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Now the fun starts: Golden Knights GM finalizing NHL expansion draft picks

Goalies Philipp Grubauer (left) of the Washington Capital and Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers could be potential selections in the NHL Expansion Draft for the Vegas Golden Knights. (AP file photos)

George McPhee has been a very popular man among his NHL peers this week.

The Vegas Golden Knights general manager spoke Monday about preparations for the NHL Expansion Draft, which will take place Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

He said he's been on the phone all day long for the past four or five days in discussions with everyone involved in making this selection, which includes not only team brass but also opposing GMs working to protect their players from the draft.

McPhee said Monday is the last day for discussions and they will make their selections Tuesday.

"We want to have a discussion with the league tomorrow night about what our team is going to look like to make sure we meet all of the requirements,” he said, β€œand then if everything is OK, I'll sleep on it and send it in.”

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McPhee also said the team has not completed any trades, but they do have some things lined up.

The expansion draft rules made it so that Vegas would wind up with strong enough goaltending to be competitive even in its inaugural season. There's also a surplus of young goaltending talent, including Detroit's Petr Mrazek, Washington's Philipp Grubauer, the New York Rangers' Antti Raanta and Colorado's Calvin Pickard.

Need a goalie? McPhee might be able to help.

That's what Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was thinking after trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary on Saturday. Sure, he could sign a free agent July 1, or he could take advantage of this rare circumstance.

"There's a lot of unprotected goalies out there," Chayka said. "Vegas doesn't need 10. They only need a couple, and there's opportunities for trades from that perspective. ... Goalie's one position where there's a lot of good goaltenders out there right now and not a whole lot of spots."

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In addition to the expansion draft, the Golden Knights are set to unveil their uniforms Tuesday. Beginning Friday in Chicago with the No. 6 overall selection (barring any trades), Vegas will select its first draft pick.

McPhee also said the team will release the regular season schedule in the next week.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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