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Vegas GM to teams fearing expansion draft: ‘Negotiate your way out of this’

Bob McKenzie discusses the possible moves the Vegas Golden Knights could make with other teams before the expansion draft this year.

When you consider side deals, the available players listed, and even the underrated route of free agency, the Vegas Golden Knights enjoy a bounty of options to lay down an impressive foundation. And you can almost hear GM George McPhee cackle in the distance.

McPhee provided some fascinating food for thought in his press conference following the league’s announcement of all 30 teams’ available and protected players.

“We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks,” McPhee said. “We really like what we’re looking at right now.”

The experienced executive calls this the most fun he’s had in hockey, and it’s easy to see why.

McPhee almost seems like a shark smelling blood. So, what can a quivering GM do?

Well, the phone lines are open ...

“You can negotiate your way out of this if you wish,” McPhee said, via the AP’s Stephen Whyno. “Every team in this league has a chance to protect their roster.”

Indeed, he mentioned that the Golden Knights won’t make a claim until they speak to every team.

Now, it was predictable that the Golden Knights would have some options. Still, as Saturday’s trade freeze approached, one expected NHL teams would do make a lot of moves to protect as many valuable assets as possible. There was some maneuvering, but really, the ball is in Vegas’ court more than even McPhee expected.

Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal expects the Golden Knights to tread delicately in free agency. Along with that possibility, it’s important to note that this team is still limited to plucking one player from each roster, although there are hypothetical scenarios where they might yield creative combinations via trades.

The point is that the Golden Knights seem happy with the cards they’ve been dealt ... and that they’re open for business.

Buyers beware.