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Expansion Draft Buzz: Dion Phaneuf of Senators could be traded

Defenseman has modified no-trade clause; Ottawa GM says he will 'explore all options'

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Expansion Draft Buzz. On June 21, the Vegas Golden Knights will reveal the players they have taken from the other 30 NHL teams in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile. But before that happens, a flurry of activity is expected to take place with the 30 other NHL teams each finalizing its protected list.

Here's a look around the League at the latest doings as the expansion draft approaches:

 
3:10 p.m.
Lightning trade Jonathan Drouin to Canadiens for Mikhail Sergachev

The Tampa Bay Lightning traded forward Jonathan Drouin and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft to the Montreal Canadiens for defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional second-round pick in 2018.

Drouin, 22, then signed a six-year contract with the Canadiens. He is not exempt from the NHL Expansion Draft and will need to be protected from the Vegas Golden Knights. Drouin had an NHL career-high 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) in 73 games for the Lightning this season.

[ RELATED: Fantasy impact of Drouin trade | Top 250 rankings for 2017-18 ]

Sergachev, 18, was selected by the Canadiens with the ninth pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. He played four games for Montreal this season and is exempt from the expansion draft because he's on an entry-level contract. The trade opens up a protection spot in the expansion draft for the Lightning because they would have needed to protect Drouin.

Vegas can begin negotiating with pending unrestricted and restricted free agents Sunday.

 

2 p.m.
Teams exploring trade for Jordan Eberle: report

Six teams are interested in trading for Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle, Sportsnet reported Thursday.

Eberle, 27, has two years remaining on a six-year, $36 million contract with an average annual value of $6 million. He does not have a no-movement clause.

The NHL Expansion Draft trade freeze for the 30 teams (excluding Vegas Golden Knights) begins Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. If Eberle is not traded before that time, the Oilers would need to decide whether to protect him or expose him to Vegas.

Selected with the 22nd pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Eberle has played all seven of his NHL seasons for the Oilers.

The Oilers need to sign forward Leon Draisaitl, who can become a restricted free agent July 1. Forward Connor McDavid, who led the NHL in scoring with 100 points, has one year remaining on his entry-level contract and will be eligible for a contract extension July 1.

 

10:45 a.m.
Dion Phaneuf of Senators could be traded: report

There is trade interest in Ottawa Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf, TSN reported.

Phaneuf, 32, reportedly was asked to waive his no-movement clause for purposes of the NHL Expansion Draft, but general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed Thursday that the defenseman will not do so. The deadline for players to agree to waive their no-movement clauses in order to be exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights is Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

The Senators will be forced to protect Phaneuf from the Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft because he has chosen to not waive his no-movement clause.

"Dion loves it here," Dorion said. "He feels this team is headed in the right direction. He wants to be a part of it. He's brought great leadership, great character. I'm not going to deny the fact we had discussions with Dion and his agents. I think we always have to explore all options."

However, Phaneuf does have a modified no-trade clause that would allow him to pick 12 potential teams to which he would accept a trade. He has four years remaining on a seven-year, $49 million contract with an average annual value of $7 million.

"We are still looking at possibly going 7-3-1 or 8-1," Dorion said. "We're not going to show our cards. I think when it comes to [the] expansion [draft], we have a pretty good idea what we're going to do, unless we make some trades between now and Saturday (3 p.m. ET). I've talked to 23 of my 30 counterparts in the last three days. There's a lot of chatter."

Dorion said Thursday he has not yet decided whether to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie in the expansion draft. He confirmed the Senators will part with forward Chris Neil, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He also said Ottawa could re-sign forward Chris Kelly, who's also a pending UFA.

Video: BOS@OTT, Gm2: Phaneuf drills home the OT winner

 

10:12 a.m.
Francois Beauchemin bought out by Avalanche

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin will have the final year of his contract bought out by the Colorado Avalanche.

Beauchemin, 37, would have counted $4.5 million against the salary cap next season, according to CapFriendly.com. After the buyout, that number will be $1.5 million next season and in 2018-19.

The buyout will make Beauchemin an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play next season, will be able to negotiate a contract with him starting Saturday. The Golden Knights are permitted to speak to any impending restricted or unrestricted free agent not on a protected list for the NHL Expansion Draft. Teams must submit their protected lists by 5 p.m. ET on Friday.

Beauchemin was second among Avalanche defensemen this season with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists), and averaged 21:30 of ice time in 81 games.

In 836 career NHL games with the Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs, he has 271 points (73 goals, 198 assists). He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007.

Video: COL@STL: Beauchemin scores from long range

 

8:55 a.m.
Red Wings won't try to trade with Golden Knights

The Detroit Red Wings will protect the maximum 11 players allowed and will not look to make a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights to dictate who they will lose in the NHL Expansion Draft, Detroit general manager Ken Holland told Sportsnet 960 on Wednesday.

"I'm not prepared to pay any future assets to protect players on our team," Holland said. "We're submitting seven [forwards], three [defensemen] and one [goalie], and when we submit that list then [Vegas has] obviously the decision to make which player [it's] going to take off our roster."

A team can protect 11 players in the combination Detroit will use, or eight skaters and one goalie.

Holland said the Red Wings could make a trade with a team other than the Golden Knights, but if they don't, they know which players they are going to protect.

"We'll let Las Vegas pick a player off our team and we'll reassess where we're at after they pick that player," Holland said.

Detroit could be trying to trade one of its goalies, either Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek.

"It's a tough decision because Jimmy's 33 (years old) and Mrazek's 25, so obviously there's a big difference," Holland said. "That's part of the reason I'm working the phones, talking to teams out there that might have interest in goalies, to see what we might do, or do we just stay as is?"

 

8:40 a.m.
Wild know they're going to expose good players

The Minnesota Wild are facing some difficult decisions when it comes to their protected list for the NHL Expansion Draft.

"No matter what we do, we're going to have to expose five or six players that … we certainly have no desire to lose," general manager Chuck Fletcher said Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported. "The good news is we can only lose one player. … You look at the rules and you look at the names, and you can do it different ways but we're going to expose good players."

The Wild are expected to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie.

The goalie will be Devan Dubnyk. One of the defensemen will be Ryan Suter, and the other two will come from the group of Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella.

The Wild's decision on which forwards to protect would become easier if forward Jason Pominville agrees to waive his no-movement clause.

Fletcher would not say whether that's been requested of Pominville, one of four Wild players with a no-movement clause (Suter, Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu).

If Pominville has been asked, he has until 5 p.m. ET on Friday to decide whether he's OK with being exposed to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

If the Wild must protect Pominville, it appears their list will be Pominville, Parise, Koivu, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker, leaving Eric Staal and Erik Haula exposed.

If Pominville does agree to be exposed, Staal or Haula could be protected. Pominville, 34, had 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) in 78 games. Staal, 32, was second on the Wild with 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists) in 82 games in his first season in Minnesota. Haula, 26, had an NHL career-high 15 goals.

The Wild could work out a trade with the Golden Knights to keep them from taking a specific exposed player, or players.

"There's ways I think we can come to an arrangement that benefits both parties," Fletcher said. "But they're trying that with other teams too."

 

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