Some early expansion draft observations:
Good rules: Props to the NHL, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly for constructing a set of rules which have created interest and drama. Fans have been sweating over their protections lists to the same degree as paid team executives.
RELATED: Golden Knights issue update regarding Expansion Draft
Master class: Veteran GM George McPhee used his abilities to control the process while it was still open. McPhee clogged up the process and there were fewer deals than expected. With teams only allowed to negotiate with Vegas from noon June 17th until the morning of June 22nd, McPhee is now the clearing house for all deals. If a team wants a player from another roster - they can make McPhee an offer to use one of his expansion picks on its behalf. McPhee can also negotiate with teams wanting to keep their rosters intact. If a club wants to keep a core player in cannot shelter on its protection list - it can offer McPhee prospects or draft picks to select a less valuable asset in the expansion draft. McPhee and his staff devised a strategy and executed to put itself in its current position.
Video: Expansion Draft process update
Price you pay: Many GMs determined dealing with Vegas was the most cost effective route in the expansion process. The return on a trade with another team had to equal the value of two players because no matter what a team did prior, it still had to lose a player in the expansion draft. For example: Team A determines it can't protect a certain player. So they trade that player to Team B for an asset (player, pick or prospect). Then Team A loses another player in the expansion draft. So the asset it received in return - had to equal the value of those two players. That's a tough equation to solve in today's NHL. GMs determined it was more efficient to deal with Vegas where they only had to rationalize the return against the value of one player and not two.
The key statement: McPhee indicated on Saturday he was open for business with the other 30 NHL teams indicating he would give all 30 clubs opportunities to keep their rosters intact if they would like. Meaning, before the Golden Knights claimed a player off a team's unprotected list - McPhee and his staff were willing to negotiate deals so the other clubs do not lose a player they want to keep.