As the excitement builds for fans, the reality of training camp means tough decisions for the Golden Knights. It’s no secret, the defensive logjam will create headaches for the organization. Early last week, GM George McPhee told us the team is hoping to get down to eight defensemen.
I think, we would ideally carry eight. We have a good crop and defensemen are hard to come by. And we’ll have to see they all fit together.- George McPhee
One defenseman that could be the answer to McPhee’s conundrum is veteran Luca Sbisa. A deal could help the organization get down to eight defensemen, and who knows, maybe McPhee can squeeze out another team’s draft pick.
Sbisa, in my opinion, is one of the most attractive defensemen on the market. At this time of year, NHL clubs are looking for players that are reliable and under limited contracts. The Swiss defenseman played 82 games last season and has one-year left, at $3.6 million. A reasonable contract for contending teams looking for blueline help. To compare his salary, here are other defenders paid around the same per season.
Braydon Coburn TB $3.7M
32YO/ 6’5/ Left/ 778GP/ 43Pts/ +37
Last 3 Seasons: 203GP/ 33Pts/ +13
Mark Fayne EDM $3.6M
30YO/ 6’3/ Right/ 389GP/ 65Pts/ -19
Last 3: 147GP/ 17Pts/ -26
Luca Sbisa VGK $3.6M
27YO/ 6’2/ Left/ 465GP/ 88Pts/ -27
Last 3: 199GP/ 32Pts/ -4
Michael Stone CAL $3.5M
27YO/ 6’3/ Right/ 343GP/ 102Pts/ -35
Last 3: 220GP/ 69Pts/ -34
Erik Gudbranson VAN $3.5M
25YO/ 6’5/ Right/ 339GP/ / -63
Last 3: 170GP/ 28Pts/ -15
Radko Gudas PHI $3.3M
27YO/ 6’0/ Right/ 269GP/ +69
Last 3: 174GP/ 42Pts/ +/- 0
Brenden Dillon SJS $3.2M
26YO/ 6’4/ Left/ 366GP/ 56Pts/ +3
Last 3: 137GP/ 31Pts/ -7
Clayton Stoner VGK $3.2M
32YO/ 6’4/ Left/ 360GP/ 48Pts/ +5
Last 3: 133GP/ 16Pts/ +2
Now, all Vegas needs is a suitor. Since the GM mentioned ‘ideally carrying eight’ NHL defenseman, I examined teams with eight or less. A few teams at the limit, like Montreal, are reportedly unhappy about their overall roster.
Teams with 8 Defensemen; Boston, Buffalo, Dallas, Montreal, New York Rangers, Vancouver
Teams with 7 Defensemen; Arizona, Calgary, Carolina, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto
Teams with 6 Defensemen; Florida, Minnesota, New York Islanders, San Jose, Tampa Bay
Teams with 5 Defensemen; Chicago, Colorado, Philadelphia
Will it be tough moving Sbisa’s $3.6M before the start of the season? Absolutely. It could be the only reason a deal doesn’t happen. Contenders may look at VGK blueliners but wait for the deadline to add salary. However, there is a market for defensemen now, and the Golden Knights will listen to every offer. Just as long as a draft pick is included.