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McCrimmon Says Trading 1st Round Pick Wasn’t Off The Table This Deadline

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

If there’s one thing you can always count on with the Golden Knights, it’s that they’ll be active at the trade deadline. And, to go along with that, they’re certainly not afraid to complete a blockbuster trade or two.

So, every time we approach this time of year the question of present vs. future makes its way into the discourse surrounding the team.

To this point, still with about 20 hours to go before the deadline officially passes, the Golden Knights have added three players while sending out a former 1st round prospect, a 3rd round pick, a 7th round pick, and their fourth-string goalie.

What they have not done is part ways with any of their premium picks for next year’s draft or beyond. While the Golden Knights only have one of the previous eight 1st round picks they have owned, they do still maintain control of all of their 1st round picks for the future.

That doesn’t mean moving a 1st round pick was completely off the table this year.

We prioritize our draft picks, our players in Henderson, our drafted players, we talk about all of that and we end up with what we call our untouchables, things we wouldn’t do. I can’t say that we wouldn’t have traded a 1st round pick. There’s a time for that depending on what the return is and depending on your ability to retain that player. -Kelly McCrimmon

The Golden Knights were rumored to be heavily involved in Timo Meier, who eventually went to the Devils for two 1st round picks along with a bevy of prospects. Vegas has spent 1st round picks in the past on players like Tomas Tatar and Jack Eichel, both players who came with contracts that extended well past the end of that season. This leads to the one situation the Golden Knights were absolutely not willing to do with their most valuable offseason asset.

We felt really strongly we wouldn’t trade a 1st round pick on a rental player this year. That might be different in another year. It wasn’t a situation where we approached the deadline saying under no circumstances would we trade a 1st round pick. If a deal was there that demanded or justified a 1st round pick that gave us more than just a short-term return we would have looked at it. -McCrimmon

With time still left on the clock, the Golden Knights theoretically could still find the perfect fit in which they’d move their 2023 1st round pick. But as for now, while it certainly could have happened, it appears the deadline will pass with Vegas’ 1st round pick still in tow.


(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have acquired goaltender Jonathan Quick from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2025 7th round pick and Michael Hutchinson. Columbus has agreed to retain 50% of Quick’s salary leaving $2.9 million counting against the Golden Knights’ cap.

Quick was recently traded from the Kings to the Jackets in a deal that included another goalie, Joonas Korpisalo.


The Golden Knights have acquired forward Teddy Blueger from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 2024 3rd round pick and prospect Peter DiLiberatore.

Blueger is a defense-first, penalty-kill specialist who has scored just 10 points in 45 games this season. He starts 87.2% of his shifts in the defensive zone. His career high in points came last season when he scored 28 (9G, 19A) in 65 games. He received a 4th place vote for Selke in 2019-20, finishing 26th in the voting.

DiLiberatore was a 6th Round pick in 2018 (#180 overall) and is ranked 18th on the SinBin Prospect Rankings.

With Barbashev Deal Done Who Will Vegas Target Next?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s no surprise the Golden Knights front office acquired left-shooting forward Ivan Barbashev on Sunday afternoon. According to NHL insiders Vegas had been exploring the 27-year-old dating back to early January.

Someone said to me, depending on particularly what Vegas’ injury situation is, they could see Vegas liking Acciari and Barbashev. Who’s coaching Vegas? Accairi was in Boston with Cassidy and Cassidy saw Barbashev play very well in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. –Elliotte Freidman on 32 Thoughts Podcast on 01/27/23

Kelly McCrimmon confirmed the long-time interest when he said the Golden Knights have had 45 in-person viewings of Barbashev this season alone.

The seven-year veteran adds extra offense, size, and an edge that will play out well in the playoffs. During St. Louis’ astonishing Stanley Cup run in 2019, Barbashev totaled 87 hits in 25 games. To highlight his physicality even more, he only served four minutes in penalties throughout the entire postseason. As NHL coaches would say, finishing checks, getting gritty in the corners, and being disruptive in front of the net are how teams win seven-game series. Barbashev has proven he can do all three without taking costly penalties.

