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Golden Knights may be more active after Expansion Draft, Western GM says

Teams could be seeking trades after Vegas makes selections June 21

by Benjamin Zweiman @BZweimanNHL / Staff Writer

The Vegas Golden Knights could be more active after the NHL Expansion Draft than before, according to Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving. 

"The players Vegas drafts, not all of them are going to play for Vegas," Treliving told Sportsnet 960 on Thursday. "It's not so much an expansion draft for them as it is an accumulation of assets."

The Golden Knights, who begin play next season, must select one player from each of the 30 NHL teams, who can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters and one goaltender.

Each team's list of protected players is due by 5 p.m. ET on June 17. Vegas' selections will be announced June 21 at the NHL Awards (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

"I think when you look at it, Vegas is going to come out of here both with some decent players in terms of building a competitive team," Treliving said. "But more so, there's going to be some people here that they can turn and use to collect picks for this year or future years."

For example, Vegas can select an unprotected player another team may value and then trade that player to that team for other players or NHL Draft picks. The Golden Knights also can agree to not select an unprotected player and possibly receive something in return.

Treliving said there are about 20 teams that won't have a problem deciding which players to protect. The rest will have a difficult time making that decision. 

"There's a bunch of teams that either have room to add players or have protection issues," Treliving said. "Where Vegas is spending a lot of their time (talking) is with those teams, to be perfectly honest."

Treliving was at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo last week and called it a unique experience. Though he was there to focus on the prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft, Treliving said most of his meetings were with GMs from other teams. 

"It's busy in the sense that everyone's trying to make themselves better," he said. 

Vegas has to select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders (26 roster spots); the other four selections can be from any position. That could leave Vegas with an abundance of goalies, for example, who they can then trade.

Treliving said he's done three mock drafts to project who Vegas will select and feels the Golden Knights will struggle to find quality centers and that wing players will have higher salaries.

"They're going to have a wide range of goaltenders available," he said. "They're going to get some good defensemen. They're hard to find in this league."

Because the Flames are expected to have an easier time choosing which players to protect, Treliving is trying to see which assets he can add from the Golden Knights after the expansion draft. Calgary is looking at which players will be available when the list of protected players is released to the public.

"How can we get a player through Vegas?" he said. "How do we capitalize on an opportunity here?"

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