Via Larry Brooks, new info has leaked regarding the league's planned expansion: Vegas is allegedly certain to get a team in 2017--and the league is going to make teams protect players with no-movement clauses.
Second, Slap Shots has learned that rules for the 2017 expansion draft that will precede Las Vegas’ anticipated 2017-18 admission to the league as its 31st franchise ("Done deal," we’re told), will compel teams to protect players with no-move clauses even if they or the contracts themselves expire at the end of 2016-17.
This means if the expansion draft is held, say, on June 21, 2017, teams will be obligated to protect players who, a) would become unrestricted free agents 10 days later; or, b) would be able to be waived or traded 10 days later.
The impact of this rule is still unclear--namely, the impact of players' waiving or having waived NMCs--but the Leafs do have one player on their roster with a no-movement clause: Nathan Horton. Horton presumably waived his NMC when he came to the Leafs, and might be willing to do so again. Further, his clause is exactly the kind discussed in the second paragraph; it downgrades to a no-trade clause in July 2017, meaning the Leafs would be honouring a novel interpretation of a useless contract clause in the last month of its life. If the Leafs were forced to protect Horton--a player Las Vegas would obviously not be interested in acquiring--and then expose an active player, it'd be a frustrating twist for the team. More to come when more is known.