It’s quite possible every NHL team wants to make a deal with Vegas regarding the expansion draft. Under Tim Murray, the Sabres had the framework of one such deal in place.
Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee has talked to Murray’s replacement, Jason Botterill, and it was a good chat.
“We’ve had one conversation so far that went really well,” McPhee said Saturday in HarborCenter. “I imagine things will pick up next week. He’s certainly had a lot going on as well.”
The Sabres’ new GM has indeed been busy. Botterill is looking for coaches for Buffalo and Rochester. He’s getting to know his scouting staff.
But with the expansion draft rapidly approaching (June 17-21), Botterill will want to make a deal with McPhee in order to protect – or lose – a certain player. The Sabres are not alone in that regard.
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“There’s certainly been a lot of discussion, and most of the guys have been really forthright in what they want to do, who they’ll probably expose and who they’d like to protect,” McPhee said at the NHL Scouting Combine. “We’re trying to find ways to accommodate each other. We won’t be able to do that with everyone, but there will be some deals that happen beforehand and teams get protection as a result.”
McPhee said deals could happen as quickly as the next few days.
Vegas will select one player from each of the 30 teams, either through free agency or the expansion draft. Teams can offer the Golden Knights a draft pick or other asset in return for staying away from a prospect or for selecting a big contract.
“I didn’t anticipate having a lot of discussion about expansion this week,” McPhee said. “We thought this would be more focused on the combine and the kids and getting ready for the entry draft, but it seems every day we’d go down to lunch and run into a few GMs and the conversations started.
“It’s been a busy week, but certainly productive.”
Below is our in-season look at the Sabres and the expansion draft. A post-season analysis will be coming next week.