Vegas Golden Knights release statement on Expansion Draft

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Translation: The Golden Knights are widely open for business.

Ward (shoulder) is on the list of available players for Wednesday's expansion draft, TSN reports.

The Fleury-to-Vegas speculation ignited what is sure to be a chaotic two-week period in which the expansion and entry drafts are expected to be accompanied by a flurry of trades that will, in the end, fill the roster of McPhee's squad.

Protected lists due: At 5 p.m. ET, every team except the Golden Knights must submit their list of protected players. Bjugstad led the team in points back in the 2013-2014 season, but has suffered several injuries since then, and fans have seen his production drop off significantly since signing a six-year, $24.6 million contract in December 2014.

The NHL is now under a trade freeze that lasts until Thursday at 8 a.m., with teams only allowed to make trades with the Golden Knights.

Saturday's trade deadline for teams looking to shuffle potentially exposed players around came and went with only a few deals being made; something which came as a pleasant surprise to McPhee.

Other notable forwards left unprotected were: Minnesota center Eric Staal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown and Montreal's Tomas Plekanec. The Knights will have their pick of more highly sought goalies than either of the two Finns from the Stars.

The Golden Knights will be allowed first crack at any pending unrestricted or restricted free agent, as long as that player is not protected in the Expansion Draft. Fletcher, however, said the Wild don't have any such deals in place. "They only need a couple, and there's opportunities for trades from that perspective". They're all a beat behind the play, not quite ready, not quite alert, not at all intense.

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George Mc Phee attends a news conference in Las Vegas. Three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc Andre Fleury Nashville forward James Neal and Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatan
Vegas Golden Knights release statement on Expansion Draft

There's also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one.

And after the expansion draft?

Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli must decide if Benoit Pouliot or Griffin Reinhart are expendable pieces, and their absence from the lineup won't deter the team's goal of competing for a Stanley Cup championship.

If the Sharks believe that either one or both players can still be productive on the ice, then re-sign them to low-risk, high-reward contracts quickly before the speculation of their departure becomes reality. (Thornton and Marleau) have choices. The Senators don't have any major concerns up front because they'll pretty much be able to protect everybody they want.

Many expected drama and excitement from the Carolina Hurricanes ahead of the National Hockey League trade freeze. They've hired a head coach, Gerard Gallant.

In the list of protected players made public Sunday morning, the Panthers opted to protect eight skaters and a goalie instead of 10 players (seven forwards and three defensemen) to save one of their defensemen. The downside to using this format is exposing Derek Forbort and Kyle Clifford to the Knights for the taking. The team will be announced Wednesday night during the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Protected defensemen: Keith, Hjalmarsson, Seabrook.