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Gerard Gallant wants to see Golden Knights roster too

Vegas coach refreshed heading into NHL Expansion Draft

by Mike Cranston / Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- Every time coach Gerard Gallant goes into the Vegas Golden Knights offices, he sees general manager George McPhee on the phone or in a meeting.

Gallant isn't nearly as busy and doesn't expect to be until after Vegas selects its players next week in the NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile. Gallant will have limited input in the formation of the roster.

"I'll know what's going on, but I have no say on that," Gallant said Tuesday. "They'll ask me about players that I had in the past, but I'm not going to be involved. Our scouting staff and our management staff, they've scouted these players all year long."


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Gallant insists he's fine with the setup and hasn't been paying close attention to the numerous reports of possible trades and moves while the 30 other NHL teams scramble to protect players. He instead has spent the past week buying a house in the Summerlin section of Las Vegas.

"I haven't been busy yet. Once we get our players and we get on the ice, that's when I start to get busy," Gallant said. "I'm trying to fill out my coaching staff right now. But it's our scouts and our management staff that are doing most of the work right now."

Gallant was in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday for a sponsorship announcement; McPhee had to cancel so he could work the phones. McPhee is listening to teams willing to offer compensation to the Golden Knights so they'll either select a certain player or avoid selecting someone the other team wants to keep but can't protect.

"It would help a lot to do some deals, certainly before we get into expansion," McPhee said earlier this month.

NHL teams must submit their list of protected players by Saturday. The lists will be released to the public on Sunday and the Golden Knights' selections will be unveiled during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena on June 21.

The Golden Knights will then quickly shift their attention to the 2017 NHL Draft on June 23-24. Vegas has the No. 6 pick in the first round.

Video: Weekes on Vegas' top Expansion Draft targets

"When you go in the office and you see George, he's worn out," Gallant said. "It's tiring and there are a lot of things going through his mind right now. There are a lot of different options that can happen and he's working real hard."

Hired in April after being fired by the Florida Panthers on Nov. 27, Gallant will get to work when Vegas holds its development camp from June 27-July 1.

Gallant is eager to begin his third NHL coaching job. He even got a taste of where he will stand come the fall when he walked around the home bench at T-Mobile Arena while dressed in a gray suit during an event Tuesday for premium ticket holders. The ice was down in the arena.

"I had a good break," Gallant said. "I'm refreshed and I'm ready to go again."

Gallant has experience working for a new franchise; he was an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets in their debut season in 2000-01. He said getting the players to mesh won't take as long as some think.

"You've just to stay at an even keel and keep working every day. You hope your team gets better every day and that's what the goal is," Gallant said. "There will be some tough nights for us. We'll have some tough nights trying to score goals, probably. But overall, I think if we work hard and compete hard we'll have good success."

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