has a deal in place to make sure Lupul is selected and high end prospects Kirby Rychel and Brandon Leipsic are passed on.
Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports that Ducks GM Bob Murray is looking to make a deal with Vegas to protect defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson. The Ducks may have to part with some serious assets in order to keep their players. Stephens writes:
To get Vegas GM George McPhee to take another player than the two talented defenders, Murray will likely have given up a lot – possibly a good, young defensive prospect and a high-round draft pick. Neither side will reveal the specifics in the deal that’s expected to have been consummated.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have reportedly reached a deal with Vegas, to keep the expansion franchise from selecting some of their young talent, reports Aaron Protzline of the Columbus dispatch. The deal would have the Blue Jackets sending their first round selection (24th overall) to the Golden Knights to ensure they do not select defensemen Jack Johnson, winger Josh Anderson and goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
The New York Islanders have reportedly traded their first found pick (15th overall) to the Golden Knights. Arthur Staple of Newsday reports the Islanders want to keep Vegas from selecting one of Calvin de Haan, Brock Nelson or Ryan Strome. The Golden Knights and Islanders have also agreed that forward Nikolay Kulemin will be the player selected in the expansion draft. There might also be a third piece going to Vegas, but that is unknown at this point.
The Minnesota Wild are reportedly feverishly trying to work out a deal with McPhee to not select several of their unprotected players. Eric Staal, Mathew Dumba and Marco Scandella were all left unprotected by the Wild. Michael Russo of the StarTribune.com suggests the deal could be to steer Vegas away from selecting one of the players, or could involve selecting a player from another team and trading them to the Wild.
Vegas UFA Targets
The Golden Knights can discuss contracts with potential free agents, and there are already a few names being mentioned.
TSN’s Darren Dreger speculates that the Golden Knights are looking at Washington Capitals veteran Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) defensemen Karl Alzner.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 18, 2017
Dreger also mentioned Flyers UFA center Jordan Weal as a potential target for the expansion franchise.
With an early window to deal with pending UFA’s. Jordan Weal might be of interest to VGK. 25 yr old had a strong finish in Philly…
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 18, 2017
According to TSN’s Pierre Lebrun, McPhee has made contact with Oilers UFA defenceman Kris Russell.
Hearing that VGK touched base with the Kris Russell camp though nothing serious at this point. VGK will check in with several UFAs…
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 19, 2017
In non Golden Knights news, Darren Dreger reported on TSN 1050 that there have been trade talks going on about Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk. Dreger said that, according to GM’s that inquired about Galchenyuk, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was seeking multiple assets in return.
In the same interview with TSN 1050, Dreger said that the New York Islanders are going to make a major move this week. Dreger believes that the Islanders are looking to add a major offensive player, but no names was given.
The Arizona Coyotes and longtime Captain Shane Doan are parting ways, the team announced via twitter today.
140 characters could never cover it.
But this is a start. Thank you Captain. pic.twitter.com/7ZF5mBZW9h
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) June 19, 2017
Doan has not commented on his future in the NHL but the feeling is he will not retire. Doan was the last member of the original Coyotes team that move to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996.