That forced the team to also expose top-pairing blueliner Marc Methot.
The NHL officially released the protection lists for the upcoming expansion draft Sunday morning.
The only other non-major junior league in the United States that had more players listed than the NAHL was the USHL. There's been numerous rumors swirling around that Bowman has a deal in place so that the Vegas Golden Knights take Marcus Kruger's $3.08 million cap hit off of the team's back while losing defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft. It's a good sign that the Golden Knights, even if they don't end up picking a bunch of great players, will at least end up with a stockpile of draft picks that'll hopefully turn into great players. For those who still have a player exposed that they'd like to protect, now is the time where some side dealing can take place to entice Vegas into plucking a player from the roster whose departure won't leave a GM ruing the day expansion was announced.
"It's a part of the reason we like this trade", Yzerman said of the deal, which netted Mikhail Sergachev, a high-upside defensive prospect who is exempt from exposure to Vegas.
Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee attends a news conference Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Las Vegas.
Players with no-movement clauses must be protected - in the Canes' case, center Jordan Staal. The Penguins instead protected Matt Murray a week after the second-year goalie led them to win their second consecutive championship. To save its top-two defense pairings, the Nashville Predators opted to protect eight skaters, which meant leaving James Neal, a 23-goal scorer this season, unprotected.
If forward Jason Zucker is left unprotected by the Minnesota Wild, and the Golden Knights are game for instant cachet with fans, they'd land a hometown player faster than any other NHL Sun Belt team. As for defensemen, Buffalo's Zach Bogosian and Dallas' Dan Hamhuis are available.
Among the other available goaltenders: Cam Ward (Carolina); Petr Mrazek (Detroit); Jonathan Bernier (Anaheim); Brian Elliott (Calgary); Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus); Ryan Miller (Vancouver); Jaroslav Halak (New York Islanders); Roberto Luongo (Florida); Antti Niemi (Dallas); Kari Lehtonen (Dallas).
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are both unprotected because they're pending-unrestricted free agents.
The NHL will hold an expansion draft for the new Vegas Golden Knights next week, and the rules about who current teams can and can't protect have some franchises scrambling.
"We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks", McPhee said, via the Knights Twitter account. From Sunday to Tuesday, McPhee will formulate his plans to pluck one player from each team, trying to reach 60 per cent of their salary cap and draft the 2017-18 Golden Knights. Vegas could agree, for example, not to pick a certain player in exchange for a draft pick. The team protected the maximum number of players possible, choosing the option of seven forwards, three defensemen and goalie Martin Jones. He has one year left on his contract at $5 million, and would surely command a hefty sum at the trade deadline.
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