NHL: All talk, few trades before expansion roster freeze

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News of this broke after the Stanley Cup run and ensured the Penguins wouldn't have had to scramble this week to trade Fleury, or worse buy him out as a last ditch effort to get him off the roster and keep Murray protected.

Ken's take: The Jets' final decision regarding their protected list hinges on whether defenceman Toby Enstrom was asked and ultimately decides to waive his no-movement clause.

The team has already been aggressive to try to expose as little talent as possible. It's possible Vegas general manager George McPhee might consider Ward, a veteran and former Stanley Cup victor with the Canes, or could take Lack.

Riley Nash: Maybe not the name you expected to see this time previous year, but Nash is an incredibly affordable bottom-six piece and with the ability to play both center and the wing, there's no sense in the Bruins leaving him exposed for the Golden Knights.

The Central Registry will accept these at the same time so that there's no amusing business around leaks or anything. They're not quite sure.

Sunday, June 18 Deadline for Central Registry to approve and simultaneously distribute the Protection Lists to all NHL Clubs (including the Expansion Club) and the NHLPA (10 a.m. ET). The incoming Vegas Golden Knights can begin to take shape now that they know who's available to them.

But for now it's all about mock drafts, the looming expansion draft and the NHL Awards Show that absolutely nobody is talking about with the Vegas expansion extravaganza set to overshadow the whole thing. But, I think they'll have a good team.

Chances are, the Vegas Golden Knights - who will pick one player from each team's unprotected list - will select one of those five, perhaps with some enticement from Hurricanes GM Ron Francis in the way of a draft pick.

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"The league controlled the timetable", majority owner Bill Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He'll be the protected goalie, putting Cam Ward and Eddie Lack on the expansion list.

Going eight skaters makes sense because it allows the Penguins to guarantee their top-4 defensemen for next year are coming back. Is there a player that another team leaves exposed that the Stars will acquire from Vegas?

Who can be protected by the 30 other clubs?

That would mean Stempniak and forward Joakim Nordstrom would be available to the Golden Knights, and Stempniak could be the choice. And Francis, who has said the Canes are "open for business", could make more deals with other National Hockey League teams before or during the draft in Chicago to fill the Canes' most glaring need: a top-six scoring forward.

Washington isn't the only team that might see a talented player plucked from its roster for nothing.

"Everyone's a little nervous, they're a little reluctant", Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said on Toronto's TSN 1050.

That leaves the Blues with approximately $6.5 million in cap space with 20 players signed.