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Softening The Blow Of The Expansion Draft

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An early dip into the free agent pool by Las Vegas could help soften the blow of expansion.

Anaheim Ducks v Edmonton Oilers - Game Three
RFA, UFA
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Almost everyone is screaming “Pouliot!” into the abyss. Maybe Vegas will listen.

In just about two weeks, the Vegas Golden Knights will have the opportunity to get a head start on their expansion picks. The Golden Knights can sign any unrestricted free agent or any unprotected restricted free agent between Sunday, June 18th until Wednesday, June 21st. It’s the same time period as the actual expansion selection process; though the Golden Knights can select a UFA from a team and sign that player before July 1st.

THE BIG DEAL

Is it a big deal for the Oilers? Well, yes and no. No, they’re still going to lose a player in the expansion draft. But if Vegas can slink in and grab a UFA and sign that player, it opens up a few options for the Golden Knights. Specifically, if the Golden Knights see something on the UFA list that they’d like to get a shot at before most of the League, they can go kick the tires on a David Desharnais or a Kris Russell. If the Golden Knights don’t select Pouliot, losing one of Desharnais or Russell would be the best of an expansion scenario. Signing one of those players would also count as Vegas’ expansion pick, something we could all live with.

The Oilers will come out with their protected list by June 17th. Our staff at the Copper and Blue will have our mock picks selected in the near future, as well as wall-to-wall coverage of the expansion draft.