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Alexander Ovechkin Coming To Vegas… NOT

They did it again, they made him get out of his worn-out lazyboy. Its time again for everyone’s least-favorite uncle, Uncle Sour. Just like his frustration from the Claude Julien and Daryl Sutter to Vegas reactions, the overreaction of a possible Alex Ovechkin to the Golden Knights trade is getting silly. I ask one simple question, does it make sense for Vegas or Washington?

That’s a team (Vegas) that can take anybody. But what are they going to give. That’s the problem, they have nothing to give. If ownership is ready for that, there’s your chance. Here’s your chance and it’s not coming every year. –Renaud Lavoie, Sportsnet

Lavoie suggests the Golden Knights are a open for other team’s trash. The idea of an expansion team taking “anybody” is bad business, especially for the future development of the franchise. The team is blessed with a fresh cap, why would they want to instantly weigh it down with a contract like Ovechkin’s? Lavoie also mentioned Vegas would have nothing to trade back. Which is another reason this deal won’t happen. The organization has plenty to offer but it’s not mortgaging the future for a 31-year-old winger. The former Caps GM was brought to Las Vegas to build a wining franchise long term, not a three-year fading All-Star team.

What other GM in the NHL will be given the leeway to build a roster like McPhee? He knows this and will be patient building a wining franchise. Sending future first-round picks to the Capitals for their HoF sniper is goes against the strategy he’s been preaching since he first got here. Possibly, in a few years when McPhee’s sitting on a potential playoff team Ovechkin could make sense. By then, his contract length will be much more manageable and the price tag on Ovi will have gone way down.

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The Window As An Asset

If there’s been one constant in the Expansion Draft strategy talk throughout the last 11 months it’s the idea of gathering assets. Whether it’s simply selecting a good player, or making a trade to pick a player (or not pick a player) in exchange for draft picks and/or prospects, George McPhee will have the league by the balls for a three day period, and he’s got to make the most of it.

There are tradeable assets all over the Expansion Draft, it’s just a matter of finding the right partner to dance with. Sometimes it’ll be something as obvious as taking a big contract off the hands of a contending team, but other times McPhee and other GMs will have to get creative.

That’s right, the free agent negotiation window that’s still up for debate as to how long it will last… it’s an asset in it of itself.

The Golden Knights have to be a bit careful with these types of deals because they are forbid from buying out any player until the end of the first season. If someone goes back on a deal, things could get really hairy in a hurry. 

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Doubting Any Ilya Kovalchuk To Vegas Rumors

After signing Vadim Shipachyov, GM George McPhee went on to confirm the team was also considering KHL player Evengi Dadonov and now the SKA rumor train continues with the news of Ilya Kovalchuk’s desired return to the NHL.

What does this mean for Vegas? Well he’s a KHL teammate of Shipachyov and he’s a former NHL All-Star. The former New Jersey Devil captain scored a career total of 328 goals and had 816 points in 816 games. Very good numbers for an 11-year period. If the Golden Knights were able to attain Kovalchuk, expect a very dangerous Vegas top line. But what’s the price?

We’re told to expect significant interest in Kovalchuk, who turned 34 this month, from teams that came up a goal-scorer or two shy of competing for the Cup. -Larry Brooks, NY Post

Now obviously Kovalchuk is going to want multi years, or else he’s not coming back. That’s the whole point here – it’s his last shot at a multi-year deal. I’ve got to think despite his age that you’re looking at between $5-6.5 million per year. -Pierre Lebrun, TSN Toronto

McPhee just signed Shipachyov, a 30 year-old center, to a two-year $9M deal. It’s possible they could jump up to $5M per season for Kovalchuk, but that won’t be enough for him to play for an expansion team. From all reports, the former number one overall pick wants to contend for a Stanley Cup. Vegas may be forced to pay the veteran forward more than his bottom price. At that point, the Golden Knights might decide to move on. But wait, there’s even more to the story.

Thus, if the Golden Knights even want to consider Kovalchuk, they’ve got to go through the Devils to do it.

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UFA And RFA Rules Still Not Finalized For Expansion Draft

In 39 days the Vegas Golden Knights will be on the Expansion Draft clock, having 72 hours to make their 30 selections and submit them to the league. The rules of this draft were made public on June 22nd of last year, the day Vegas was granted the franchise, yet still, 11 months later, there’s still confusion over exactly how this is all going to go down.

We get this question a lot so let me quickly summarize how this works, then we will get to what LeBrun is talking about. Hopefully by know you know teams can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie OR eight skaters and a goalie.  Among those nine or 11 can be restricted free agents (RFAs) or unrestricted free agents. If a player is an RFA it means other teams will have the opportunity to offer a player a contract and his current team can then match that contract to keep the player, or let him sign with the other team. Therefore, if an RFA is left exposed in the Expansion Draft, and Vegas selects the player, his current team cannot match the offer. In regards to unrestricted free agents (free to sign with any team on July 1st) there’s only one reason to protect them for the Expansion Draft, to keep Vegas from being able to negotiate with the player before July 1st. It’s not a very good reason, and no one is likely to do it, so expect many RFAs to be protected, and almost no UFAs to be protected. (Any questions? Read this. Still don’t get it, ask in the comments)

Now, to what Pierre is talking about. There’s going to be a moment, at some point in between June 17th and June 20th when free agents are no longer available to the Golden Knights.

