NHL Expansion Draft: Roster freeze goes into effect today

If Panthers make a move, it’s got to happen before 3 p.m.

We are one step closer to the NHL’s first expansion draft in seventeen years.

Today at 3 p.m. ET, a league-wide roster freeze will go into effect. So, if the Florida Panthers are going to make a move it will have to happened before that deadline.

Two hours after the freeze goes into effect, the 30 existing teams will each submit their lists of protected players to Central Registry and the NHLPA.

The lists will be checked and then simultaneously disturbed to all clubs and the NHLPA at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday morning. The lists will also be made to public, so we will know who is and isn’t available from each existing team.

This is the point where the expansion draft begins. The Vegas Golden Knights will have 72 hours to negotiate with all unprotected UFAs and RFAs, make trades with the “Original 30”, and ultimately select one player from each team.

Vegas’ selections will announced on June 21 during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena.

On June 22, the roster freeze ends and the league gets back to business as usual.

With the exception of the big Jonathan Drouin - Mikhail Sergachev trade beween the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens, the expected league-wide fireworks haven’t come to pass yet and simply might not.

Arizona and Philadelphia completed a deal late last night with Nick Cousins and prospect Merrick Madsen heading to the Coyotes with prospect Brendan Warren and a fifth-round pick in 2018 coming back to the Flyers.

Earlier in the week, the Washington Capitals acquired LW Tyler Graovec from the Minnesota Wild for a fifth-round pick in 2018. The New York Rangers bought out the last three years of Dan Girardi’s contract, making the defenseman a UFA. The Anaheim Ducks did the same with defenseman Simon Despres.

Rumor has it the clubs have already have deals in place with the Golden Knights to steer clear of some of the players many expected to get traded, with TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting that NHL’s newest team might have already acquired three first-round picks.

There is still time for the Panthers, and the rest of the existing teams to make a move or two, but the deadline is fast approaching. Keep it here for updates.