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2021 Free Agency Targets

It’s July 1st, happy free agency day!

What?… It is?… Tampa hasn’t won yet?………. July 28th!?!

As it turns out, free agency day is still four weeks away, but today is still July 1st, so we’ll keep with tradition and focus on who the Golden Knights could potentially be going after when the time comes later in the month.

Here are five pending unrestricted free agents that could make sense to ink contracts and don shiny gold jerseys on the Strip next season.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Alexander Wennberg
Center, Florida Panthers

The long-time Columbus Blue Jacket took a one-year “prove it” deal with the Panthers last summer and proved he’s a good player but not one that should completely break the bank. He scored 17 goals while playing all 56 games and added one more in Florida’s short playoff run.

He’s a defensively responsible center that could certainly thrive a bit more being put in a role where he’s playing with a guy like Alex Tuch. A few years ago Wennberg racked up 59 points including 21 power-play assists.

Oh, and he’s very good friends with William Karlsson.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Blake Coleman
Center, Tampa Bay Lightning

This one might get a little on the expensive side as he’s likely going to be heading into free agency with his name being engraved on the Cup in back-to-back years, but he’s the perfect fit for what the Golden Knights are looking for. A center who has previously received Selke votes while scoring goals at a consistent clip.

Coleman has scored 22, 21, and 14 goals in the past three seasons, two of which were shorter than 82 games. He’s proven to be just as good, if not better, in the postseason and if he came to Vegas he’d be a power-play option as well.

Did you see that goal last night? Tell me the Golden Knights couldn’t have used that in their series against Montreal.

Brock McGinn
Left Wing, Carolina Hurricanes

McGinn would hopefully be the answer to the Golden Knights’ inability to score in close. He’s a gritty type player that is not afraid to go to the hard area in front of the goal. His goal-scoring numbers had been heading in the wrong direction until this season when he put up eight in 37 games, translating to 18 in a full season. He then went on to score three more in the playoffs.

I’d imagine the Hurricanes would want to hang on to him, but with the Expansion Draft prior to free agency they might leave him unprotected to save someone else. VGK could do some maneuvering to get Seattle to “pick” him and then have him sign the deal with Vegas.

He’s coming off a $2.1 million AAV deal but he’s hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time. That number could easily double, but the fit might be too good for the Golden Knights to pass up.

Michael Bunting
Left Wing, Arizona Coyotes

You may remember the name as a Golden Knights fan as he’s scored on Vegas twice in April 2021. Bunting is not exactly a household name across the league though as he’s played just 26 games in his NHL career. However, he’s a good two-way player who has scored at every level he’s played at.

Bunting is set to become a Group 6 UFA which means he hasn’t played enough to remain a restricted free agent. It’s certainly possible the Coyotes re-sign him before he ever makes it to July 28th, but if he does, he could be a nice cheap option for the Golden Knights.

Sam Gagner
Center, Detroit Red Wings

Gagner is certainly a bit long in the tooth (he’ll be 32 when the season begins), but he’s the type of player the Golden Knights were missing this season. He’s a smaller player but has excellent hands and a great ability to get creative in the offensive zone. He has bounced around quite a bit the past few seasons, playing on seven different teams including multiple stints with Edmonton since 2014.

Early in his career, Gagner was a point producer but that has fallen off a bit in some of the recent stops. The ability to put up points is definitely still in him as evidenced by his 50 point campaign in 2016-17 with Columbus. He’s defensively responsible and could potentially open up the Golden Knights forward group by moving anywhere inside of the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th lines.

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35 Comments

  1. Richard Santomauro

    Wennberg is the sensible selection out of the bunch.

  2. Ken – glad to read your not on the JE kick. Vegas doesn’t need another health issue of one kind or another. They need to figure out how to get out of the 4 yr 5 mill remaining problem they have. I noticed you didn’t explain where they will get the $$$ as cap isn’t changing. Who goes in your opinion? Can they unload Reaves, Glass etc.

    • Reaves should go but I don’t think he will. I think most of the extra money this summer comes from not re-signing Martinez, as sad as that will be.

      • Daryl

        The FO and the HC really like Reaves for some reason

        • Can’t imagine why they like Reaves all is does is take the place of someone useful on the bench. They need to reduce their liabilities not hang on to them.

        • The HC doesn’t. They need to keep and play Reeves. This year and last year against Dallas, as Reeves minutes diminished, so did Vegas’s productivity. He gives them an intensity level that’s was lacking in both those series. Like my daughter said after going to game 5 in Vegas. ” Where’s the hitting?”

          • Gary- in all do respect Reaves adds nothing and has little to no effect on productivity- in fact what would have anyone believe his presences gives the team any intensity. Their lack of physicality has zero to do with Reaves what is missing is winning attitude which provides the desire to do what’s necessary to win at all cost which includes hitting, net presence etc. What they need is a coach to demand that. Reaves is a joke, can hardly skate and get out of his own way. His days are past and isn’t the tuff guysome people believe. Your daughter is correct there is no body checks etc and that is a major downfall of the team.

          • Jeff

            VGK does not have the heart of a champion. Your daughter is right…there was no hitting. This team cashed it in after Colorado. This is at least the second year in a row that they lacked the attitude and intensity to compete at the highest level. You have to look at Stone and Patches. They both crash and burn in the semi finals. Do they choke or what. When the competition increases they disappear.

