As the week comes to a close, we decided to hand the keys to the Porsche (remember when DeBoer called the roster that?) to the man entering his 5th season as an intern at SinBin, Alex Norwood.
Ken and Jason had their turns to put the Golden Knights in a better position for this season and beyond, and now it is my turn to make Vegas a younger and cheaper team that can still compete this year and for years to come. I am not trading Jack Eichel like Ken, I am not keeping as many players as Jason.
Here’s what I would do.
TRADE – Max Pacioretty and Nolan Patrick traded to Detroit Red Wings for a 2022 2nd round pick and a 2022 4th round pick
The Red Wings seem like a team that is very close to making their return to the playoffs after a few years of being on the outside looking in. Adding a proven scorer in Max Pacioretty could be the trade that moves the needle in Detroit, which is great for them but this is about the Golden Knights.
Pacioretty is in the final year of his contract which counts $7 million against the cap. He is also going to be 34-years-old during this coming season. Vegas moving on from him solves a few problems. Most importantly, they instantly get cap relief, something that they desperately need. Almost as importantly, they will get younger which should help with the fear of potential injury problems.
As far as moving Nolan Patrick, he was not much of a factor in a Golden Knights uniform, which is unfortunate because it is due to his injury history and his ability as a player. If he is not part of any trade package, he should be a prime candidate to be waived to save a few more dollars.
TRADE – Robin Lehner to New Jersey Devils for a 2022 3rd round pick and a 2022 6th round pick
Robin Lehner may very well be a top 10-15 goalie in the NHL. He has proven that before winning the Jennings Trophy twice and being a Vezina Trophy finalist. Unfortunately, his health has failed him in the last couple of seasons. With additions being made later on in this article, Logan Thompson appears to be a viable option for much less money, and Bruce Cassidy implementing a “goalie friendly” system, it makes sense to move on from Lehner and give Thompson the keys to the franchise. It’s up to Thompson to make this move look good, we’ve seen a small sample size of what he can do and there’s nothing showing me he can’t continue his upward trend. This trade is me going all-in on Thompson, not going all-out on Lehner.
TRADE – Alec Martinez to Philadelphia Flyers for a 2022 3rd round pick
When Alec Martinez was first traded for, the Golden Knights got everything they could have asked for from him. He was solid in the defensive zone, his offensive numbers went up from his last few seasons in LA, and he even contributed on the power play. That lasted for two seasons but has not continued into his third season with Vegas, which also happened to be the first year of a new contract. Unfortunately, Martinez suffered a freak injury and when he eventually came back, he was not the same player we had been used to seeing. Moving on from Martinez solves the same problems as moving Pacioretty, the team will get younger and money will be moved out that can be spent elsewhere.
TRADE – Laurent Brossoit, Shea Weber’s Contract, a 2022 2nd round pick, and 2022 3rd round pick to Arizona Coyotes for a 2022 5th round pick
Laurent Brossoit was made very expendable with the rise of Logan Thompson. Moving on from him has always made sense, especially since I am still trying to figure out why he was signed in the first place. Adding in Shea Weber’s contract fixes the issue of the Golden Knights being locked into LTIR for years to come. Arizona seems like the perfect team to make this deal considering they have been stacking picks for the last year.
TRADE – Dylan Coghlan to Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2022 4th round pick
There is not much analysis when it comes to trading Dylan Coghlan. With Ben Hutton signing an extension last season and Daniil Miromanov signing an extension this summer, Coghlan’s time in Vegas may be coming to an end so they may as well get some value for him.
RE-SIGN – Roy (3 x $2.1m), Kolesar (2 x $950k), Howden (1 x $900k), Hague (2 x $1.2m)
Nic Roy has absolutely earned himself a raise, getting him to agree to a slightly below-market deal could be a huge advantage for the Golden Knights come trade deadline time. If he continues to up his production, that will be a very solid contract.
Keegan Kolesar was a good depth player for the Golden Knights last season and if he continues to be just that, he’ll do just fine in the lineup. Plus, a free agency signing could really help him take another step forward.
Brett Howden was actually having a solid season before suffering an injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season. If he picks up where he left off, he can really help this team when his services are needed.
Hague avoids holdout by taking a team-friendly bridge deal.
Sign – Filip Forsberg (7 x $9m)
It’s Vegas, there needs to be a flashy move! I sent out Pacioretty, who was usually good for 30 goals in a season, so I brought in Filip Forsberg to fill in the gap on Eichel’s left wing. He is much younger and has proven he can score a lot of goals. With Stone and Eichel being his linemates, I think we could see the first 50-goal season from a Golden Knight.
Sign – Nino Niederreiter (5 x $3.5m)
Adding even more to the forward group, Nino Niederreiter makes a ton of sense for a few reasons. The first being his ability to score goals. Vegas’ third line has always been in need of a consistent scorer, Niederreiter fits the bill. Chandler Stephenson was able to do a bunch by himself last year and we’ve seen what he can do with a capable winger. Niederreiter could produce even more with the speedy center. At worse he scores 20 goals, that’s a win.
Sign – Braden Holtby (2 x $1m)
After moving on from both Lehner and Brossoit, it’s time for the Logan Thompson show. However, he will need a steady backup and who could be better than Braden Holtby. After leading Washington to a Stanley Cup in 2018, Holtby has had a rough go of it with short stints in Vancouver and Dallas. It is unlikely that he could be a starter on many teams but he seems like the perfect veteran backup for a rookie goalie who is being given the keys to the franchise.
The plan is simple. Move a bunch of money out in the best ways possible, get younger in the process, and bring in quality free agents. This team has the potential to be better than last year’s team and it doesn’t even need to be $10 million over the cap. In fact, there is $1.39 million in cap space on this 22-man roster.
The GM’s job is to put the team in the best possible situation to succeed and that is what I think I have done. This team can definitely go on a run, maybe add at the deadline, and end the season with the Stanley Cup in Mark Stone’s hands.