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GM For A Day: Jason’s 2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights

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Our week of hypothetical managing rolls on. Today, it’s my (Jason) turn to play GM for a Day, and we’re going a little calmer than Ken’s plan.

I have no choice, I’m going for it now. There was an order given six seasons ago and I agreed to it. So, it’s time to deliver.

Vegas’ current roster has enough talent up and down the lineup but it hasn’t fully succeeded. However, under the right conditions, the Golden Knights can defeat almost every team on any given night. Sure, changes will be made but for the most part, I’m going to use what I already have.

TRADE – Alec Martinez traded to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2022 4th round pick.

On Tuesday I predicted the Golden Knights front office would aggressively try and unload Alec Martinez’s contract. It’s rare, but I’m in agreement with VGK’s FO. Detroit is a team that’s maturing, has cap room, and could use some veteran leadership. As the Golden Knights have done in the past with Brad Hunt, sending Martinez to Detroit would be looking out for the player as well. It’ll hurt to some capacity to lose the almost 35-year-old but Vegas opens cap space and replenishes a 4th round pick. It’s not ideal but I’d rather shed defense in order to keep my offense intact. My only fear is the Red Wings management asking for a sweetener.

Look, I’m not a miracle worker but my task is to win the Stanley Cup this year, not in 2028. With that in mind, immediately after trading Martinez I’m picking up the phone and reassuring Max Pacioretty he’s not going anywhere. It’s time for a heart-to-heart. Like Brad Pitt said to the actor playing David Justice in the movie Moneyball, “I want to milk the last ounce of baseball you got in you.” The same goes for Pacioretty. He’s on an expiring contract seeking another lucrative deal, and I need goals. I’m looking for 70+ games and 30+ goals from Pacioretty next season. In the end it could work out well for both parties.

It’ll be no secret, the pressure is on Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and yep, Jack Eichel. When a player signs a contract worth $10M annually he’s also agreeing to accept the pressure that comes along. I anticipate Eichel to play like a ten-million-dollar center this season and I expect him to get the most out of his teammates. He may not wear a C but this will be Eichel’s team. It’s just a matter of when. He wasn’t an original Misfit but The Creator’s demand of winning a Cup in six seasons applies to the top center as well. To keep the trio of Pacioretty, Mark Stone and Jack Eichel together, someone else will need to go.

TRADE – Laurent Brossoit and a 2022 7th round pick to Dallas Stars for 2023 5th round pick

Brossoit’s contract was another example of overspending on an unnecessary need. Vegas had Robin Lehner’s backup already yet overpaid for an underwhelming, established goalie. The Golden Knights didn’t get enough from Brossoit last season to continue to carry his salary. Since 2020, the Golden Knights have severely overpaid their goaltenders and last offseason the club was forced to sell off a Vezina winner for nothing. I’m going to follow suit by shipping out Brossoit, and like Vegas’ front office I’m not concerned with the return.

I’ve successfully managed to get underneath the cap without tearing apart the team. Now, it’s time to examine what I have left on the books.

RE-SIGN – Nic Hague ($1.5M), Nic Roy ($2.25M), Kolesar ($1M)

By trading Martinez I can now focus on securing Nic Hague for an equally beneficial deal. New coach Bruce Cassidy shouldn’t be forced to deal with one of his everyday defenseman holding out. What happens if the holdout continues past Thanksgiving? It’s not ideal. So, I am willing to offer Hague a comparable AAV with some of his peers. Hague’s agent will ask for what Henri Jokiharju received last summer from Buffalo. Both were drafted in 2017, have played over 140 games, and totaled 40+ points. However, Jokiharju has a bigger role and plays for a team with cap space. Hague will happily take my offer.

Roy has earned a multi-year deal and I’m willing to work with him but I’m not ready to break the bank. St. Louis pays Ivan Barbashev $2.25M a season and he’s had much more success. Barbashev registered 60 points last season and averaged 16 minutes. Roy skated 16 minutes per game as well but had 21 less points. I’m willing to sign the 25-year-old for multiple years but under $3M AAV.

