The end of June is always an exciting time in the League with the Stanley Cup Final, followed by the NHL Awards, then the NHL Draft, which leads into the free agency period beginning July 1.
Video: NHL AWARDS | Peter Chiarelli
With the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights as an expansion team, however, this week's proceedings are even more intriguing. The Knights will announce tomorrow which player they've selected from each of the other 30 teams, in addition to any trades they've executed.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli said during Tuesday's NHL Awards media availability in Las Vegas that he's had discussions with the Golden Knights, but "maybe not as much as other teams."
"It's not top of list for us, it's on the list," he said. "For some teams it was, with the age of their players and their protect situations… It's just another piece to the puzzle when you're trying to map out your roster for the coming year… I think maybe what the Expansion Draft has done is it's sparked us to get a jump-start on the normal discussions."
Head Coach Todd McLellan has, of course, been involved in those discussions alongside Chiarelli and the Oilers management team. He said he's noticed an increase from previous seasons with the added wrinkle of expansion.
"There's a lot more going on right now than what normally happens this time of year," McLellan said. "There's always some discussion about moving up or down in the Draft, and you're starting to tweak your teams at this point. But there's a lot more action going on, there's a lot more discussion, the phone's ringing a lot more often. It's an exciting time right now. It's an anxious time for players and coaching staffs. There's a new team coming into the League and nobody knows what it's going to look like until tomorrow night."