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NHL clarifies expansion draft rules for general managers

The rules aren’t changing for June’s NHL expansion draft. But the league made it clear that if teams don’t follow them, they will suffer dire consequences, such as losing their first-round draft pick.

The general managers for the league’s 30 teams met Tuesday in Toronto to clarify the expansion draft rules, particularly the rule that allows Las Vegas a 48-hour window to pursue unrestricted free agents before turning in the new team’s list of 30 players on June 20.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Review-Journal the NHL ensured the general managers knew the rules going forward.

“No changes to Expansion Draft rules,” Daly wrote. “Just answers to questions and clarifications on hypothetical (situations).”

There have been concerns that under-the-table deals could be cut to protect certain unprotected players from being drafted by Las Vegas. Also, there are worries that Las Vegas general manager George McPhee might try to sign an undrafted free agent but not announce it until July 1, the official day of free agency, while selecting a second player from a team.

Daly told ESPN.com that anyone who tries to manipulate the draft rules would face the loss of a first-round draft pick.

“There has to be a high level of diligence to make sure those things don’t happen and to make sure people know there will be significant penalties imposed if they were to screw around with the rules,” Daly said.

McPhee was not at Tuesday’s meeting because Las Vegas has not paid all of its $500 million expansion fee and is not yet a full working member of the NHL.

According to team owner Bill Foley, McPhee had met with Daly three weeks ago to make sure the team was following the rules for its future mock drafts and will be at the March 6 to 9 GM meetings.

“We know what’s going on as far as the rules go, and we will follow them, absolutely,” Foley said. “We still have two payments to make, and we will have everything paid in full by March in time for George to attend the meeting in Florida.”

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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