Since there have been a few expansion draft updates in the past few days, including a clarification on the roster freeze, here is the latest news.
The Roster Freeze
First off, in the article I wrote last week about updated expansion draft dates, there was a question about what the “roster freeze” specifically entailed. I, and other outlets, interpreted it as no trades could be made, but Vegas could obviously sign players, since that’s their window for doing so.
Yesterday, Bob McKenzie clarified the situation, and....well, I was wrong.
...Beginning 10 am ET on Sun June 18, VGK can make deals with other clubs tho those 30 clubs can only make deals with VGK until freeze ends.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 13, 2017
Teams can still make trades with Vegas (and only with Vegas) during the roster freeze. In my defense, the NHL seems to be going out of their way to make the wording of some aspects of expansion draft rules as vague as possible, but I believe it’s imperative to acknowledge when you’re wrong and correct the information.
To Waive or Not to Waive
Teams had a deadline this week to ask players to waive their No Movement Clauses so the team does not have to protect them in the expansion draft. There was no mention of Frans Nielsen being asked to do so, and he is the only Red Wing player that it would apply to.
Puck Daddy had a round-up of who was asked to waive their NMC, and what the outcome of that was.
The biggest news has been the Marc-Andre Fleury agreed to waive his NMC for the purpose of the expansion draft. He has a modified No-Trade Clause (he has a list of 18 teams to which he can be traded), so Vegas could draft him then flip him to another team. They may also just keep him. Fleury and either Phillip Grubauer or Antii Raanta is a pretty good goalie tandem, especially for an expansion team.
Both Dion Phaneuf and Keith Yandle have refused to waive their NMC.
Trading with Vegas
While nothing has been made official, Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Anaheim Ducks have made a deal with Vegas to solve their protection issue. He is reporting that the deal will make Kevin Bieksa waiving his NMC unnecessary. The most likely possibility is that Anaheim will send a package to Vegas in exchange for Vegas selecting a specific player from Anaheim (although it could be “take anyone but these players”).
Another rumored deal has Columbus sending their first round pick along with a prospect to Vegas in order to have the Knights select David Clarkson in the expansion draft. This would clear up a 5.25 cap hit for 3 seasons.
For Red Wings fans, this helps to set the expectation for a trade with Vegas in exchange for taking one of the Wings’ bad contracts far too high for my tastes.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, Pierre LeBrun reported that the NHL has told GMs not to leak trades with Vegas before the June 21 Vegas roster reveal.
But trade info has already leaked out, so.....
So we’re getting close. The next few days could bring a flurry of movement. Hang on tightly, it could be a bumpy ride.