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19 June 2017, 12:27 | Rose Hansen
Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley
It's the calm before the storm right now with the protected lists for the 30 National Hockey League teams set to be released on Sunday morning, and all National Hockey League teams locked in a trading freeze other than deals to be worked out specifically with the Vegas Golden Knights.
McPhee told reporters Sunday that "there were no surprises" when the Golden Knights received the lists and that he was "really pleased with what's available".
Other notable forwards left unprotected were Los Angeles's Dustin Brown, Montreal's Tomas Plekanec and Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz.
There are plenty of big days coming up as the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft rapidly approaches, but Saturday is one of the biggest so far.
The league wasnt looking to increase last seasons $73 million U.S. cap, however, the players were said to be close to backing at least a 2.5% escalator and bring the cap to $75 million.
Dustin Brown, who has five seasons and nearly $30 million remaining on his contract, and Marian Gaborik, who has four seasons and almost $20 million left on his deal, aren't exactly appealing options for the Golden Knights, despite each player's impressive resume.
As this lost season drags on, and even the ice grows exhausted of the Edmonton Oilers skating on it, I'm noticing more goals against where the entire Oilers team just doesn't look sharp. Opening of the UFA/RFA Interview Period (only applies to Players who are available for selection in the Expansion Draft) for the Expansion Club only (10 a.m. ET). They need to send in a protection list for the NHL Expansion Draft by Saturday at 5 p.m. Each team had the option to protect either seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie.
Some players left unprotected, such as Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan, carry hefty contracts, which Vegas might shy away from so not to restrict the team's payroll structure under the salary cap. Goalie Jeff Glass is under contract for next season and fulfills the requirement for exposedgoaltenders.
The Hawks would protect Jurco as their seventh forward because they want to shed the contract of Kruger, who carries an approximate $3.1 million cap hit the next two seasons. Fletcher, however, said the Wild don't have any such deals in place. Among the juicier ones: The Tennessean's Adam Vignan reports that the Nashville Predators might protect Calle Jarnkrok, potentially exposing James Neal.
Among players with previous connections to McPhee available are Stars center Cody Eakin, Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer and Neuvirth, whom he drafted in Washington.
That doesn't mean the other GMs can't talk. Panthers general manager Dale Tallon released a statement that said in part: Out of respect for the process and our players, we will not be commenting on the makeup of our protected list until after the expansion process ends on Wednesday. Nielsen is the only Red Wing in that category, and he likely would've been protected anyway.
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