I opted not to try to account for Player-Saving Trades because there's a ton of variables to account for for that sort of thing, and the odds are all that'll do is dislodge some other valuable player to Vegas. Sorry, Pittsburgh.
I did, however, allow for the removal of some NMC players that are just absolutely bad enough that they would not be allowed to get in the way of protecting better players - i.e. guys who would be unhesitatingly bought out if they refused to waive. So someone like Scott Hartnell still gets protected, but someone like Kevin Bieksa doesn't.
When drafting, I figured priorities were in this order: Centers, Defensemen, Goalies, Wingers. The idea behind this is that good-quality centers are going to be incredibly difficult to come by both in the draft and even moreso in free agency. Defensemen will be difficult to come by after the draft, but there's less opportunities for teams to protect defensemen and so there's going to be better quality blueliners left. Thus, centers over defensemen. Goaltenders come next just becuase there's so many good ones, and wingers come last 'cause they're relatively easy to pick up. The presumption is that we're going to be doing several blueliner-for-offense trades during or very shortly after the draft.
Also when drafting, I opted not to go for Contract Dump type players. Making the cap will be straightforward enough without that silliness; I figure Vegas would have to be bribed to take such picks, and that falls under the "player-saving trades" restriction. So no Dustin Brown selections.
When protecting players, I assumed the scarcity dynamics above would be known to GMs and attempted to adjust protection accordingly where possible. This affects, like, one or two teams, though, so it's not as big of a factor.
Anaheim: Bieksa falls under the "not allowed to get in the way" rule, but none of the other NMCs do. Since there's no "player-saving trades" allowed (read: no moving Vatanen), this basically came down to "which do we protect - Silfverberg and friends, or Manson". Given the large number of (exempt) quality defense prospects Anaheim has, I opted for protecting Silfverberg. So of course Manson gets snatched up posthaste. (I'm actually wondering if I should have exposed Vatanen and protected Manson, but oh well.)
Arizona: There's so few forwards worth protecting that a 4-4-1 arrangement looked best. When it came time to do actual selection, there's not much there - the best options appear to be Luke Schenn and Peter Holland (or Alex Burmistrov if Vegas wants to give him another try). I went for the center first.
Boston: No NMCs get waived or anything like that. I just went with the popular automatic picks CF provides. For the draft, I briefly considered Morrow before going with the waiver-exempt goaltending prospect.
Buffalo: Not much deliberation done here with protection picks. I strongly considered Kulikov as a pick, but 1) he's a UFA and 2) he's not exactly doing well. So I punted and just picked Carrier. Probably one of the weaker picks I've made here.
Calgary: See Buffalo, pretty much, except swap Kulikov and Carrier with Wideman and Poirier.
Carolina: Between protecting Nordstrom or Stempniak, I went with the younger guy and drafted the older one.
Chicago: None of the NMCs fell into the "not allowed to get in the way" rule - I considered it for Seabrook, but a buyout is not a realistic option so they can't force the issue. That leaves a few nice young blueliners, plus Scott Darling (who I thought would be an attractive pick despite his UFA status), but ultimately, we'll have enough quality goaltending. So I picked the roster guy under contract in TvR.
Colorado: Beauchemin could have ended up as a "not allowed to get in the way" pick, but frankly I don't think he does; the Avs don't appear to have enough decent forwards to want to bother. For selection time, there's pretty much no blueliners of interest, and the forwards aren't much better, so I went with an experienced checking winger because I wasn't sure what else to do.
Columbus: Clarkson is a Not Allowed To Get In The Way NMC, but nobody else is. The next three forwards are easy, but the last one is maddeningly difficult; it came down to "which is the better center, Karlsson or Jenner", and Jenner's done his best work on the wing. Besides, Korpisalo and Johnson are attractive pieces, so maybe they get picked instead? ...nope, Jenner gets gleefully snatched up almost immediately.
Dallas: This one initially came down to which blueliners they protect - the young up-and-coming, or the older guys recently picked up. I figured the younger ones would be a higher priority, and so exposed Hamhuis so as to protect Lindell. Initially I picked Hamhuis, but after trying to assemble lines and realizing I had far more better defensemen than that, I opted instead to go for a "maybe he'll come back since there's an open spot to be a star" move with Nichushkin. Perhaps not the wisest move, but, hey, worth a shot, maybe.
Detroit: While there's been talk of trading Mike Green rather than protecting him (presumably so as to allow Ouellet to be protected), I had already decided against trying to simulate Player-Saving Trades. So Ouellet becomes a Golden Knight.
Edmonton: I think I spent about all of thirty seconds trying to figure out if there was a sane way to get Davidson protected before I just gave up on it and had Vegas pick him.
