All talk, few trades before NHL's expansion roster freeze

Along with every National Hockey League team, the Dallas Stars released their protected list for the 2017 Expansion Draft.

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, the protected lists will be made public.

Golden Knights GM George McPhee's chief goal must be to weaken each team's roster, but the players selected can not be waiting for the ink to dry on their retirement papers.

Golden Knights submit expansion draft picks by 10 a.m.to the NHL and NHL Players Association.

That left the required two forwards (Joakim Nordstrom and Lee Stempniak) and one defenseman (Klas Dahlbeck) with the required experience mandated by the league, along with goaltenders Cam Ward and Eddie Lack.

Antti Raanta, Michael Grabner, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast appear to be the consensus choices as the top candidates to be selected by the Golden Knights by Wednesday.

"We really like what we're looking at right now", McPhee said. Wilson expects McPhee, who has hired the well-regarded Gerard Gallant to be the franchise's first head coach, to ice a competitive team - and a Pacific Division rival of the Sharks - in short order.

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Fleury was left unprotected by the Pittsburgh Penguins after he agreed to waive the no-movement clause in his contract.

Among those left unprotected, and available to the Golden Knights in the draft, were goalies Cam Ward and Eddie Lack, forwards Lee Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom, and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.

The Predators elected to protect a fourth defenseman that exposed Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, including 23 this past season.

What it comes down to is this: The Wild likely would have to pick between protecting center Eric Staal or winger Jason Zucker out of their crop of forwards, and defensemen Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, or Marco Scandella. Aside from Fleury, other goalies exposed are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Peter Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth. They have one unrestricted free agent in Scottie Upshall and three restricted free agents in Colton Parayko, Magnus Paajarvi and Nail Yakupov. There's also an "expansion draft signing moratorium" for everyone except Vegas, but the trade freeze is most likely to generate some interesting moments today. Both Souray and Tom Gilbert got beat to the puck, then Joe Pavelski beat Souray around the net, then various San Jose players beat various Oilers in front of the net before the puck was banged in. But it's unlikely the two would consider joining an expansion team at this point in their respective careers. Those selections will be announced Wednesday night during the NHL Awards show in Last Vegas.

"We gave up a lot but I'm convinced we got back a big piece", Habs GM Marc Bergevin said.

McPhee said the Golden Knights will truly be built by way of the entry draft, not the expansion draft, so that might indicate a plan to pick a team that might struggle from puck drop in October compared to what he could've picked if the return is strong enough.

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