The Las Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s
newest expansion franchise, will soon get the green light to start making
player deals and general manager George McPhee is looking forward to it. The
Golden Knights will officially be able to start assembling their roster once
club owner Bill Foley has paid off the remaining money owing on the $500
million expansion fee. Once he does, Las Vegas will be the league’s 31st
team. It’s believed Foley will pay off the final installment close to March 1st,
which is trade deadline day in the NHL.
The Golden Knights won’t be able to trade
for players who are currently on rosters in the 2016/17 season or players who
are injured, but can start acquiring draft picks from other clubs. This is a
distinct possibility due to the upcoming expansion draft on June 20th. The
Golden Knights will be able to select one unprotected player from each of the
other 30 teams to build their roster. However, several clubs will be inclined
to persuade Las Vegas to leave specific unprotected players alone by sending
them draft picks or future considerations. For example, a team could send a
fourth-round pick to Vegas to turn a blind eye on a specific player.
This was the case before the last expansion
draft in 2000. At that time, the San Jose Sharks made a deal with both the
Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets if they agreed not to choose
goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. This summer’s expansion draft picks will be revealed
live on television on June 21st, the same day the NHL Awards show
takes place in Las Vegas. However, Las Vegas will send the league their picks
the day before. The Entry Draft will then take place a few days later. The
timing of Las Vegas’ official trade go-ahead could have a big effect on this
year’s trade deadline moves. At the moment, teams may decide to trade a player
for something in return rather than risk losing him for nothing in the draft.
On the other side of the coin, clubs may
also trade draft picks for a certain player for the specific reason of leaving
him exposed in the expansion draft. The NHL will allow Las Vegas to make deals
for draft picks after the March 1st trade deadline has passed if the
franchise hasn’t finalized the expansion fee payment by that date. The Golden
Knights will also be able to trade for junior-level players who have already
been drafted by an NHL club as well as an NHL-signed player who may be playing
overseas for some reason. CHL and NCAA free agents are others who can be
acquired. McPhee and his staff have been preparing for their debut season for
several months now by scouting draft-eligible players and free agents.
The Golden Knights will enter the 2017 NHL
Entry Draft Lottery in April with the same odds as the league’s 28th-placed
team this season, which means the latest they will draft will be sixth overall.
The team will then pick third in rounds two to seven of the draft. Las Vegas is
also a possibility for the 2018 NHL All Star Game if the league doesn’t send
players to the Winter Olympics next year. If NHL players are allowed to
participate in the Olympics then the All-Star Game won’t take place next year.
In that case, Vegas will host an All-Star Game in the near future as a part of
the $500 million franchise fee.
Labels: Ian Palmer