With less than one week now remaining until the NHL’s March 1 trade deadline, it appears unlikely the Vegas Golden Knights will be major players in TradeCentre.
Golden Knights owner Bill Foley told multiple media outlets on Wednesday that his hope to speed up the process to make Las Vegas the official home of the league’s 31st franchise will likely fall short by a couple days.
It isn’t the final installment of the $500 million expansion fee holding back Vegas, it is the paperwork, Foley said. Anyone purchasing a home can understand the complexity involved – and this is a much larger purchase.
“We won’t make it before the trade deadline,” Foley told KXNT radio in Las Vegas. “The documentation is unbelievable. I have documentation with the league on a franchise agreement. I have documentation on a loan we are taking out with CitiBank. I’ve got my personal stuff, which all has to get in and get approved. If you saw the stack of documents, you’d say it’s not a pretty picture.”
By and large, the March 1 trade deadline has no impact on Vegas business. The benefit to have the Golden Knights official before the March 1 deadline was actually to the other 30 NHL clubs, who could have attained expansion draft guarantees via trade, which may have had a trickle-down effect on other transactions.
Contrary to popular belief, the NHL’s trade deadline does not halt all trading. It just marks the deadline for teams to add players to their roster to be eligible for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which is why it has traditionally been a time for significant transactions.
The Golden Knights could not have acquired players active in 2016-17 anyway, even if they were injured and listed as out for the remainder of the season.
Whenever the Golden Knights have all of their t’s crossed and i’s dotted sometime in March, they will be able to begin making deals as planned, including trades for expansion draft considerations.
For instance, the Golden Knights may acquire a draft pick, prospect or future considerations from another team in exchange for their agreement to not select a particular exposed player in June’s expansion draft.
Many teams will be interested in negotiating with Vegas to ensure a certain vulnerable player will remain with their club. Three such trades were made ahead of the 2000 expansion draft, with San Jose trading assets to both Columbus and Minnesota for their guarantee to not select goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
Foley said this week that those informal expansion consideration trade talks have already begun with GM George McPhee.
When official, Vegas will be also be permitted to acquire prospects playing at the junior level, including unsigned drafted prospects, as well as players from another organization’s protected list playing on loan overseas. They will also be allowed to begin signing undrafted NCAA and CHL free agents.
McPhee, hired on July 13, 2016 shortly after the announcement of the franchise, will be welcomed to attend the NHL’s next GM meetings, held on March 6-8 in Boca Raton, Fla.
“Other teams want to do more than we want to do,” Foley said on KXNT. “They want to lock up some of their players for the playoff run and after the playoff run. We aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves. George is going to make good deals … If we give up the right to draft a good player, we are going to get something good for it.”
Here is TSN’s Trade Bait list of the Top 40 players potentially available:
List updated: Feb. 22
NTC - NO TRADE CLAUSE NMC - NO MOVEMENT CLAUSE
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Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli