In about a year and a half, a 32nd team will make his entry in the National Hockey League as Seattle will kick off its inaugural season as the new expansion.
Which means an expansion draft will take place beforehand.
The league's top officials took the time on Thursday to revise the rules of the upcoming expansion draft with all the general managers present. Here is what was said, per insider Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic:
1. The Seattle expansion draft rules will be the same as last time with Vegas;
2. The Golden Knights are exempt from the Seattle expansion process, they won’t need to protect any players, which was agreed to years ago as part of the original Vegas package and also because well, it’s the giveback they get for not getting a slice of that $650-million Seattle expansion fee. (I think Seattle’s launch getting pushed to October 2021 instead of the original plan of October 2020 is part of the reason Vegas still being exempt from the process has a few team executives sour);
There is a third rule and this one was loud and clear: The league will carefully monitor whatever role Vegas plays during the Seattle expansion draft process. This means that the Golden Knights cannot be seduced by other teams to park players to protect them from the draft.
Here is the example given by LeBrun using the Toronto Maple Leafs as a starting point:
“For example, let’s pretend the Toronto Maple Leafs decide Travis Dermott won’t be among their protected blueliners. I’m not saying that’s going to be the case, it’s just an example. And let’s say the Leafs trade Dermott to Vegas instead of losing him for nothing to Seattle in the expansion draft. Should the Golden Knights then trade Dermott back to Toronto the following season, the league would intercept the move and nullify it. That would constitute “parking” a player.”
If ever the Golden Knights and another team are caught doing this, the trade is expected to be disallowed by the NHL and we suspect some punishment, maybe a hefty fine, would take place.
Everyone has been warned!