Florida: Wanted to protect four defensemen, but no matter what I tried I kept ending up with a minimum of five forwards that should absolutely be kept (Barkov, Trocheck, Bjugstad, Smith, Huberdeau). And while the idea of Jagr being picked seemed interesting from a ticket sales perspective, I don't think GMGM would be that shallow. So I resigned myself to that, and let Vegas take Pysyk.
Los Angeles: Protections were straightforward, but I could not, for the life of me, figure out who would be a worthy draft candidate. Kings fans would love it if Brown were taken, but, um, no. I actually ended up leaving LA for last in my picks while I puzzled it out. Then I noticed that Forbort was having a surprisingly good rookie season, considered whether or not I'd erred in leaving him exposed, decided I hadn't (Doughty and Martinez and Muzzin still get more ATOI), and snatched him up.
Minnesota: I tried, guys, I really did. I left Zucker available because, y'know, Las Vegas native, but he's a winger. I left Haula available 'cause he's a center, but he's also an expiring RFA. But it really came down to who was the best defenseman left unprotected. I went back and forth between Brodin and Dumba several times before opting to go with the more experienced and proven guy, letting Dumba gets picked. This is the team that I figure is most likely to really want to do a Player-Saving Trade other than Pittsburgh.
Montreal: I came like *this* close to picking Desharnais based on the whole "centers are best" approach, but he's a UFA. Byron is younger and having a good season, so he made for the better pick.
Nashville: The protection setup is easy - 4-4-1, no blueline losses here - but drafting was less so. There's two good centers available (Fisher and Ribeiro), but they're both old UFAs that would require 35+ contracts - and Fisher doesn't want to leave Nashville, so he might well just walk and resign with the Preds or retire rather than report. There's also Jarnkrok as an okay C, but he's merely okay and there's higher-quality wingers available in Wilson and Smith. I considered it for a while before just doing the lazy thing and picking Smith.
New Jersey: Do I protect Merrill, or Moore? I couldn't come up with any tiebreakers, so I literally flipped a coin. Moore won the coin toss, so he stays and Merrill goes.
NY Islanders: I gave a lot of consideration to going 4-4 with this team so as to protect De Haan (mostly because of low opinions of guys like Strome and Bailey), but in the end I couldn't find an excuse to give Ladd Not Allowed To Get In The Way status (seriously, that contract is g-dawful) and didn't want to drop one of Lee or Cizikas. So... sorry, De Haan, you're headed to Vegas.
NY Rangers: After LOTS of debate, I finally decided to just go ahead and give Girardi Not Allowed To Get In The Way status, so Klein could be protected. Not that it matters much, because Raanta seems the obvious pick in any case - although I did give some very brief consideration to Grabner.
Ottawa: I allowed Lazar to be exposed and drafted given how his development is going, but there's an opportunity for brinksmanship here if one opts to expose Bobby Ryan instead. I gave that a lot of consideration, but ultimately decided not to on the theory that making a youngish center available would draw attention away from that whole "Methot is exposed" thing. Could be that Methot is picked anyways, but centers are rare, defensemen are plentiful in the expansion draft, and that seemed too good of a reclamation project to pass up. Feel free to disagree vociferously with me here.
Philadelphia: Went with the lazy option because I couldn't think of anything better. Someone could probably do better with this (maybe by picking Manning instead?).
Pittsburgh: Remember that "no player-saving trades allowed" thing? Yeah. Sorry, guys.
San Jose: Was kind of at a loss as to who to pick, so I kind of defaulted to "young defenseman". There may well be better or more sane picks.
St. Louis: My only defense of the Yakupov pick is that he could make an interesting reclamation project, and I needed a minimum number of forwards.
Tampa Bay: I honestly couldn't bring myself to put Callahan in the Not Allowed To Get In The Way category, and that may well be an error on my part. I've just been left with the impression that they still actually care about the guy there. But that's why someone like Namestnikov was left exposed and ultimately picked - Killorn would also have been of interest, but from what I understand Namestnikov is getting more time at C.
Toronto: Protection picks seemed straightforward, but the draft pick was elusive. I went with Corrado for two reasons: 1) defenseman, and 2) everyone keeps swearing up and down that he'd be good If He Just Got His Chance. Perhaps not the best pick.
Vancouver: I gave Sbisa a lot of thought. Really, I did. But he's been so bad for so long that I'm still skeptical, and Vegas needs SOME experience. So I ignored my own rule and picked Hansen.
Washington: Honestly, I went into this assuming from the start I'd pick Grubauer. And then when it came down to picking players, I was thinking Eller at center. But Orlov is too attractive of a piece to pass up.
Winnipeg: No Player-Saving Trades and a desire to keep their top-4 means that both Armia and Dano are exposed; I figured that would be excusable since they're ultimately only losing one.