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Can Vegas Find A Friend in New Jersey?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights are opposites in every which way. They both play on different coasts, the Golden Knights are built to win right now, and the Devils are way under the cap. However, the Devils are a team that may end up being one of the busiest clubs of the offseason. Sure, they’re interested in building a roster and spending money on the open market but 31 other teams might bring it directly to them. Including the Golden Knights.

We’ve talked about the Vegas goaltending and I think Lehner is the guy they’re kind of looking at. Fleury’s got one more year, who knows what he’s going to be looking at in a year. Lehner’s got some term. That one makes a bit of sense for me for Jersey. –Elliotte Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

Based on consistent comments by the organization it’s unlikely Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner gets dealt but it’s interesting to hear that there is a market.

I do think they legitimately want to improve. I don’t think for them this is simply going to be about eating deals to help out other teams. I think they want functionality. –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

The Devils like their young goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood but by no means are they solidified in net. Clearly, if New Jersey traded for the Golden Knights secondary starter it would be a major upgrade. So what would Vegas get out of the deal?

With $31.5M in cap room the Devils are in a position to act like an old chum to financially strapped teams. As Friedman explains New Jersey wants to get better but is willing to take advantage of cap-strapped teams looking for a bailout.

Would it hurt the Golden Knights organization if they were to pay a high tax (picks, prospects) to unload $5M in flexibility? Of course, but it depends on what the end result is. Without Lehner the goalie tandem wouldn’t be the best in the NHL, but one of the best teams in the NHL became $5M more dangerous in the playoffs. With a creative front office like the Golden Knights have, anything is possible with that amount of cap room.

The definite feeling about the Golden Knights is they want to open up some cap room. The Devils can do that, they can take advantage of that. I don’t think it’s simply going to be ‘Hey, we’re going to use our cap space to help other people get out of theirs.’ I think it’s ‘Hey, we’re going to use our cap space and if you want us to take some one you may have to pay us.’ –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

The Devils aren’t just useful to the Golden Knights by helping them unload a goaltender but they could take on other contracts as well. It just depends on how badly Vegas wants to shed salary and get out of cap stress.

Previous Podcast #239: Fear Of Kraken


Comparing Vegas To Seattle’s Expansion Draft Haul


  1. Richard Santomauro

    Doesn’t Panda have a no move clause or at least on some teams?

    • THE hockey GOD

      yes , i don’t see him going from winning team to a losing team.

      Jersey ????

      come on

      MAN !

      PS unless he likes to eat some of best pizza in the world on east coast.

      one bite

      everybody knows the rules .

      • Richard Santomauro

        I’m from north Jersey myself originally. Great pizza there and in NYC.

        My bet is we will be seeing both #29 and #90 this coming year.

        • THE hockey GOD

          really ?

          then you know what I am talkin’ about when I say one bite

          everyone knows the rules- the bar stool guy.

          PS it’s still sauce, not sunday gravy (not going there)

      • Tom Fitzgerald

        To call NJ a team on the rise is an understatement. They aren’t current contenders, but in 2-3 years they should be. They are loaded with young top 5 draft talent and are a couple of players away from being a very good team. The notion that the Devils are basement dwellers is outdated.

  2. Tim

    Everyone can guess what the Knights will do but the reality is we know zip. By August 1 we should have a better idea of what the team will look like. This is always an exciting time in hockey. I trust the Splash Brothers to do the right thing for the team. I know there’s people who want to fire everyone but the reality is management has given us not a great but a very good team playing in a not so great division have basically dominated for the last 4 years. Looks like year 5 will be more of the same what’s to complain about not winning the Stanley Cup if your life depends on that your in trouble. I enjoy watching the games seeing how the new guys are progressing checking out the AHL Silver Knights looking forward to our new state of the art AHL arena. We’ve got a lot going for us and lucky to have the owner, management team and coaching staff we have. So tell me why all the negativity because of the stupid Cup which old school teams like Toronto haven’t won since 1967. How many of you were alive the last time the Maple Leafs won? Enjoy our team were lucky to have them and if a Cup falls our way fine if not life will go on.

