Kunitz, Fleury unprotected for coming NHL expansion draft

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury makes a save during game three of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Ottawa on Wednesday

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury makes a save during game three of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Ottawa on Wednesday

Only in this case, he had his pick of the presents, which ended up including big-ticket items like James Neal, Eric Staal, Sami Vatanen, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tomas Plekanec, Josh Manson, Matt Dumba, Bobby Ryan and Petr Mrazek.

There is a temptation to say there has never been a moment quite like this before in National Hockey League history - where George McPhee, the general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, is acting as a broker for the mixed bag of talent made available to him Sunday morning as part of the 2017 expansion draft proceedings. So to think Vegas has been given a much better hand this time around, and to resent the Golden Knights for it, is completely understandable. "We're focused on our goal of winning the Stanley Cup and are looking forward to this week as we continue to prepare for the 2017 NHL Draft and free agency".

"That's how we prioritized our players", Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said Sunday.

A couple shockers from this list are, Marcus Kruger and Ville Pokka. On Sunday, each team provided a list of available players.

The Golden Knights must choose 30 players, one from each team. This means that Panarin does not have to be protected since he can not be selected by Vegas.

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Reports indicate several teams are willing to ship McPhee a high draft pick or top prospect if he'll bypass certain available players He could also balk at taking on veterans with expensive long-term contracts, such as Ryan and Luongo. He was the seventh overall pick in the 2012 draft and would immediately become one of Vegas' top blue-liners.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of Atlanta in Vegas, the National Hockey League mandated the protection of eight skaters and one goalie this time around or seven forwards, three defenders and a goaltender.

$3.3 million. With Newsday reporting the Isles could have a deal in place that shields Nelson, Strome and Calvin de Haan, Bailey, 27, is a respectable alternative. Per league rules, the Golden Knights only need to have 20 players under contract heading into next season.

$5.8 million. At 32, adds personality, credibility to fledgling franchise.

Fleury was not among the nine players protected by the Penguins, opening the door for his exit to Las Vegas and his departure from the team he's played for since 2003. Teams could also ask Vegas to pick an exposed player they're interested in, then get the Knights to subsequently flip him.

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"It's been the most fun I've ever had", McPhee said. People have identified people on other clubs that they'd like to have. "What we've told everyone today is that today will be the last day we're going to have those discussions". How do you negotiate that delicate balance between wanting to ice a competitive team next season while also stockpiling future assets? "We will not make a claim with any club before we talk to the club".

The Golden Knights have the ability to sign unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents who are eligible for the expansion draft (which excludes the Blues' Parayko), but that transaction would count as the team's selection. "You had a number of teams that had expansion issues that they were trying to deal with".

The Golden Knights are owned by Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, a consortium led by Bill Foley, the team will be a member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference starting in the 2017-18 season.

This will be an interesting week, not only to see the trades McPhee pulls off leading up to Wednesday but to watch other clubs get into the act.

$5 million. Proven 30-goal scorer, something few expansion teams have had.

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