Published by hockeybuzz.com, 6-21-2017
The NHL offices wanted to keep the lid tight on anything expansion draft related as they want to put on a good show at their awards ceremony tonight. With that in mind very little has been leaked lately but as we gear up to the 8 p.m. show live from Las Vegas, some things are leaking out concerning moves that the Golden Knights may be making. Remember, nothing is finalized.
Pierre LeBrun tweets Knights taking Ottawa d-man Mark Methot
Frank Seravalli hearing that VGK is interested in Montreal defenseman Alexie Emelin
Bob McKenzie tweets that those two d-men could be flipped to 3rd team
Both of those defensemen may be of interest to the Buffalo Sabres as they try to enhance their blueline although both are more top-four, shutdown d-men that may not fit into how new coach Phil Housley wants to build his defense.
Darren Dreger is hearing that the Toronto Maple Leafs might lose left wing prospect Brendan Leipsic who had 51 points (18+33) in 45 games for the Marlies last season.
Also mentioned amongst the Golden Knights picks are David Perron (STL) and James Neal (DAL.)
None of those three would seem to be of immediate interest to Buffalo GM Jason Botterill, but you never know. The Sabres maybe losing young left-winger William Carrier in the expansion draft and the rumors of left wing Evander Kane being traded continue, albeit they've subsided quite a bit as of late.
Also of interest, Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune writes that sources are saying that Vegas signed restricted free agent center Erik Haula which counts as the one player taken from Minnesota. That signing keeps key defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella in Minnesota but will cost the Wild 2014 first round pick (18th-overall) Alex Tuch. The Golden Knights will be sending a conditional draft pick Minnesota's way.
At one time the Sabres may have been in the running for a direct deal with Minnesota to land one of their defensemen who could've been left unprotected or they could've been in on a deal to trade with Vegas after the selection ceremony. Any thought of landing Wild d-men Jonas Brodin (protected,) Dumba or Scandella have been effectively squashed.
The rumor in Southern California is that the Anaheim Ducks have swung a deal with Las Vegas to keep them away from Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson. Reportedly heading to Vegas is defenseman Shea Theodore. Up the I-5 to Los Angeles, rumor has it that the Kings will be losing defenseman Brayden McNabb to the Golden Knights.
Both would be possibilities in a Sabres deal with Vegas save for the fact the McNabb was a Sabres draft pick before being traded to the Kings. While in Los Angeles McNabb found time on the top-pairing but slowly fell down the depth chart. Sounds a lot like recently acquired Buffalo d-man Nathan Beaulieu and his time in Montreal. Pretty sure the Sabres don't need another reclamation project.
As for Theodore?
The Knights are said to be loading up on defensemen with their picks with the hopes that they'll be able to flip some of them for more picks. Many of the headliners will not be chosen because of the deals Las Vegas has made with teams trying to keep their best players.
Knight's GM George McPhee is getting himself an unprecedented haul this expansion draft which is the return on Las Vegas $500 million expansion fee.
Will the Sabres be in on any of this?
One would think they will if there's something they deem necessary and if the price is right. Word on the street is that Vegas will announce their roster tonight, along with a few trades but that much more will be revealed tomorrow. The NHL expansion draft trade freeze ends at 5 a.m. tomorrow and fireworks are expected.