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 Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft roster will be announced on June 21st at the NHL Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. The expansion draft has added a new layer to the normal NHL off-season craziness. The following are some of the rumours circulating throughout the league.
NHL Expansion Rumours: Deals, James Neal, Marc Methot, and More
Tonight is the night! The Vegas Golden Knights will announce their expansion roster at the NHL Award Ceremony. They will announce deals they made leading up to the expansion draft, but Vegas most certainly will not be done there. Expect more deals to be announced, including deals involving Vegas, once the trade freeze is lifted June 22.
Plus there are deals for players and three-way trades VGK also involved in. Some revealed tonight. Others tomorrow.
Vegas Expansion Draft Deals
Bob McKenzie took to Twitter to flush out some of the details regarding the deals Vegas has made with teams. Notable trades are believed to have been made with the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild, among others.
McKenzie says the belief is that Vegas will select Clayton Stoner. That means exposed defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson are safe. The Ducks will likely send Shea Theodore to Vegas as part of their agreement.
Let’s start with ANA. The belief is VGK will claim Clayton Stoner, pass on Manson/Vatanen and, in return for all that, get Shea Theodore.
Probably the worst kept secret during this entire expansion draft is the Golden Knights selecting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from the Penguins. The Penguins are sending a draft pick to Vegas as part of the deal.
Next up, PIT. Get sense this may have been first of all deals done with VGK. PIT sends draft pick to VGK to ensure new home for M-A Fleury.
McKenzie, through Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, is reporting that the Golden Knights will sign RFA Erik Haula as their expansion player. The Wild are sending prospect Alex Tuch to ensure the deal. The deal also keep Vegas from selecting Mathew Dumba, Marco Scandella, and Eric Staal.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Along with McKenzie, Tampa Bay Times reporter Joe Smith says the Lightning appear to have worked out a deal for Vegas. The deal would have Vegas select either Jason Garrison or Andrej Sustr. The Golden Knights will receive a pick to ensure the deal and keep them from selecting prospects Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Elliotte Freidman is reporting that the Golden Knights will select David Clarkson in the expansion draft. To ensure the deal, Columbus is sending a first round pick, a prospect and (potentially) another player.
With Jonathan Marchessault exposed, the belief was that the Panthers would cut a deal to ensure he is not selected. McKenzie reports that Marchessault might actually be part of a deal to ensure the Golden Knights select Reilly Smith. The Panthers had been trying to move both players before the roster freeze on June 19th.
It was suggested to me FLA’s deal with VGK MAY actually be for Vegas to end up acquiring both Marchessault and Rielly Smith (also exposed).
With the expansion announcement hours away, some information has leaked about which players the Golden Knights are and are not taking in the expansion draft.
The Dallas Stars are expecting Cody Eakin to be selected by Vegas.
David Perron of the Saint Louis Blues is another player that is highly speculated to be selected by the Golden Knights.
Charles Hudon of the Montreal Canadiens is not going to be selected by Vegas, reports Roby St-Gelinas of Le Journal de Quebec.
Instead it seems the Golden Knights are targeting Canadiens defensemen Alexei Emelin and not Brandon Davidson in the expansion draft, tweets TSN’s Frank Saravelli. No word on if there is a deal in place for this.
Darren Dreger of TSN posted on Twitter that the Toronto Maple Leafs are expecting to lose prospect Brendan Leipsic. There were reports the Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello was trying to work out a deal keep Vegas from picking him.
Rumblings the Toronto Maple Leafs will lose Brendan Leipsic in the expansion draft.
Pierre LeBrun reports via twitter that the Golden Knights have selected Ottawa Senators defensemen Marc Methot. Speculation is that Vegas will move Methot for more assets after the expansion draft. More details on this below.
Hearing that VGK have selected Marc Methot in the expansion draft… whether or not he gets flipped over the next few days…
More on Vegas
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported, via twitter, that, so far, the Golden Knights have amassed 10 draft picks spread out over the next three years.
My understanding is that VGK have secured via trades about 10 draft picks spread out over 3 years. So far anyway.
The Golden Kings will play their first regular season NHL game on October 7th, in Arizona. Their first home game is October 10th, also versus Arizona.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Leafs and Golden Knights are discussing a deal. The Leafs are looking to add defence and could look to make a deal with Vegas after they announce their expansion roster. Marc Methot and Colin Miller are two names Seravalli thinks could be targets for Toronto.
The Montreal Canadiens would also have interest in Methot. The issue becomes Methot’s limited no trade clause. The Leafs and Habs may be on his no trade list. The Dallas Stars are also an option.
Elliotte Freidman of sportsnet.ca reported that the Los Angeles Kings may be interested in making a deal for James Neal. Previously, the Kings had been in discussion with the Buffalo Sabres about acquiring Evander Kane, but those talks have cooled off. Freidman speculates that the Kings and Golden Knights could work out a deal, if Neal is selected in the expansion draft.
Other News and Notes
- Unrestricted free agent Jarome Iginla plans on returning for the 2017-2018 season.
- The Arizona Coyotes could be a team to keep an eye on. With the Mike Smith trade and not re-signing Shane Doan, Arizona could be making some moves. Derek Stepan is a name to watch. The Coyotes had interest in him last year but the deal fell apart.
- With the salary cap rising to $75 million, the Washington Capitals have not completely closed the door on re-signing T.J. Oshie.