Penguins’ Fleury left available for Vegas expansion draft

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Calgary Flames

(The Sports Xchange) – Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is among the high-profile players left unprotected and available for the Vegas Golden Knights to select in this week’s expansion draft.

The NHL announced on Sunday the available and protected lists for the 30 teams who will provide players to the Golden Knights.

After Fleury agreed to waive the no-movement clause in his contract, the Penguins protected goaltender Matt Murray, who led the team to its second consecutive championship a week ago.

The Golden Knights’ selection — one from each NHL club — will be revealed at the 2017 NHL awards and expansion draft on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nashville Predators forward James Neal and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen also were left unprotected.

The Predators elected to protect a fourth defenseman that exposed Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, including 23 this past season.

Vatanen, a fifth-year player, won’t be ready for the start of next season after having surgery to repair a shoulder injury.

Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens were among other forwards left unprotected.

(Editing by Gene Cherry)