The Lightning are reportedly aiming to shield some of their young defencemen they weren’t able to include on their exempt list.
Tampa Bay protected seven forwards (Ryan Callahan, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos), three defencemen (Braydon Coburn, Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman) and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
We get to give player from the @TBLightning the chance to play for a team with an ‘s’ in the name. Which one? #VegasDraft
That leaves a few young blueliners up for grabs, including Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek, two pending RFAs who hit NHL ice for the first time this past season. Dotchin played 35 games and even got some top-pairing minutes alongside Victor Hedman. Koekkoek played 29 NHL games and looks like he could be ready to make the jump to a full-time NHL in 2017-18.
Tampa Bay isn’t the only team to reportedly negotiate a side deal with Vegas during this expansion process.
News of a possible deal between the Golden Knights and New York Islanders surfaced on Monday, as Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported that New York would send its first-round pick to Vegas in exchange for the Golden Knights selecting a specific player from the Islanders’ unprotected list.
The Columbus Blue Jackets also reportedly have a deal in place.
The full roster of the brand new Golden Knights will be revealed on Wednesday during the NHL Awards.