NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The NHL’s Expansion Draft looms, and Predators general manager David Poile concedes it is going to cost the team a good player.
Wednesday at his season-ending news conference, Poile said the Preds would surrender one of the better players of the draft to the new Las Vegas Golden Knights.
“You know, it’s the cost of doing business. We’ve been on the other end of getting an expansion team. I’m happy for Vegas to some extent. With all due respect, they’re probably getting better players than we did to start with,” he said.
Poile has options on just who chooses to protect. The Predators can protect any 8 skaters and a goalie, or they can protect 10 skaters if they choose to protect 7 forwards and 3 defenseman.
The problem there is if the Predators exposed any of their top 4 defenseman they would certainly be snapped up.
That leaves Poile probably stuck with protecting 4 defenseman and 4 forwards. Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen will certainly be protected, but after that Poile has to decide between players like James Neal, Calle Jarnkrok, Craig Smith, and Colin Wilson.
Poile can also protect more players by making trades with Vegas, and that’s something Poile says he has already begun to discuss with Golden Knights GM George McPhee.
The Predators GM is prepared to do whatever he can to hang on to the team that made its first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, saying, “We will do the best we can to protect as many assets as we can.”
Las Vegas must turn in its expansion draft selections June 21.