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5 GM Do-Agains We Wish The Golden Knights Could Make

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We started out with the do-overs, moves made by the Golden Knights we wished could be redone. Today, we’re flipping the script and looking at some of the best moves in team history. These are moves that unequivocally advanced the roster and have made the Golden Knights much better.

Note: This is all post-Expansion Draft, otherwise it would have just been an Expansion Draft recap article.

Here we go…

5) Trading Colin Miller for a 2nd and a 5th

Even though the Golden Knights have never truly replaced Miller, especially on the power play, the value they were able to get out of a player who was a healthy scratch in a VGK playoff game is immense. Miller has simply not been the same player in Buffalo, amassing just 23 points in two seasons where he had 41 and 29 in each of his two seasons in Vegas.

Miller’s contract looked decent at the time but it’s now headed towards a pretty significant overpay for his performance. It’s hard to say where he’d be in his career had this trade never happened, which is why it’s not higher on this list, but the return on investment Vegas got for the player who has been in Buffalo is excellent.

4) Trading Cody Eakin for a 4th

Heading into the 2020 Trade Deadline the Golden Knights were pushing up against the cap pretty hard. After they acquired Alec Martinez (the move that would land #6 on this list), they needed to move salary out if they wanted to add anyone else. Eakin was having an abysmal year and his contract was fairly large, nearing $4 million. It was a bit surprising Vegas was even able to find a suitor at all, let alone getting something back in return and not having to retain any salary.

The Winnipeg Jets have been a godsend to the Golden Knights on multiple occasions, but none have been as helpful as this one.

3) Claiming Ryan Carpenter on waivers

When Ryan Carpenter was first claimed from the San Jose Sharks not many thought much of it. A player who was in and out of the lineup and struggled to generate much offense, Carpenter was expected to become a depth piece to a Golden Knights team that was starting to look legitimate.

Carpenter was claimed on December 13th but didn’t see game action in a Golden Knights jersey until January 5th. That’s because the Golden Knights couldn’t stop winning. Finally, when he got in there, it took him almost no time to start making an impact. He scored six goals in his first 14 games and quickly became a reliable penalty killer.

Over time, Carpenter would work his way into the everyday lineup and was one of Gerard Gallant’s most trusted players.

2) Acquiring Chandler Stephenson for a 5th

Less than a year after winning the Stanley Cup, it appeared Stephenson was headed for waivers and was likely to be claimed. Before he got there though, the Golden Knights swooped in and snatched him up for a measly 5th round pick. He instantly fit in, scoring in his very first game. Three games later he was placed on a line with Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty.

He would bounce around the lineup for the next few months but when the playoffs came around in the bubble, it became clear he’d risen to the second-best center on the team.

Imagine the Golden Knights without Stephenson now… and they got him for just a 5th round pick.

1) Acquiring Mark Stone for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, and a 2nd

Every once in a while there’s a player on the market that due to circumstance is grossly underpriced in trade value. That was the case with Stone as he was seemingly unlikely to re-sign in Ottawa and the Senators knew it. Thus, not only did they engage in trade talks with Vegas, they also allowed for contract negotiations as well.

When the deal was done, the Golden Knights got Stone and they had already worked out a mega-contract to keep him in Vegas through 2027.

Brannstrom can’t seem to stick in the NHL and Lindberg isn’t even in the league at all anymore. The deal looked incredible at the time and it’s aged like a wheel of parmesan cheese. It’s likely that if we make this same list 20 years from now, this trade will still be #1.

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  1. Tim

    Good list Ken one more I hope works out is Janmark. I think 2 seconds was a little high but with training camp and his time last year with the Knights I think we all feel he has potential but he may exceed our expectations which would be another good move management made. If Patrick or Howden turn out to be something the boo birds me included would be pleasantly surprised.

  2. Daryl

    As for #1, you were a little unfair or a little too harsh…. Can we really judge a player on the Buffalo team? I understand needing the Cap space and they trade but it’s possible it could be a wash on the trade. I guess it depends on how the #2 pick works out

  3. Richard Santomauro

    Mark Stone is a solid player and Captain, but his value plummeted to the cellar against Montreal. He’s got a lot of making up to do this coming season for that total collapse in the semi-finals.

