Expansion Draft Buzz

Vegas set a deadline for last night with clubs to make side deals and today Vegas will be picking their squad that will be officially turned into the Central Registry on Wednesday morning.

One NHL executive put the over/under at ‘8’ on side deals Vegas has worked out with clubs.

Some leaks that have emerged:

Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported few days ago the Blue Jackets have a deal in place to send a first round pick, prospect, and David Clarkson’s contract to Vegas and the Golden Knights will select Matt Calvert or William Karlsson.

The New York Islanders have a similar deal in place with Vegas where the Isles are expected to send Vegas a first round pick and will likely lose Nikolai Kulemin to avoid losing some of their key forwards left unprotected, per Arthur Staple of Newsday.

Vegas GM George McPhee is going to attain a ton of high picks for the next couple drafts but what we’re also going to see is Vegas selecting some impact veteran players with one year left on their deals that they plan to flip next year at the deadline for more picks or prospects.

Word is circulating Winnipeg’s Tobias Enstrom is a strong contender to be selected and talk around the league on Monday was Vegas plans to take James Neal if a deal with Nashville couldn’t be reached. Both being prime candidates to be moved next winter for a high return.

Vegas Owner driving the bus with pending Fleury acquisition

— How much fear have the Penguins had of losing a Bryan Rust or Ian Cole?

None, per sources close to the situation.

While Vegas GM George McPhee has viewed Marc Andre Fleury nothing more than a potential asset that would likely be flipped at some point in the near future, league sources say Vegas owner Bill Foley is ecstatic about getting Fleury and a driving force behind the belief now that Vegas has all intentions to make Fleury one of the faces of the franchise in year one.

In a goaltending market flooded with quality netminders where there’s good value to be had and after the Penguins didn’t receive one trade offer during the season, the Penguins are hitting the jackpot here.

They got a return on their investment this postseason in keeping Fleury as a $5.75 million insurance policy and now have an opportunity that wouldn’t be there without the expansion draft, where they are going to clear nearly $6 million in cap space from Vegas taking that contract.

Interesting enough, some around the league on Monday were saying that Foley loves Fleury so much that Vegas might be taking Fleury without a side deal having to be made, though, I got some serious pushback on that from others who claim a side deal was agreed upon last week before the Penguins official expansion list was even in.

Free Agency Buzz

— The Penguins intend to talk to free agent winger [hide] T.J. Oshie when the free agent interview period opens to see where his thinking is, a source says. If the Penguins made a bold move on the free agent market, the suspicion is it would be for Oshie not Radulov.

There is still disappointment from some in the organization that the Penguins didn’t push hard enough on a deal for Oshie at the 2015 draft when they looked into packaging Brandon Sutter to St. Louis.

Including Oshie, there’s a few bigger targets out there the Penguins would like to get in contact with and try to sell them on joining the Sidney Crosby show, but where the Penguins will be most active is the trade market.

Oshie is going to have a ton of lucrative offers. New Jersey plans to go real hard at him.

Did some checking and not that there’s much expectation the Penguins plan to pursue him anyways, but top free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk does not have interest in the Penguins. He wants to go to a place where he’ll be the guy.

— Why the Penguins can make a creative signing or trade this off-season even after signing their RFA’s:

They’re built with cheap young labor at the forward ranks:

Jake Guentzel – $734,000
Bryan Rust – $640,000
Scott Wilson – $625,000
Carter Rowney – $612,000
Tom Kuhnhackl – $625,000
Oskar Sundqvist – RFA (# will be well under $1 million per)
Josh Archibald – RFA (# will be well under $1 million per)
Daniel Sprong – $692,000
Zach Aston Reese – $925,000
Dominik Simon – $692,000

Fleury leaving a lasting impression

— Fleury Meet and Greet Tonight at Dicks Sporting Goods in Cranberry —