The Vegas Golden Knights have sent out a message to the rest of the league: they're going to have some fun with expansion.
From Elliotte Friedman's latest 30 Thoughts post:
1. Initially, the plan was to give Las Vegas 48 hours with the protected list before the expansion draft. That is being increased to 72. At the GM meetings, the Golden Knights’ George McPhee let everyone know that once the lists are handed to him, it’s an auction for any unprotected player another team might want. This has outstanding potential.
This has to make teams a little uneasy, but for fans it's great. I don't think the Golden Knights should be doing shady deals to protect players on teams' lists. Instead, I think they should do exactly what the quote from Friedman says. Auction them off to the highest bidder and make some great entertainment.
It's also a genius move by the Golden Knights simply because it opens up their selection pool even more. They've basically cracked open a loophole to find the ability to acquire protected players, if a team wants a certain player badly enough that is.
This opens up the door for every team to benefit from the expansion draft, possibly getting players they otherwise wouldn't get a chance to acquire. It definitely changes the scouting landscape down the stretch.
All in all it's a fantastic idea. The only downfall now to the expansion draft are the rumors that the protected lists are being kept silent. How does that help the NHL's entertainment value? Oh well, I'll take a player auction and be satisfied I guess.