LAS VEGAS -- Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said he had spoken with Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee each day for the past week or so, trying to make a trade ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft.
"There's no question that we're going to lose a good player," Poile said Tuesday. "I believe it'll be a forward, and when that happens, we'll have a hole in our lineup."
The question is who it will be.
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McPhee must submit his selections by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The Golden Knights roster will be unveiled during the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile in Las Vegas later that day (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).
The list of available Nashville players includes forwards Pontus Aberg, James Neal, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson.
Neal, 29, has at least 20 goals in each of his nine NHL seasons and has scored as many as 40. He is signed for one more season at an NHL salary-cap cap charge of $5 million, according to CapFriendly.com.
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Why expose Neal and protect Calle Jarnkrok? Because Neal plays on the wing, the Predators have up-and-coming players on the wing and Jarnrkok can play center? Center Mike Fisher, 37, is also available in the expansion draft. But his contract is up, and he's contemplating retirement. Poile said in his mind he might be looking to acquire two forwards in the offseason.
"I'd be happy to talk about it after the fact," Poile said. "But I just don't think it serves me any good now, because as far as you know, I might still be negotiating with George McPhee. … I'm not trying to be evasive or anything like that, but it's still ongoing here."
Poile is a finalist for GM of the Year and coming off Nashville's first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, and he's already working on next season.
"It starts [Wednesday] night," Poile said. "Obviously who we lose is going to take us in one direction or another."