It was reported months ago that the Vegas Golden Knights would be given a window before the expansion draft in which to talk to pending free agents. Should they sign one of them, the player would “count” as the selection from his former team, making them exempt from giving up an additional player in the expansion draft. Today, Pierre LeBrun of TSN tweeted that not only will that window include unrestricted free agents, but unprotected restricted ones too with no offer sheets or compensation required.
He clarified that he believes the window will take place at some point between when the teams need to submit their protection lists (June 17th) and when the Golden Knights make their picks (June 20th). The league is still working on when and how long exactly the window will be open, before announcing the picks on June 21st.
While unprotected restricted free agents were theoretically always available to Vegas through the draft itself, it does open another interesting quirk in an already extremely complicated draft for the Golden Knights. The window will likely be spent talking to many RFAs to determine the likelihood of them signing long term in Vegas before picking/signing them, not wanting to lose an asset soon after acquiring it.
With the protection lists being released, a buyout window opening, the expansion selections, NHL awards and entry draft all coming in the span of 10 days, June is shaping up to be one of the busiest months of the year in the NHL without even thinking of the Stanley Cup Finals. Make sure to stay right here with PHR for all the news right through the offseason.