Welcome to the NHL Expansion Draft Buzz. On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights will reveal the players they have chosen 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 each of the 30 other NHL teams finalizing its protected list.
NOTE: The expansion draft trade/waiver freeze for all NHL teams (excluding the Golden Knights) began Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Each team had to submit its protected list by 5 p.m. ET. The Golden Knights will receive the official lists at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Here's a look around the League at the latest doings as the expansion draft approaches:
Teams make moves before freeze
Several teams made last-minute trades Saturday prior to the 3 p.m. ET freeze ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft that will stock the Vegas Golden Knights.
The biggest one saw the Calgary Flames acquire goaltender Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes for goaltender Chad Johnson, unsigned defenseman Brandon Hickey and a conditional pick in the 2018 or 2019 NHL Draft. Smith, 35, was 19-26-9 with a 2.92 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 55 starts with the Coyotes this season. He has two years remaining on a six-year, $34 million contract (average annual value $5.67 million), according to CapFriendly.com.
Johnson can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and Hickey has played the past three seasons at Boston University.
The Buffalo Sabres acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Montreal Canadiens for their third-round draft pick this year. Beaulieu, 24, was Montreal's first-round pick (No. 17) in 2011 and had NHL career highs of 28 points (four goals, 24 assists) in 74 games this season. But with the season on the line, he was a healthy scratch in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers.
The San Jose Sharks traded defenseman Mirco Mueller, who was their first-round pick (No. 18) in 2013, and a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft to the New Jersey Devils for two 2017 choices; a second-round pick (No. 49) that originally belonged to the Boston Bruins and a fourth-round selection (No. 123) New Jersey had acquired from the Nashville Predators.
Toby Enstrom of Jets waives no-movement clause: report
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom has agreed to waive his no-movement clause, allowing him to be exposed to the Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, Sportsnet reported Saturday.
Enstrom had 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 60 games for the Jets this season. He did not play again after a hit from behind by forward Tom Sestito of the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 8. Sestito was suspended four games for the hit.
Enstrom, 32, has one year remaining on a contract that will pay him $5.75 million in 2017-18, according to CapFriendly.com.
The move would allow the Jets to protect three defensemen - Jacob Trouba, Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers - as well as seven forwards and one goaltender.
Blue Jackets, Golden Knights have trade in place: report
Coming off the best season in their history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are willing to pay a heavy price to avoid losing one of their top young players, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The paper reported Friday the Blue Jackets have reached agreement with the Golden Knights on a trade that would send this year's first-round draft pick (No. 24) and a prospect other than 2016 first-round pick Pierre-Luc Dubois or 2014 first-rounder Sonny Milano to Vegas in return for assurances the Golden Knights will select left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defenseman Ryan Murray.
Calvert and Karlsson are bottom-six forwards for Columbus. Murray, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, had dropped to the third pair by the end of the season.
The trade would enable Columbus to avoid losing forward Josh Anderson, goaltender Joonas Korpisalo or a veteran top-four defenseman, such as Jack Johnson or David Savard.
Golden Knights angling to acquire more draft picks: report
The Vegas Golden Knights have one pick in all seven rounds of the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas. General manager George McPhee apparently would like some more in order to build his team's talent pool, but without sacrificing his efforts to put a competitive team on the ice.
"You usually have seven draft picks, but if we could have two or three drafts where we have 10 or 12 picks, it would accelerate our process," McPhee told USA Today on Friday.
The Golden Knights are likely to be busy traders once they receive the protected lists on Sunday, and McPhee said he has been on the phone with all 30 teams.
TSN reported Thursday the Anaheim Ducks and Golden Knights have a prearranged trade that would enable the Ducks to avoid asking defenseman Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-trade clause and avoid losing one of their other top players, a group that includes forwards Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg and defenseman Josh Manson.