The NHL gave the expansion Golden Knights an exclusive 72-hour window to pursue unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents who had not come to terms with their teams by Saturday.
That window begins at 7 a.m. Sunday, coinciding with the time frame the team has to select the 30 players for its expansion roster.
Vegas general manager George McPhee would not say which players the team is interested in pursuing. But if the Knights don’t sign any players in the next 72 hours, they will get another shot July 1 when free agency begins for the entire league.
Of course, they will have plenty of company if they choose to wait. The other caveat is if the Knights sign a free agent during the early window, that player counts against the 30-man roster and would represent the selection for the team that loses him to the Knights. By waiting until July 1, they can get what majority owner Bill Foley calls “another bite of the apple” and get more than one player from a team.
“We’re looking at everything,” McPhee said. “Free agency is certainly part of that.”
Quality players are available at all positions. If the Knights want offense, perhaps they take a run at Washington’s T.J. Oshie, who scored 33 goals and made $4.15 million this past season.
Or maybe they look at Columbus center Sam Gagner, who had a career season for the Blue Jackets with 18 goals and 50 points. He’s only 27 and made $650,000 this past season.
The Knights also could look at Montreal’s Alexander Radulov, who is 30, had 54 points and made $5.75 million. He could be a good fit with Vadim Shipachyov, who was signed in May and has played in Russia.
Defensively, Washington’s Kevin Shattenkirk is the top unrestricted free agent. The Capitals rented him for the stretch run, hoping he could help get them to the Stanley Cup Final. But they lost in the second round, and might not be able to afford him at $4.25 million.
Philadelphia’s Michael Del Zotto is only 27 and made $4 million. He’s a strong skater and excellent passer.
Contact Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.
Possible free-agent targets
About 250 players are going to be unrestricted free agents July 1. The Golden Knights get an early opportunity to sign these players. If theysign a UFA, that player counts as his former team’s selection for Wednesday’s Expansion Draft. Here’s a look at some possible targets for the Knights in the early free-agency period that begins at 7 a.m. Sunday:
Name Team Position Age Salary cap hit*
T.J. Oshie Washington RW 30 $4,175,000
Alexander Radulov Montreal RW 30 $5,750,000
Michael Stone Calgary D 27 $4,000,000
Kevin Shattenkirk Washington D 28 $4,250,000
Patrick Marleau San Jose LW 37 $6,666,667
Michael Del Zotto Philadelphia D 26 $3,876,134
Martin Hanzal Minnesota C 30 $3,100,000
Patrick Eaves Anaheim LW 33 $1,000,000
Sam Gagner Columbus C 27 $650,000
* Salary cap numbers provided by CapFriendly.com