All indications are that Predators' forward James Neal has been selected by Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft, hockey sources tell Newschannel 5 Sports. The official Golden Knights' roster announcement will take place Wednesday at 7p.m. during the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Neal, 29, scored 23 goals for the Predators during the 2016-17 regular season and chipped in six more goals and three assists during the team's run to it's first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance this spring, despite playing the final 12 games of the playoffs with a broken hand.
Acquired in a trade from Pittsburgh during the summer of 2014, Neal made an immediate impact for the Predators, scoring 23 goals in the 2014-15 season. He posted 31 goals, the second-highest total of his career, while playing all 82 games during the 2015-16 season.
Neal is one of just six active players to have scored at least 20 goals in each of his first nine seasons, which is why Predators General Manager David Poile reportedly did everything possible to reach a trade deal with Vegas to protect Neal and other key players who were left exposed to the expansion draft pool.
But no agreement was able to be reached and now Neal is set to become one of the headlining stars in Vegas for a new era of NHL hockey.