By the time the Golden Knights pulled the trigger on the Barbashev trade, most of the high-impact forwards had been sold. The chief among them was Timo Meier, whom New Jersey plucked from several interested teams, including Vegas. This leads to the question, are the Golden Knights done? It’s unlikely.

With the main characters off the board where can the Golden Knights look for more postseason ammo? We searched through a variety of options. Players that fit, players with or without term, and players that have connections to the organization.

James van Riemsdyk – LW
$7 million – Expiring Contract
9 goals, 14 assists in 40 GP

It’s no secret van Riemsdyk is available. Philadelphia hit reset button this summer and would love to dump costly players that aren’t in their future plans. JVR wouldn’t be acquired for his speed or quickness, but for his ability to light the lamp. Most importantly, he would be a tremendous net-front presence for the Golden Knights.

We defined Net-Front Scorers as players who possess superior hand-eye coordination, and along with toughness, an edge and hockey sense, camp out in the dirty areas to tip and re-direct pucks and create chaos. –Frank Seravalli on

Using a formula of deflections, inner slot shots, and average shot distance, Daily Faceoff ranked van Riemsdyk as the 12th-best Net-Front scorer in the NHL. Adding two offensive weapons with complimenting styles could be the difference of a playoff exit or advancing to another round.

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(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have acquired 27-year-old forward Ivan Barbashev from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for former 2021 1st round pick Zach Dean.

Barbashev has scored 10 goals and added 19 assists in 59 games this season for the Blues. This is following his career-best season last year when he scored 26 goals and posted 60 points in 81 games. He was a member of the 2018-19 Stanley Cup champions and played all 25 games, scoring three goals and three assists in that postseason. In his career, he’s played 50 playoff games and has nine points.

Barbashev’s contract expires at the conclusion of this season. His cap hit is $2,250,000 for the rest of this year, leaving the Golden Knights with about $7 million of cap space left with Mark Stone on LTIR for the rest of the regular season.

Dean was the #5 ranked prospect in the Prospect Rankings.


Has Kane Shown Enough Flash For Vegas To Strike A Deal With Chicago?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night the Golden Knights lost a frustrating game in shootout against Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks. Kane attempted to end the game in overtime but his last-second slap shot couldn’t beat the buzzer and the game was decided in a SO.

While the goal didn’t count, Kane was highly noticeable to the thousand of fans, dozens of players, and about a handful of general managers. Most likely including the VGK’s front office.

I think Vegas is gearing up to do something. I think they’re looking at moves big and small. I think they’ve looked at the Ivan Barbashev. I think they’ve looked at the possibility of Patrick Kane. I have no doubt they’ve looked at the possibility of Timo Meier. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

On Sunday the former Conn Smyth trophy winner looked like his old self again. Kane reminded the hockey world that he’s still threatening by recording a natural hat trick against Ottawa. His flash, shot, and skill were on full display as they were last night to a lesser extent against the Golden Knights. Although Kane came up empty with time expiring he still created several quality scoring chances.

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Sellers Lining Up For VGK And Other Buyers

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

At this point in the NHL season most teams are aware of their surroundings. The Ducks, Coyotes, and Blackhawks are clear sellers, and on the flip side, the Golden Knights represent the group of buyers.

I think they are at least considering taking a big shot at something. They were looking at Ivan Barbashev and now what I think they’re doing is ‘do we have a big move in us? Can we do two or three things.’ I think they’re looking at what’s the best way to maximize our opportunities. –Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet

Not only will Vegas be competing against other contenders for available impact players but they’ll be looking to maximize their new-found flexibility. The Golden Knights and other postseason hopefuls have been linked to certain individuals but some of those names are now off the board. While active teams are scheming and strategizing, middling teams are facing difficult decisions.

For example, take the Nashville Predators. Nashville’s offense exploded on Saturday, scoring seven goals in their 7-3 victory over Florida. However, ignore that outing because the Predators’ GM has. Longtime general manager David Poile announced this week that the Predators are open for business.

I do not think we are a buyer. I think if things don’t change more favorably we certainly could be a seller, but that’s not today. -David Poile, Predators GM

In his 24 years behind the scenes with the Predators, Poile’s teams have reached the Stanley Cup Finals once. So, he’s seen his share of mediocrity. With 11 days before the trade deadline he’s telling Cup contenders that he’ll be taking calls, not making them.