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Vadim Shipachyov YouTube Highlight Reel

The excitement of the Golden Knights new player is still fresh in fans minds. Vadim Shipachyov is creating a massive buzz in Las Vegas. Of course, he has no idea what’s going on in his new city because he’s too busy playing hockey. The second Golden Knights player in franchise history is currently padding his stats at the IIHF World Championships in Germany and France. Since, the paint is still dry for Vegas fans, let’s take a look at some of Shippy’s play at World Championships. Number #87 was the second assist man on Artemi Panarin’s PP goal.

Second IIHF WC highlight is Evengi Dadonov on a one-timer. Shipachyov has the initial pass behind the net.

Like I said, the Russians padded their stats yesterday embarrassing Italy 10-1. Ok, now let’s watch some actual highlights. Maybe some ones where he does something rather than just move the puck around and get credit for it.

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Evgeni Dadonov Rumor Roundup

The moment the Golden Knights inked Vadim Shipachyov to a contract, the rumor mill began firing linking Shippy’s linemate for both SKA St. Petersburg and Team Russia, Evgeni Dadonov, to Vegas.

It all started way back in early February when SportsNet’s rockstar first mentioned the pair’s names together.

Hearing there is more than the usual amount of scouting going on with KHL players. That league is considering going with fewer teams next season, so NHL clubs are readying for the possibility of some extra players being available. Just like last year, the bigger names are St. Petersburg’s Evgeny Dadonov (56 points in 48 games) and Vadim Shipachev (68 points in 45 games), but it will cost millions to bring them over. –Elliotte Friedman on 2/1/17

Shipachyov and Dadonov’s names appeared next to each other across most publications over the last few months.

Then once Shippy signed on off Vegas, the Golden Knights instantly became the front runner to sign Dadonov as well.

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The New Golden Knight Is No Joke; Shippy’s Got Star Written All Over Him

Vegas, we’ve got player number two. Well really, #87. Vegas fans by now know Vadim Shipachyov’s KHL stats, skate size, and wife’s name. As Reid Duke is starting to realize, some Golden Knight fans have become proud stalkers.

At $9M for two years, the KHL champion, who we are now fondly calling Shippy, will be expected to score, facilitate, and protect the puck. All while getting accustomed to a new country and a new style of hockey.

At 30-years-old, the SKA St. Petersburg center will get a chance to breakout in Las Vegas like fellow Russians Artemi Panarin and Alexander Radulov did recently in Chicago and Montreal.

In February, we highlighted Rob Vollman’s analysis of Shipachyov’s KHL to NHL conversion statistics.

A Look At The Best Available KHL Free Agents

(Yeah, that’s right, Shippy’s name was on SinBin.vegas in February. Suck it Granger!) (Disclaimer: We really like Jesse Granger.)

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Golden Knights Have Another Player; Sign KHL’s Vadim Shipachyov

Reid Duke, you’ve got company, and it’s in the form of a SKA St. Petersburg’s Vadim Shipachyov. The 30 year old forward was signed to a two year deal worth $4.5M per year.

Vadim is a highly skilled playmaker who has had an impressive career in the Kontinental Hockey League. He has won two KHL championships, has been among the league leaders in scoring the last two seasons and has enjoyed success at the international level for Team Russia. We believe he can be an impact player in the NHL. -George McPhee in Press Release

Shipachyov (pronounced SHIP-ah-shoff) is 6’1″ 190 pounds and tallied 76 points in 50 games, including 26 goals.

(Photo courtesy of Vegas Golden Knights)

Shipachyov has been in the KHL since 2011 and his team has reached the playoffs in each of his seven seasons. His production did not drop in postseason play in Russia at all. In fact, in 107 playoff games, he scored 33 goals and had 97 points.

At the international level, he has played Team Russia on three previous occasions at the IIHF World Championships during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 tournaments. He won a gold medal in 2014, silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016 where he led the entire tournament in scoring and assists with 18 points on six goals and 12 assists. He also played for Russia during the recent 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. -Press Release

According to Eric Engles, the Montreal Canadiens were interested in Shipachyov last season, but a clause in his contract kept him in the KHL.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #63: Gary Lawless

The new Vegas Golden Knights insider, Gary Lawless, joins us in studio for an hour. Then we recap the last two interviews with Lawless and Nehme Abouzeid. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • How Gary got the gig.
  • How being paid by the team affects his storytelling of the Golden Knights.
  • Matthews vs. Laine and who the Jets should protect in the Expansion Draft.
  • Recapping what we learned about marketing from Podcast 62
  • The hit on Crosby.

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #62: Nehme Abouzeid

We are pleased to be joined by Chief Marketing Officer, Nehme Abouzeid. This is about as in depth as you can possibly go on the Vegas Golden Knights marketing plan. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • How will things change marketing wise when the team has players to market?
  • How important is the team’s success going to be on the long term success of the marketing plan?
  • There actually is a marketing budget despite what the world thinks of The Creator’s pocketbook.
  • What’s coming up for the Golden Knights?
  • Experiencial marketing, what is it how are the Golden Knights expecting to use it?

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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**Huge thank you to Nehme for graciously coming on the podcast, staying for over two hours, and not backing away from any questions we asked**

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