National Hockey League expansion draft 2017: Grading all 30 expansion draft protection lists

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Because of that, Golden Knights' general manager George McPhee is willing to work with teams, but it is going to cost them. If a veteran catches McPhee's eyes that's okay, but he must be able to contribute on the ice and help create a winning environment inside the locker room.

PHT will be here to guide you through what could be a wild ride. They will try to sign top free agents. The lists will be made public on Sunday and on Wednesday, McPhee and his staff will officially announce their selections that will compose the bulk of the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights.

Nic Dowd, center: Potentially useful player, but you can only protect so many.

The Predators elected to protect a fourth defenseman that exposed Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, including 23 this past season. That would settle the Canes' goalie situation and keep the Knights from taking Stempniak or Nordstrom, two players with value.

There's also nothing barring Vegas from having a deal in place to select a player in order to trade him to another team. Youngsters Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse don't meet the minimum pro experience criteria, so they're automatically protected and don't need to be exposed. Instead of overreacting, they are playing it cool - and they hope it pays off.

Now, if the team decides to get Fleury, who is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, they can use his knowledge and skill to teach the young goal keepers in their roster.

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So, look for the Kings to protect only the best of the best Sunday, when the lists are revealed. Should they select an RFA, the team they are selecting him from will not be eligible for compensation as they normally would be. (Thornton and Marleau) have choices.

Among forwards, most of the household names were protected.

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.

Protection lists circulated to 31 teams and the NHLPA, 10 a.m. And Francis, who has said the Canes are "open for business", could make more deals with other National Hockey League teams before or during the draft in Chicago to fill the Canes' most glaring need: a top-six scoring forward. Their decision hasn't been finalized, but it could come down to which players fit better into the chemistry of the team. He is scheduled to make $5.25 million next season, even though he might not play again because of back problems. They've hired a head coach, Gerard Gallant.

One of the new regime's first test will be their protected list because it will give an indication on what direction this team will be heading next season.

McPhee has a variety of ways he can approach the expansion draft. This allows the Coyotes to protect another defenseman since their youngsters can not be selected. The one thing that didn't materialize was a large number of trades happening involving players teams didn't want to expose.

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