          • Daryl

            One player making hits isn’t going to change anything, esoe silly when he puts himself out of position to make those hits. Reaves is one player VGK needs to get rid of

      • Huge mistake if they don’t re- sign Martinez. He is one and there are not many bright spots vegas has.

        • Daryl

          While I completely agree, I don’t think they will. Thanks to the deal given to Petra and with how much Martinez out performed him, he believes, and rightfully so, to have a better contract

          • I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes to Detroit on a 4 year 6m deal to finish his career in his home state.

        • Wes

          Martinez is like gold for Vegas. He’s a very smart player who knows where to play as a play develops. Kolesar needs to polish his offensive skills. He doesn’t move well with the puck. If he picks up a second opertunity shot he can score. Reaves better days are done when he’s on the ice he appears to be lost. Pair Stevenson, Tuch, and Pacheretti on a second line and put Stone up with Karlsson and Marchessault.

  3. Daryl

    Wennberg or Coleman would be geaat additions

  4. Mike StG

    Wennberg sounds like a possibility, but he has had only 1 decent season. There’s a reason CBJ traded him. I’d prefer a Jarnkrok for Lehner trade. Good 2-way center, scoring ability. Can play up and down the lineup. And, Preds could probably use Lehner in a 1A/1B tandem since Pekka will likely retire and Saros has been inconsistent.

  5. Patrick Diab

    Wennberg is so good he doesn’t even need a stick!

  6. Tim

    As I said before go big or go home Leon Draisitl or bust. Anyone that once traded The Great One won’t be shocked if he gets traded. 8.5 through 2025 about 80 to 100 points a year works for me. Alex Wennberg 29 points doesn’t get me to excited. We need game changers like Tampa they’ve got a corner on game the changer market. Chances of making it to the Stanley cup next year with our track record isn’t going to work the way the team is set up now. Lets say by some miracle we make it to the finals do you really think with there firepower and the best goalie in the world that we’d have a chance with Wennberg come on take a reality check.

    • With what money?

      • Tim

        Jeff not sure if you were talking to me but if so. I think it’s a given Fleury is gone that’s 7 million. How do you think Draisitl, Patch, and Stone would on one line. Third line Stephenson, Tuch, and Krebs. Fourth line Roy and the next best two of the remaining non-producing players. Kolesar, Carrier, Nosek, Glass etc couldn’t score if there life depended on it. Actually I think Patrick Brown may be the best of the bunch.

        • Jeff M.

          $7m doesn’t get us to $8.5m tho. And signing Draisitl means we do nothing to improve anywhere else. We also lose Martinez, which is not exactly optimal. I’m just not sure a third guy making $8m+ is the answer.

          • Tim

            Jeff We need to score goals in the playoffs I know it’s a pipe dream but I like to dream. If you want Martinez we can always shed money to keep him but turning 34 this month and he’s looking for a raise and term I can’t do that. We’ll have half the team looking for there social security check the second Wednesday of each month.

  7. the hockey God

    kings making a move

    to make playoffs with has been, from rotoworld

    VIKTOR ARVIDSSON
    RW, LOS ANGELES KINGS

    Los Angeles has acquired Viktor Arvidsson from Nashville in exchange for a pair of draft picks.
    The Predators obtained Los Angeles’ second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and Los Angeles’ third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. “We want to thank Viktor for all he did to propel our organization forward during his time with the Predators,” Predators GM David Poile said. “His work ethic, tenacity and goal-scoring ability – as shown by his franchise single-season record of 34 goals during the 2018-19 season – made him a key part of our teams that reached the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, won the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy and earned back-to-back Central Division titles. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward in Los Angeles.”

    • Richard Santomauro

      Arvidsson is a veteran of 7 years, best production is behind him in 2016 & 2017. At best a 3rd liner now. Production has fallen off since 2018.

      • the hockey God

        yes has been

        predictors expected to dump some more

        let’s see who , when , what , why, and how much

        • Richard Santomauro

          Jarnkrok or Haula might be a good trade for Lehner. Nashville could use a better goalie.

          • Mike StG

            Jarnkrok for Lehner. But Haula just sign, since he is UFA.

    • Mike StG

      That means Athanasiou will be a FA. Super fast, 40-50 pt player, listed as C but more a winger. Biggest issue is he’s not a good defensive player, so not likely to be on VGK radar.

      • the hockey God

        AA ex red wing, not a very good player at all

        ex red wing, say no more. he;s fast, but typical fast red wing like paul woods, derek helm. All wheels.

  8. the hockey God

    Elliotte Friedman
    @FriedgeHNIC
    ·
    Jun 30
    There are rumblings Chicago is working on a potential Duncan Keith trade to either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada. Word is Keith and team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go. We will see where this goes.

  9. Gary

    All this talk about JE is ridiculous. 10 million a year for a guy coming off an injury? No thanks. Spread that money around and give me Coleman and Brandon Saad

  10. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Get rid of Fleury and Theo.

    Add a tuff forward and a physical Dman.

    Panda & Lefty can handle the net.

    Isn’t this BS fun! ha ha

  11. Todd

    I noticed this the past 3 years. In the playoffs the knights very rarely stay around the front of the net….big problem. Patch needs to show up in the playoffs. He’s always hurt. Move on. Fancy plays work in season not in playoffs.

  12. Texasheart

    Martinez is crucial for us. He saves the day time after time, he goes in when no one else is around to do the job and it will be a huge mistake to let him go.

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