Vegas holds all the cards with National Hockey League expansion draft list out

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As expected, the Blackhawks chose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie.

Unprotected players who peak our interest.

"I'm really pleased with what's available", McPhee said Sunday.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a trade in place with the Vegas Golden Knights, as TFP has already reported, but the parameters of the deal are coming to life.

The Golden Knights will also have this three-day window to meet with the pending restricted and unrestricted free agents exposed in the draft, and if they negotiate a deal with one of those players in that time, that counts as Vegas' pick from that team. Anaheim wants to keep defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, Columbus wants to keep goalie Joonas Korpisalo, forward Josh Anderson, and defenseman Jack Johnson, and NY wants to keep forwards Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas. That said, it is probably safe to assume the Golden Knights go a different route when targeting Calgary's roster.

No trade with Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee is in place to save one of their exposed players, nor is any trade imminent for one of those exposed players, notably goalie Antti Raatna.

"Vegas has indicated that they will give all 30 clubs every opportunity to keep their rosters intact if they'd like", the Golden Knights said in a statement Saturday evening. Florida's purest scorer was one of just 26 players league-wide to hit 30 goals last season - and he will only earn $750,000 next season.

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The Golden Knights are also reportedly working with teams on side deals. Vegas might have other ideas for the 32-year-old puck-moving blue-liner who earns $5.75 million a year, including using him as bait later at the trade deadline.

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These are uncertain times, but especially for those left unprotected. But teams could only protect one goalie, and there was no way The King - even at age 35 - was going to be exposed.

Antti Raanta (New York Rangers) spent two seasons as a backup to Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks - with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2015 - and two more playing behind Henrik Lundqvist in New York.

Only in this case, he had his pick of the presents, which ended up including big-ticket items like James Neal, Eric Staal, Sami Vatanen, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tomas Plekanec, Josh Manson, Matt Dumba, Bobby Ryan and Petr Mrazek. Vegas certainly will be able to be competitive early on if that's the route they choose to go in the National Hockey League expansion draft.

Some view this situation as McPhee having nearly all the leverage here. While some notable names were picked, such as Mathieu Schneider, Geoff Sanderson and Mike Vernon, the likes of Bert Robertsson, Zac Bierk and Michael Bros also were selected. The Washington Capitals acquired Tyler Graovac from Minnesota so they could meet the minimum exposure requirement and protect center Lars Eller. That he agreed to waive his NMC opened the door for the Jets to protect their three key defenders and keep much of the young core together.

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