    • THE hockey GOD

      they won and had a d man play with a busted wheel

    • Vegas Pete

      I don’t really post much on here because of so much negativity, but I just had to commend what you just said. I couldn’t have said it any better. We need to appreciate an organization that wants to win rear in and year out. You can not say that for half the teams in this league.

    • Daryl

      As you said VGK is a good, not great team. Playing in the worst division definitely helps but they still have to go out and win the games. My issue is who they lose to. I still believe COL was the better team and they lost b/c they shot themselves. If VGK hadoat to them I could understand. But we lost to a team that wasn’t as good as us. Two years in a row we lost to teams we shouldn’t have. We didn’t make very many adjustments in those games. We committed the same mistakes over and over again. I’m not upset VGK didn’t win the Cup as I didn’t think they really had a legitimate shot. It’s just frustrating to watch them. Lose in the manner that they have. Some of the blame is on the players, but I put most of the blame on the coaches and GMs. Coaches aren’t making the right adjustments and the GMs aren’t getting the needed players. You don’t go after the best available player, you go after the best available player that your team needs.

    • DOC (Go Knights Go)

      1000% agree Tim!

  3. Willy Andara

    Is Lehner really a cap dump now? Thats hard to believe, his contract isn’t that bad. He’s a number one goalie on at least half the teams. Fleury played at a Vezina level last year to get the job, it’s not like Lehner played himself out of it.

    It does make sense in a way though considering a few big names like Grubauer and Andersen are finding a very soft market. Plus the Driedger deal seems really cheap to me considering what he did last year. I could see teams like the Avs or Leafs circling back to a guy like Lehner.

    • Daryl

      Lehner is a #1 goalie on about half the NHL teams but it’s mostly the bottom half and he should be getting paid similarly. I could Lehner getting around 3.5 tops but closer to the 3.1-3.4 range. I could see him as a cap dump simply because of having 2 goalies. I don’t his salary is all too high at least for VGK when you consider what they are willing to pay players like Reaves and Holden

  4. trade

    the Seattle Cheapskates….. they bypassed all the available talent that had big contracts, both in the draft, and in UFA status, (Price, Hamilton, Tarasenko, Landeskog, Duchene, Voracek etc) and took minor league jokes like John Quenville and Morgan Geekie etc

    sure, they will have plenty of cap room, and they may
    eventually be a decent team in a few years. BUT, if you are a Seattle season ticket holder, and you are paying top dollar for tickets, and the team that just paid $650 mill for the franchise now is going cheap on payroll to basically ice a minor league team. they will need some vets to reach the floor of the cap rules. maybe an opportunity to dump cap space here.

    also, the reports are that they will select Colin Blackwell from the NY Rangers, then trade Blackwell along with dman Mark Giordano to the rangers, but the return is not yet known, maybe Buchnevich?

  5. Logan Thompson ??? He’s the X factor here. Does The McGM’s like him. If they do, they should clear Cap space by dealing Lehner, we could pick up the winning piece’s. We are so close. Martinez ??? We could resign that game as they come bad boy, he is needed. Even with a bad wheel, nobody played as good as he did. Petro and Martinez are a terrific duo, they both stepped up ! I trust our management, we really are spoiled here, we are what observers call a perennial power, we are always knocking at the door. Even in our 4 years teams have come and gone and we are still an elite franchise, let’s try to remember that. I mean, we are not San Jose, our former rival are cream puffs now.

  6. Tim

    I’m a little surprised and disappointed that we already know there picks it kind of takes out the suspense. It’s going to be interesting no big contracts were taken so some teams are stuck. You know the Splash Brothers they’ll be like buzzards hovering over a dead carcass squeezing some owner for a deal. The way it looks Seattle isn’t going to be close to our expansion team in talent. There D-Core is good but there forwards and centers need improvement. Going to be a fun week.

    • THE hockey GOD

      i am afraid the time to makes deals for VGK has passed, word on street is FRANCIS was playing hard ball. Demanding too much. Teams that got fleeced last time were snake bitten.

      We’ll see what shakes out, but don’t be too disappointed if all vGk got were two has been centers, or I should say wanna be centers.

