NHL trade freeze sparks buzz but few deals

Wild Prepare for Entry Draft, Expansion Draft

In a few situations, it's easy to pick which players are likely heading to Vegas. They might choose to expose Martin, figuring the Knights would not want to pick up his $2.5-million salary.

Those lists, which will be released to the public at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, will feature some of the biggest names in the sport, but in the case of the Chicago Blackhawks, it will also provide a window into their thought process as they reshape their roster. Here's what they said about teams in their market.

Among those left unprotected, and available to the Golden Knights in the draft, were goalies Cam Ward and Eddie Lack, forwards Lee Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom, and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck. There's also an "expansion draft signing moratorium" for everyone except Vegas, but the trade freeze is most likely to generate some interesting moments today.

His appeal: Like Manson, Dumba could be a nice long-term piece for the Vegas core, a former top-10 pick (seventh overall in 2012) coming off his finest National Hockey League season.

The only question now seems to be who McPhee is going to pick when the draft comes Wednesday, and how the Rangers are going to deal with it. For example - and this is only an example - if the Sharks would like the Golden Knights to select Mikkel Boedker and his hefty contract, rather than someone else from their roster, they could sweeten the pot by offering further assets like a draft pick or a prospect.

Vegas will nearly certainly have a strong goaltending tandem next year. Stempniak, Nordstrom and Dahlbeck - who was signed to a one-year contract after the season - fit the requirements. Youngsters Connor McDavid and Darnell Nurse don't meet the minimum pro experience criteria, so they're automatically protected and don't need to be exposed. Because he's under contract through 2017-18 and played more than 40 games last season, Washington was able to expose him and protect Eller, the team's third-line center, to meet the requirement of exposing two forwards under contract through next season with the necessary National Hockey League experience. Stajan has one year left and is captain material on a new, young team. The Ducks may have swung a deal with the Knights to keep hands off Manson for precisely those reasons.

This story has been corrected by removing Red Wings defenseman Mike Green from list of unprotected players.

First, if MAF is taken as expected, that means Pittsburgh won't lose a guy like Hornqvist/Rust/Hagelin/Cole in the expansion draft that many have expected they would all along. He's a restricted free agent, and Washington has already tendered him a qualifying offer, thus making him exposed in the expansion draft.

Still, this expansion draft is unique, much anticipated and finally here so let's get ready for it all the same.

It could be veteran Lee Stempniak, the well-traveled forward.

A very brief recap: The NHL Entry Draft is held for players between 18-20 (18-21 for European players) and doesn't end a players' NCAA eligibility.

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