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Expansion draft complicating contract talks

The potential to end up in Las Vegas may keep Thomas Vanek from signing a new deal with Detroit. Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline is already complicated enough by jammed-up standings and a salary cap without any give. However, this year, the expansion draft looming in June has added another layer of complication.

We’ve debated the impact it might have on teams worried about losing players in the expansion draft, a concern many believe won’t be dealt with until after the season. That said, some concerns have a more immediate impact.

In a normal year, teams would be circling back at this point to their unrestricted free agents to see if they might be able to get a deal done before pulling the trigger on a trade. Now? It may not make sense for either side to sign a contract in the next two weeks.