The Vegas Golden Knights won't participate in Seattle's expansion draft, raising concerns that other teams could make deals with Vegas in order to work around the protection-list process.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly doesn't expect that to occur, but he warned that the league will scrutinize any transactions that might be related.
"I don't see that happening, they're just not part of this expansion," Daly said at Wednesday's GM meetings, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "Obviously, we'll make sure that Vegas isn't used in the process by other clubs to circumvent the purpose of intent of the expansion draft rules."
A team could theoretically trade a player to the Golden Knights and recoup some value instead of losing that player to Seattle for nothing or, in a more drastic move, come to an agreement in which Vegas would trade a player back after the expansion draft.
Daly noted that every transaction must be approved by the NHL.
"You can't park players on Vegas," Daly said. He added, "There are other things they could do that we might not approve. But I'm not going to create my own hypotheticals. I'll know it when I see it."
The Golden Knights are exempt from the Seattle expansion draft, although several general managers told LeBrun that they aren't happy with that arrangement. Vegas won't receive a cut of the expansion fee either.
Every other team will have to submit a list of protected players. Depending on its composition, the list can include 11 players (seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie) or nine players (eight skaters, regardless of position, and one goaltender). Seattle's expansion draft is set for June 2021.