      But let’s wait and see if the Drunken , I mean Kraken , got a trove of draft picks and prospects that the VGK pulled off in their expansion draft , I doubt it. IT seems that they were saving up a lot of CAP SPACE to sign some free agents. They drafted a few 3 line people, and a bunch of big slow d men (That will clog up the lane and give a team like VGK fits). Seems like they drafted to smite the VGK play style.

  7. Mike StG

    On the Kraken – good D corps. Francis kept his powder dry and has loads of cap room. Looks like he preferred to use that for trades and UFAs where he could decide the terms and cost, not just accepting draft players with undesirable contracts. Stand by for Kraken moves to fill out the offense with high quality forwards.

    On NJ – if Vegas can trade Lehner for either Andreas Johnsson, Jesper Bratt or Pavel Zacha they’ll add a young, potent scorer. That should complement other adds to the bottom 6, and help balance out the scoring threat across the 4 lines.

    • Tom Fitzgerald

      You’re not getting Jesper Bratt. He’s a key piece to the Devils’ top line.

      • Mike StG

        That’s fine. I’d take any of Zacha, Miles Wood or Johnsson. They exposed Johnsson so maybe he’s the guy. I like him and think he’s got a high ceiling if he’s on the right team.

  8. trade

    VGK opening game on Oct 12 at T-Mobile vs the Seattle Kraken

    with their great star players Gavin Bayreuther, Carsen Twarynski, and Alexander True….household names. hell even their momma don’t recognize them.

    mark it down right now. the Knights will start the new season with a big WIN.

    • trade

      Jesse Granger —
      Opening odds for the Golden Knights-Kraken game, via @golfodds at @SuperBookSports — Seattle +245 Vegas -280 Total goals: 5.5 Over +110 Under -130 Puck line: Seattle +1.5 -110 Vegas -1.5 -110

  9. trade

    Seattle Kraken made ZERO expansion draft trades. Vegas Golden Knights made 10.

    league GM’s said the asking price is way too high from Francis.

    • THE hockey GOD

      yes we will find out for sure today at around 1pm EST when NHL restriction is released. Ron Francis admitted as much, if that was case, then he was inflexible in his dealings combined with GMs around the leagure learning last time around.

      If true, then VGK is the BIG WINNER here on several levels:
      1) all their main competitors lost a piece of their team. Both AVS and WILD lost good players. Everyone else lost a player, as you know. This can only help VGK
      2) competing against KRAKEN, VGK is big winner because if true, FRANCIS could not build up future draft picks and build depth.
      3) makes the VGK fan base more appreciative of the ingenuity GMGM brought back in VGK expansion draft. Downside is that GMs around league are now a bit more wary. But the Suzuki and Tatar deals brought him down a notch or two. It is good to know VGK Management is respected throughout the league. That can only be a good thing for future of this franchise.

  10. Vic

    Pretty boring without some wheeling and dealing after the VGK fleeced some teams 4 years back. Of course the team will do some deals. The highlight…..Nice sweaters. The lowlights…leaking the picks, Bettman calling the arena ‘Climate Change’ Arena, Beast Mode Lynch proving what an Oakland education can do, and listening to the ESPN guys.

  11. vgk21

    Vgk division is actually weaker this coming season.

    take out Avs, Minn and Blues

    and replace them with Flames, Canucks, and Edm

    plus, take out Coyotes and add a weaker Seattle expansion team

    • THE hockey GOD

      based upon geographics, i.e. location of cities, they should have left Coyotes and Avs in division
      and not put in flames and oilers, makes for more traveling. Coyotes get the worst of it.

  12. Mike StG

    Interesting possibilities with trades.

    Blais traded today from STL to NYR. Seravelli reporting NYR interested in Reaves. Wonder if NYR flip Blais to Vegas for Reaves?

    Seems like Lehner to NJ is still a possibility, would think a young forward might be the return (Zacha, Bratt, Wood).

    Hope Marty re-signs but if not Suter and Savard are possible veteran replacements, among others. Likely a savings.

  13. Mike StG

    Also, Kessel at about 3.5M 1 yr. still available. Scoring and PP improvement immediately.

    Heard some rumors of Danault signing with Vegas. Hope that’s just a rumor. We already have plenty of 2-way forwards – they need SCORING.

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