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Ducks reportedly make deal with Golden Knights to protect defensemen from expansion

Kevin Bieksa will not have to waive his NMC, per Sportsnet.

Anaheim Ducks v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Hey, look: it’s our first example of a pre-expansion draft trade with the Vegas Golden Knights.

If that makes no sense, stick with me.

The Anaheim Ducks are in a quandary: they have a lot of good defensemen but can’t protect all of them in the expansion draft. One of them they’d like to keep but don’t really want to protect is Kevin Bieksa. After all, teams can only protect so many players. His no-movement clause makes him automatically protected.

So when word came down that the Ducks hadn’t asked Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause (which would’ve made him eligible for expansion exposure), it was a head-scratch moment. But then Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman cleared it all up.

Essentially, the Ducks have agreed to trade either picks or players to the Golden Knights in exchange for a promise they won’t draft some other player of theirs. Anaheim would like to keep Bieksa, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm above other defensemen. They’d also like to re-sign Cam Fowler. Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are exempt.

So, as we speculate, the deal between Vegas and Anaheim might be that Vegas agrees not to take Manson in the draft as long as the Ducks send them something later. Anaheim keeps two defensemen it wants and Vegas gets assets. Maybe Anaheim uses one of its picks in the draft to take a player Vegas wants, or simply sends picks Vegas’ way. Who knows.

But buying off the Golden Knights seems to be the plan for many teams this week.