In his final meeting with the media before the announcement of his expansion draft picks Wednesday night, Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee dropped a couple of bombshells on reporters who visited the team's complex Tuesday in suburban Summerlin, Nev.
1). McPhee said he has already completed trades with six teams. It's assumed this means deals for actual assets and not side agreements to take or lay off certain players in the expansion draft. It's expected according to reports that McPhee is going to pick up first-round draft picks from the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders, and perhaps a couple of more teams.
It's believed the Sabres had a deal of some sort in place with McPhee under former GM Tim Murray, and the inclusion of younger winger William Carrier on their unprotected list is seen as a sign that new GM Jason Botterill also has something in place with McPhee.
2). The Golden Knights are expected to go heavy on claims for defensemen, ostensibly with an eye on trading some of them to teams who have needs at the position.
There are some solid young blueliners who are unprotected and would undoubtedly interest many teams, including the Sabres. The list includes the Anaheim due of Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, Minnesota's Matt Dumba and Calvin de Haan of the New York Islanders. While the Golden Knights would certainly benefit by claiming and keeping a player like that, the greater benefit might be to claim and flip the player to a team willing to give up prime assets to acquire them.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 20, 2017
3). McPhee wrapped up trade talks today to focus solely on the expansion selections. He had put a deadline of Monday on such discussions but extended it into today for a couple teams whose GMs were having travel issues. One of those reportedly is Toronto GM Lou Lamoriello.
The Knights have until 10 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday to turn in their final roster. The names will be made public later that day during the NHL Awards Show at T-Mobile Arena. Botterill is expected to meet with the media some time Thursday in Chicago in the wake of the Expansion Draft and in advance of Friday's Entry Draft.