Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee now has a couple of days to figure out who the inaugural Knights will be. At 10:30 A.M. ET on Sunday, the lists for protected players from each and every NHL team was released. Teams could protect either seven forwards, three defenseman and one goaltender, or eight skaters and one goalie. Most teams did the 7-3-1 combination, some teams did 4-4-1, and the New York Islanders were the only team to do 3-5-1. For the full lists, click here.
Some teams made some surprising moves, leaving Vegas with some quality players to choose from. The Golden Knights have three very good goalies to possibly choose in Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), Antti Raanta (NYR) and Petr Mrazek (DET).
On defense, some top four defenseman are available waiting for Vegas to take them. The Minnesota Wild will lose a good defenseman in Matthew Dumba or Marco Scandella, but it looks like Dumba is on the move. Marc Methot (OTT) and Calvin de Haan (NYI) are two defenseman the Knights should take. The Florida Panthers have two good wingers unprotected and they\’ll probably lose one (below), but Jason Demers was also left unprotected. Brendan Dillon (SJS), Jason Garrison or Slater Koekkoek (both TBL) and Luca Sbisa (VAN) could also end up in the fabulous Las Vegas.
For forwards, some elite players were left unprotected. Big name wingers like James Neal (NSH) and Bobby Ryan (OTT) aren\’t on the protected list. Like I mentioned before, the Panthers might lose a key winger in Jonathan Marchessault or Reilly Smith. Twenty goal scorers Brock Nelson and Mikkel Boedker could get the call that they are going to Vegas.
Also, a team can \”bribe\” (as I like to put it) the Golden Knights to take one of the lesser players to almost protect the unprotected. For instance, a team can say to Vegas \”we\’ll give you our first round pick if you don\’t take what\’s-his-face or if you take so-and-so\”. It\’s allowed, even though it sounds fake. That\’s why Vegas might end up worse in 2017-18 than they should be. Las Vegas is known for gambling, and all 30 teams are betting the Golden Knights won\’t take their good players that are unprotected.