• Golden Knights limited in type of player they can acquire
• Certain deals can be made after trade deadline passes
• Draft picks and prospects would be in play
The NHL trade deadline gets hockey fans buzzing annually, but the upcoming expansion draft and the fact the Vegas Golden Knights might be able to make some deals on March 1 makes the 2017 deadline a particularly intriguing one.
That means Golden Knights general manager George McPhee could be busy on that day.
“We’re hoping by March 1, which happens to be the trading deadline, that we could maybe get involved in some things at the deadline to see if the clubs that want to do something that are worried about us [potentially selecting one of their players in the expansion draft], that if they want to do something it can be done,” McPhee told Prime Time Sports Wednesday. “We can agree to some deals.”
Golden Knights owner Bill Foley needs to make the final payment of the $500-million expansion fee before the team can begin making transactions. Foley is expected to send the final instalment by March 1 or potentially prior to that date.
“Once they close the transaction, [McPhee] will be able to make player-related transactions within some parameters,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly explained over the weekend. “Obviously he still can’t acquire players who are still playing the 2016-17 season, but he can acquire draft picks, he can acquire [unsigned draft choices], sign draft choices, player assets. He can start making deals associated with the expansion draft.”
For example, McPhee can make deals with GMs where he agrees to not select a certain player(s) in the expansion draft. We saw several of these deals made prior to the most recent NHL expansion draft in 2000 that formed the first Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild rosters. The Blue Jackets made three trades related to their expansion draft (one with San Jose, one with Montreal, and one with Buffalo) while the Wild made just one deal. Both teams happened to acquire assets from the Sharks after agreeing not to select netminder Evgeny Nabokov.
McPhee can also begin signing college or junior free agents whenever the transaction is complete.
“I get to go to the managers meetings early in March so it’d be nice to be open to that kind of business sooner than later,” McPhee added.
The expansion draft takes place June 21, the NHL Draft takes place June 23-24, and free agency opens one week later, but the first pieces of the Knights’ roster could begin to materialize in the coming weeks.