The real star of the expansion draft wasn’t Marc-Andre Fleury or James Neal, it was George McPhee. The general manager’s draft has set Vegas up to be contenders sooner rather than later.
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The NHL annual summer free agent signing splurge seems to inspire as many regrets as success stories.
Last summer, the Montreal Canadiens signed Alexander Radulov for one season and wished it was for more. Sam Gagner was a similarly appreciated free agent acquisition in Columbus. But last summer, the Florida Panthers also committed $22.5 million over five years for defenseman Jason Demers and ended up exposing him in the Las Vegas expansion draft last week. The Calgary Flames paid $18 million over four seasons for Troy Brouwer and left him unprotected. (Neither were taken by the Golden Knights.)
The Edmonton Oilers love their Milan Lucic signing of a year ago.
But would the Detroit Red Wings sign Frans Nielsen (six years, $31.5 million; 17 goals, 41 points, -19 last season) or would the New York Islanders sign Andrew Ladd (seven years, $38.5…