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Cassidy Details Game Plan He’d Like To See On VGK Power Play

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Hello darkness, my old friend.

After an 0 for 7 night on the power play the Golden Knights have converted just one goal on 28 opportunities since Mark Stone got injured.

The units have been mixed up but the results simply haven’t come with. Vegas has slipped to 18th overall in power play percentage and they are in dead last at 8.8% since January 1st.

There’s a lot right now (on the power play that we need to work on). I don’t think the pace of our power play is where it needs to be, quite frankly. In the zone, we hold pucks too long. We’re at our best when we have quick movement, a play to the net, and then quick recovery. That’s just a mindset we have to have. We had it earlier this year and we’ve had it on the occasional power play and then it’ll disappear on the next one. -Cassidy

The Golden Knights spent this morning in the film room with a focus on what they’ve done right in the past.

We showed video this morning and showed pretty much all of our O-zone goals to try and define what we are in the O-zone. We’re trying to make seam passes against teams that are set in their coverage. We scored one in Montreal (all season), so we’re not that team, so let’s not keep being stubborn. In practice (we’re doing it) and it translates to the game, that’s not who we are. Let’s get back to who we are by getting it low to the goal line and attacking from there. -Cassidy

Cassidy spoke to the game plan he’d like to see the Golden Knights take on the power play moving forward. He said it starts with essentially a shot clock in the mind of the players that lasts around six to eight seconds. At that point, he wants a shot thrown at the net.

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Golden Knights Defending Superbly Since All Star Break

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Most of the focus over the past few games since the All Star break has been on the offense. It’s with good reason as a team that often goes through scoring droughts has posted 19 goals in four games with all but one coming at even strength.

The other end of the ice is where the Golden Knights have really been winning games though. Their ability to limit the opposition has helped allow the attack more time to work and it’s also fed the transition game Vegas relies on so heavily.

It’s not just the defensemen that are making this happen.

Part of the reason (our opponents) haven’t generated much is what we’ve done between the blue lines. I think it’s a combination of our forwards working really hard to get out of the other end and working back to help. It’s all gap related, if our D can have confidence to close their gap they’ll kill some of those plays knowing the forward will cover for them if they don’t get there in time. That’s just a team playing the right way and it’s best for the group if we play that way. -Bruce Cassidy

Where that has shown up most is Vegas’ ability to limit odd-man rushes. In the past four games, they’ve only allowed two true odd-man rushes, once against Minnesota and another against Anaheim. Cassidy also believes forwards reloading to help the defensemen in the neutral zone has helped their offense as well.

That’s the selling part for me. You tell the forwards, if you work back really hard and we’re on time there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get yourself a puck five seconds later with a chance to attack and I think we’ve done a good job of that. -Cassidy

There’s no denying the impact the group of six healthy defensemen have had on the game as well. With both Zach Whitecloud and Shea Theodore back in the lineup, the Golden Knights look more comfortable in every aspect of defending.

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George McPhee: “There Are Always Ways To Improve Your Team”

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have a little more than two weeks to make any final adjustments to the roster they hope brings them back to the playoffs and on another long run.

If you’re looking at your team, if there’s someplace you can make that tweak and you can do it, you do it. If you don’t, you’re getting complacent because there are always ways you can improve your team. –George McPhee on Bob McCown Podcast

The former GM and current President of Hockey Operations have proven his belief in this concept over the first five seasons in Vegas. The Golden Knights have been active at every trade deadline, typically buying one of the most significant pieces on the market.

This year however, they sit in a bit of a different spot than they’ve ever been before, which will make life a little more difficult on McPhee and GM Kelly McCrimmon come March 3rd.

(A trade) would have to make perfect sense because we’re looking at Stone and Thompson and what are the timelines, is it becoming clearer when we can get them back? So we’re trying to buy time to figure that out. LTI becomes a factor. If Mark’s coming back, we may not do anything because we were a pretty good team when everybody was in (the lineup). The injuries complicate things, but that’s life. –McPhee on Bob McCown Podcast

While the optimism around a potential Stone return in the regular season is fantastic, any chance of it happening certainly muddies the water for the upcoming deadline.

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