  4. sb

    More good moves ……… wisely not resigning James Neal. Moving Haula’s contract (too much money for declining production/injuries). Somehow, miraculously, trading Stastny and his $6.5 mil contract with no $$ retained and getting a draft choice. Moving Reaves, no $$ retained AND getting a draft choice! Moving MAF’s contract, no $$ retained. Then, all the bartering/highway robbery McPhee pulled off before and just after the Expansion Draft. If you were to look back over the past four years, McPhee and McCrimmon have been the most successful MGT Team in the NHL in the initial build and then rebuilding a hockey team. No MGT team – Tampa’s a close second – has been as successful as these guys since 2017. All home runs? No. But these two guys are at the top of the NHL. The VGK’s are the most successful 4 year expansion team in the history of N. American sports. And thank you, Mr. Foley. You brought a world-class hockey team to Las Vegas where the experts said hockey would never make it. Foley invested $1 billion building the NHL team, bought an AHL team, built two practice facilities and one new AHL arena – in four short years. No one, no NHL Owner, has ever accomplished what Bill Foley has in such a short period of time. But shamefully, way too many commentors on this site bad mouthing McPhee, McCrimmon and Foley. You could be in Buffalo. Such little gratitude to Mr. Foley. Shameful.

    • Richard Santomauro

      Wow, how much M&M paying you?

    • Daryl

      Neal is questionable… you have to take into consideration who he is playing alongside. I think Neal would have done pretty good planted in front of the net. I wouldn’t say that was a good move.

      As for Stastny, Haula, and Reaves… where did those big contracts come from. You can’t say these are positives when management made them a negative to begin with. I can’t believe Management gave Reaves an extension and pay raise to begin with. This draft pick they got for Reaves will probably never see the inside of an NHL arena.

      As for MAF contract, they could have waited one more year and would of had the best goalie, soon to be backup goalie, for the best price ever!!! They got rid of him and his contract then spent the money on what could be duds or at the very best above average players. The positive is they freed up the cap space, the bigger negative is they wasted that cap space money.

      As for VGK being the best 4 year expansion team in NA history, while you are 100% correct, remember this is the FIRST time there was ever an expansion draft like the one they had. If Seattle comes out and does even half as good as VGK did, it will greatly diminish what VGK did…. mostly b/c other teams really had no idea who things would work out the first time around but now teams are better prepared for the 2nd time around.

    • SMH

      sb – Thank you, thank you, thank you for expressing what the quiet majority who visit this site on a frequent basis think. I could not be prouder of the VGK franchise, and have loved every minute of being a season ticket holder. As with most comments boards, it is the miserable haters who do the majority of the posting, and never veer from their “everything is awful” point of view. I think that these losers pray that the team is not successful so that they can bitch and whine ad nauseam, which perhaps makes them feel better about their own lives. Anyway, thank you for the best post ever! (and of course, I see that one of the miserable haters – who also had to diss our best player Mark Stone in comments about an article concerning positive moves by the front office – already had to send his sarcastic response to your “glass is half full” comments. Hopefully that guy and a few others will jump off a building and end their own misery!)

      • knights fan in minny


      • Richard Santomauro

        Another one probably on the payroll of McPhee & McCrimmon.

        Look, I live here in Vegas and I am a season ticket holder. I admit, I don’t like the moves. Period. It isn’t that I don’t support the team. I hope I am dead wrong and that all of the moves this front office makes eventually pays off.

        As far as Mark Stone goes. He’s a great player and leader. He simply did not produce against Montreal. Period. That’s not my opinion. It is a fact. I am sure that Mark Stone himself would agree that he didn’t produce.

        Either way, I am on the record. That’s it. So, stop the drama. I know that there are others who see things differently. That’s your right to do so and I respect it. Don’t ask others to jump off a building because they disagree with you.

      • Daryl

        Talk about someone being a loser!!!!! Calling others losers simply b/c they don’t agree with your point of view? Hoping others kill themselves? You gotta love the online tough guys who like to call others names!!!

    • Well said sb. Always the voice of reason!

  5. Vic

    RIP #7 Rod Gilbert

  6. Tim

    It’s a new year so why don’t we see how training camp goes before anyone gets to critical. I’m interested to see how Krebs, Patrick, Janmark, and maybe this Howden kid fit in. We know our D with Martinez, Petro, McNabb, Theadore, Whitecloud, and Hague will be solid. Will Coghlan make the team? Any other D man prospects have a chance to make the team? We’ve got a shitload of forwards how will the lines play out? Exciting time of the year and I can’t wait for training camp to start.

    • Richard Santomauro

      No one is criticizing the 2021-2022 performance. We’ve criticized the front office moves of the past as well as recognized the good ones.

      Save the criticism for January 2022. We’ll have a much better idea as to how things are playing out then.

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