NHL expansion draft: How to watch, how it works and which players are available

Before the end of the week, the NHL's 31st team will have enough players to take the ice.

The Vegas Golden Knights are the league's first expansion franchise in nearly two decades, and they will begin play in 2017-18 after selecting at least one player from each of the other 30 teams in the NHL.

A handful of big names are already available to Vegas as the team's pick announcements near, and a flurry of ripple-effect trades and signings could be coming as well.

Here's how to watch the NHL's Vegas expansion draft, a look at how the process works and a rundown of which players have been left exposed to the Golden Knights:

How to Watch

  • What: NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft

  • When: Wednesday, June 21, 8 p.m. ET

  • Where: T-Mobile Arena (Paradise, Nevada)

  • TV: NBCSN, SN

How the expansion draft works

  • Every team -- except for Vegas, of course -- had until 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning to finalize a list of players they wanted to keep from being selected in the expansion draft.
  • Unsigned draft picks and first- and second-year veterans were already exempt from the process, and clubs had the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and a goalie.
  • From the resulting lists of unprotected players, the Golden Knights are permitted to claim one player from each team. They can also select a pending free agent from any team in place of an unprotected player, although they'd then corner themselves into contract negotiations.
  • In all, Vegas is required to take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies from the lists of unprotected players, according to the NHL. And teams aren't prohibited from making trades that would keep certain unprotected players from being selected.
  • The Golden Knights must submit their selections to the NHL by 10 a.m. Wednesday, roughly 72 hours after the protected lists went public. And those picks will be announced during the NHL Awards show that night, starting at 8 p.m.

Players available to the Vegas Golden Knights

Courtesy of the NHL, the lists of protected and unprotected players from all 30 teams outside of Vegas are available.

Check out every team's crop of players left exposed to the Golden Knights, including pending free agents like the Washington Capitals' T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk, right here on NHL.com.

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