By JOHN WAWROW, AP Hockey Writer
General manager George McPhee says the Vegas Golden Knights are open for business to any teams seeking to protect their players in the upcoming NHL expansion draft.
McPhee told The Associated Press he’s already had preliminary discussions with most teams over what trades could be made before the draft is held in Las Vegas on June 21, two days before the traditional draft. Without going into much detail, McPhee said talks have focused on which players teams would prefer the Golden Knights either select or don’t.
In exchange, McPhee is open to acquiring draft picks to begin stockpiling for depth. The team opens its first season in October.
“If they want to give us draft picks to encourage us to take a certain player or leave another player alone, we’re open-minded and we’re going to listen to everyone,” McPhee said. “You usually build your team, historically, through the entry draft, so we’d certainly be interested in acquiring picks.”
McPhee confirmed he had what he called “productive talks” with Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray in February. No agreement was reached and those discussions are now in limbo after Murray was fired last week.
McPhee expects to resume talks with the Sabres once they have a new administration in place. Before he was fired, Murray hinted at having a possible deal in place with Vegas.
The Golden Knights will select once player from each team to fill out a 30-player roster made up of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. Teams can protect between nine and 11 players, including a goaltender. First- and second-year players are also exempt.
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