Rumor Rundown: Ducks and Golden Knights Have Deal in Place

Conventional wisdom has the Knights selecting Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In Buffalo, he will be given the opportunity to play a top-four role on a team retooling its defense under Housley, who was hired on Thursday.

"The Golden Knights organization is very pleased with how the expansion draft process has gone so far, through the National Hockey League trade freeze which took effect Saturday, June 17 at 12 noon PT", the Golden Knights said in a satement. 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. That's a hefty contract for a fourth-line player, which is where Hagelin was by the end of this year's final, but the Penguins are probably optimistic that with an offseason to rest and recover from the injury, Hagelin will be able to recover his offensive form next season.

Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, former Manchester Monarch Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Carolina goalie Cam Ward and former UNH star Trevor Van Riemsdyk of the Chicago Blackhawks were among the other players left unprotected.

McPhee said the Golden Knights will truly be built by way of the entry draft, not the expansion draft, so that might indicate a plan to pick a team that might struggle from puck drop in October compared to what he could've picked if the return is strong enough. The Bruins are most likely to lose one of two defensemen - Adam McQuaid and Colin Miller. Any pending free agent signed would count as Vegas' expansion-draft selection from that player's team. The selections will be announced Wednesday during the NHL Awards Show from Las Vegas. It's hard to say for certain but the outlook seems to be that McPhee has a ton of control of this situation and that he alone will set the market for teams making these sorts of deals. It's possible the Canes could offer McPhee a draft pick to select a goalie - perhaps Lack.

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. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets have already agreed to deal their first-round pick this year and a prospect to Vegas for McPhee to steer clear of forward Josh Anderson, young goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Jack Johnson. They have one unrestricted free agent - Scottie Upshall - and three restricted free agents (Parayko, Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov).

"With expansion, there's a lot of unprotected goalies out there", Arizona General Manager John Chayka told reporters on Saturday.

"We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks", McPhee said, via the Knights Twitter account. "We were expecting this mass redistribution of players that really didn't happen, which we were really happy about".

"Everybody's going to have conversations", Brad Treliving of the Calgary Flames said.

Just two years ago, the Senators got a first-round pick from Buffalo for goaltender Robin Lehner, Boston a first-round pick from San Jose for Martin Jones and NY second- and third-round picks from Edmonton for Cam Talbot. That leaves Brett Connolly and Jay Beagle as the most NHL-ready forwards, but goaltender Philipp Grubauer could be selected.

Forward Robby Fabbri and defenseman Colton Parayko have only two years of professional experience and thus were exempt from the draft, meaning they did not need to be protected.