It looks the Penguins might have made it worth the new Vegas Golden Knights while this expansion draft.
VGK say they have six trades in place. If we're speculating - emphasis on speculating - likely to be with ANA, CBJ, CHI, NYI, PIT, TB.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 20, 2017
Most expect that Vegas will announce that they are taking Marc-Andre Fleury tomorrow night when their team is unveiled. They get to take one player from the unprotected lists from each team.
The Pens have Fleury plus some other options like Bryan Rust, Ian Cole and Carl Hagelin exposed. Also, with Vegas making 30 picks to round out a 23 man roster, they were in a position to allow other NHL teams to offer them incentive to take a player like Cole or Hagelin and flip them via a trade to a new third team.
Fleury has two more years on a $5.75 million cap hit. A lot of Pens fans had assumed that due to being a good goalie Vegas would just take him and move along, however given the other cheaper and younger options, if McKenzie's report is right, Pittsburgh probably had to throw in a sweetener. This would ensure that Fleury (plus hit cap hit) move on from Pittsburgh and also ensure that nothing crazy happens to have a scenario play out that the Pens don't want.
Now we will wait and see what it is. Vegas and their GM George McPhee has said for a while that they want draft picks. Notably, the Penguins have a first and third round draft picks this season. They also have all their picks in 2018 and 2019, years Vegas has reportedly said they would be interested in.
Specifics on trades aren't supposed to leak until tomorrow if things go how the league wishes, but the speculation is likely to remain rampant. McKenzie is as plugged in as it gets, so if he's assuming that Pittsburgh has sent something extra to Vegas, that's good enough for a working understanding for us. Now let's just hope it wasn't too pricey for the Pens to navigate this expansion situation.