Blue Jackets pay ransom to Golden Knights for draft protection: Report

The Vegas Golden Knights are going to come out of next week’s expansion draft with a war chest of draft picks and prospects from teams trying to steer them away from exposed players.

For that, they can thank the NHL, which gamed the expansion draft criteria to both give the Knights a collection of solid players on which to build, and forced teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets into unenviable ransom payments to Vegas GM George McPhee.

From Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, it appears a deal has been cut to make sure that the Knights stay away from forwards Alexander Wennberg and Josh Anderson, backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and veteran defensemen Jack Johnson and David Savard:

The Jackets are believed to be trading this year’s first-round draft pick (No. 24 overall) and a prospect (not Pierre-Luc Dubois or Sonny Milano) to Vegas for assurances that the Golden Knights will select either left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defenseman Ryan Murray. Vegas’ acquisition of the contract of injured veteran forward David Clarkson ($5.25 million salary cap hit) may also be part of the deal.

Wow. The least they can do is also pick up the Clarkson contract for that bounty.

A first, a prospect and Ryan Murray so George McPhee doesn’t draft Jack Johnson. What a world.

Pierre LeBrun hears that the Knights already have three first-rounders banked thanks to the expansion draft pressure.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.