Vegas holds all the cards with expansion draft list

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First- and second-year players are exempt from the draft, meaning Ivan Barbashev, Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Zach Sanford and Jordan Schmaltz are also protected from joining the Golden Knights.

Finally, TSN's Pierre LeBrun highlighted one other option on the table for the Golden Knights: selecting an available player and immediately flipping him in a trade to a third team.

Vegas will be selecting one player from each team, so the Flyers will only lose one player through the Expansion Draft.

But for now it's all about mock drafts, the looming expansion draft and the NHL Awards Show that absolutely nobody is talking about with the Vegas expansion extravaganza set to overshadow the whole thing.

The team chose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie from being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in Wednesday's draft. That forced the team to also expose top-pairing blueliner Marc Methot. Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek and Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers are both available, as is Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers.

Mike Smith went from Arizona to Calgary and a couple of defensemen traded places as National Hockey League teams made last-minute moves before the Vegas expansion draft roster freeze.

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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.

"Vegas doesn't need 10", said Chayka after making a proactive move to free up the Coyotes' protected list by trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary. Ryan has five years left on a seven-year $50.8 million contract and represents a $7-plus-million cap hit.

Those lists, which will be released to the public at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, will feature some of the biggest names in the sport, but in the case of the Chicago Blackhawks, it will also provide a window into their thought process as they reshape their roster.

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.

Francis didn't say what his plans might be, saying, "We'll just see where we are and what happens" in the expansion draft.

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