All talk, few trades before NHL's expansion roster freeze

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The Golden Knights must select one player from each of the 30 teams, including 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

Tomorrow, all thirty GM's of the existing NHL teams will submit to the league their lists of players they want to protect from the expansion draft.

Fleury had a no-movement clause that would have required the Pens to stick him on the protected list and leave the younger - and cheaper - Murray exposed, but he did the franchise a favor and waived the clause for the draft. Saturday, June 17: Expansion Draft trade, waiver and signing freeze begins for all teams besides the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Predators were put in a bind by exposing Neal, a 10-time 20-goal-scorer, because they elected to protect a fourth defenseman.

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Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens were among other forwards left unprotected. Their lists of protected players were due by 2 p.m. Saturday.

When Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the NHL's first expansion team since 2000 would be based in Las Vegas, Nevada nearly a year ago, the idea of hockey mixed with the glitz and glamour of the desert may have been hard to believe.

Riley Nash: Maybe not the name you expected to see this time a year ago, but Nash is an incredibly affordable bottom-six piece and with the ability to play both center and the wing, there's no sense in the Bruins leaving him exposed for the Golden Knights. This might be more significant than some others if Nashville is indeed running into a brick wall trying to sway McPhee from taking someone of Neal's stature, especially since the deadline to trade with teams other than the Golden Knights already passed. "That really didn't happen, which we were really happy about", said McPhee.

For the Pittsburgh Penguins, nearly all of the debate, intrigue and drama from the 2017 NHL Expansion draft was already resolved during the regular season. What better way to do that than flipping one of their most valued draft assets to a group of teams willing to compete to acquire him? Carpenter was a pending unrestricted free agent, while Heed and Ryan were both restricted.

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What's uncertain is how many trades the Golden Knights have negotiated with teams to influence which player Vegas selects or avoids.

The good news for teams is that the Golden Knights can take only one player from a team. He is obviously the best veteran goalie that the Knights can get, at least for the following two seasons. Bjugstad led the team in points back in the 2013-2014 season, but has suffered several injuries since then, and fans have seen his production drop off significantly since signing a six-year, $24.6 million contract in December 2014.

Brad Marchand: The 5-foot-9 Marchand is one of just eight National Hockey League players to have scored at least 100 goals over the last three National Hockey League seasons, and Marchand has played the third-fewest games among those eight skaters (only Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby have done it in fewer games). The Philadelphia Flyers didn't protect goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who the team signed to a two-year, $5 million contract extension in March.

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.

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