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How the Seattle NHL expansion draft could affect the Florida Panthers – The Athletic

SUNRISE, Fla. — In the hours before the Vegas Golden Knights selected their first batch of players in the 2017 NHL expansion draft, word leaked that the Florida Panthers would lose not one, but two players.

The expansion draft is designed so that each team loses a player to help stock the new team, so the news that Florida was losing two top forwards came as a surprise.

But it was by design. General manager Dale Tallon worked a deal with Vegas counterpart George McPhee to take a $25 million contract (Reilly Smith) off his books in exchange for Jonathan Marchessault — Florida’s leading scorer in 2016-17 — being available.

Both players were extremely valuable in Vegas’ historic run to the Stanley Cup final last spring.

When the new Seattle team makes its first picks in 2021, do not expect the Panthers to go a similar route.

“A lot of that had to do with contracts and our situation as in who we had signed and where we were,”…

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