The first expansion draft in the Twitter era is going to be one of the oddest, yet most satisfying, events in sports. Fans and writers alike love to get together to roast someone or something. The Vegas Golden Knights are about to be the first team to have this very distinct honor.
The expansion draft isn’t until late June, but that doesn’t mean that the team can’t make any deals. They have recently submitted their last payment to the league and with that payment, they are now allowed them to participate in trades.
Vegas Golden Knights will officially be in the hockey business this afternoon. I's dotted…T's crossed…George McPhee can start dealing.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) March 1, 2017
NHL has emailed its member clubs to let them know @GoldenKnights now have official standing and are able to complete transactions.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2017
As in, right now. When they don’t have a team.
The list of players they can acquire is small-ish. Any player that is done with their season (and thus, out of contract) can sign with the team. That includes soon to be NCAA players and players in foreign leagues.
Current teams can also deal draft picks to the Golden Knights in exchange for not selecting a certain player. The current exposure rules for the expansion draft means they have to expose a certain amount of skaters and goalies. Compared to the amount of players that were exposed back in 2000 for the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, the list is massive.
If you’re wondering whether or not the Golden Knights have already started to talk to teams about these types of deals, general manager George McPhee spoke to the Associated Press about that very topic.
“We’ve been talking with teams here for a few weeks now. Teams are looking for some certainty with their rosters and obviously trying to improve their rosters before the trading deadline and they want to talk to us to see if there’s a player that we could agree upon that for a couple months from now to claim, which would make their life easier.”
Any professional player signings are going to have to take place after the July 1st signing period, just like every other team in the league. The rules are odd and not necessarily fan friendly, but it is rather exciting to see a team sprout up from nothing before our very eyes.