Las Vegas owner Bill Foley is hoping to accelerate the final expansion payment to the league by the beginning of March, reports Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt (Twitter link). Until the payment is made in full, the pending expansion team (whose named will be officially revealed one week from today), the team is not permitted to be represented at any league events such as the Board of Governors meetings or GM meetings, including the one taking place today in Toronto.
The reason for the March 1st deadline is to allow the team to get approval from the league to pursue undrafted college free agents. Many of their seasons end towards the end of March but they want to ensure they’re all set well before then so that they can get into the bidding process. As they have to essentially build an entire farm system in the span of a few months between the expansion draft, free agency, and trades, it’s likely that Las Vegas will be extremely active in the college UFA market this year.
Other news from around the league:
- Although the Wild can assign 19 year old center Joel Eriksson Ek to either the AHL or the SHL if they decide to not burn the first year of his entry-level deal, GM Chuck Fletcher tells Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune that their preference would be to have him play in Sweden and at the World Juniors next month. Eriksson Ek has played nine games so far which means that the next game will officially begin his entry level contract. The team will hold him out of the lineup tonight for the second straight game to further ponder the route they’ll take.
- One topic that was discussed during the GM meetings that will be carried over to their meeting in March is potentially changing to international shootout rules, reports Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston (Twitter link). In international shootout rules, players can shoot as many times as a team likes after the first set of three shooters make their attempts. The thought process behind this might be to better showcase the elite shootout players while hoping to avoid some of the longer shootouts that see players further down the roster forced to take shots.