Kolesar has earned a raise but if I’m still paying William Carrier it won’t be much.

SIGNED TO A PTO – Ryan Dzingel

I expect the Golden Knights front office will invite a player or two to training camp without a contract. I suggested Ryan Dzingel on Tuesday and I’m sticking with it. Low-risk and an enormous reward if Dzingel can ever find his way again.


My hands are truly tied so there’s not much turnover from last season. If the key players stay healthy fans should expect a playoff berth. However, it’s not a Stanley Cup-winning roster. Colorado isn’t going anywhere and I can’t compare the two organizations. To be honest, I’d be willing to listen to offers on most Golden Knights players if it gets me closer to the Avalanche. If other GMs are asking about William Karlsson or even Shea Theodore, I’ll take the call. Heck, I would consider moving Robin Lehner if Cassidy has full confidence in Thompson.

It doesn’t look much different from last year’s roster but here’s what my lineup will look like come October. Keep in mind the plan is to add a player or two at the trade deadline using the inevitable LTIR space.

Pacioretty-Eichel-Stone
Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Dzingel-Stephenson-Roy
Howden-Kolesar-Carrier

Hague-Pietrangelo
McNabb-Theodore
Hutton-Whitecloud

Lehner
Thompson

What it really comes down to is the need to correct some of the organization’s past mistakes. I’m forced to work with oft-injured players and long-term commitments. I’ll try and fix or tweak this summer but I can’t keep kicking the can down the road. Lost draft picks, selling off assets, and juggling the cap haven’t worked.

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28 Comments

  1. THE hockey GOD

    LA Kings are making all moves that VGK should be doing. They picked up two great players last year. Now another one.

    Los Angeles has acquired Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for the No. 19 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and prospect Brock Faber.

    Fiala had a career-year offensively in 2021-22 with 33 goals and 85 points in 82 games. He also posted a personal best 262 shots, while averaging 17:39 of ice time per contest. According to CapFriendly, Fiala has agreed to a seven-year contract extension with the Kings that carries an AAV of $7.875 million. Los Angeles didn’t announce a contract when the trade details were released. Fiala should prove to be an excellent addition to the top-six forward group of the Kings. He will also improve a Los Angeles power play that ranked 27th in 2021-22.

    • THE hockey GOD

      John Stevens CS, Vegas Golden Knights
      John Stevens has been hired as an assistant coach for the Vegas Golden Knights.

      “John Stevens is a very respected NHL coach with an extensive resume that adds considerably to our staff,” Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon said. “We are excited to add a two-time Stanley Cup winner with head coaching experience.” The Golden Knights also announced the hiring of Sean Burke as the Director of Goaltending and NHL Goaltending Coach as well as the naming of Mike Rosati as Manager of Goaltending Development and Scouting

    • Jonathan Haas

      Well he disappears during the Playoffs since 2017 .. played 29 games with 7 goals / 3 assists / -5 with & 16PIM

    • Roberto

      When LA signed Phillip Danault last year, and VGK went for Declining Dadanov that stung. Fiala is even stingier. Dude is a beast and only getting better.

      Part of a larger point many miss: While VGK is trying to figure basic things out, teams around them are rapidly improving. Not only going to make for more competition for playoff spots, but also fewer ‘easier’ nights on the schedule.

      Higher stress, more intensity, more injuries. And for a team with older, injury-prone guys, that’s no bueno.

      • THE hockey GOD

        i hear ya Roberto, they also picked up a useful player from Smashville

  2. Well Jason – while team won’t improve much if at all your suggestions are more realistic than Ken’s but not nearly as exciting. Boils down to using a scalpel or an axe – really perfer the axe approach. They have way to many dollars tied up in potential injury players because of age and are not the same guys they believed they were buying. Kind of like purchasing a used car or horse who was ridden hard and put away wet. Your right you won’t be a contender especially leaving the goal tending in Lehner’s hands. You pretty well ha e duplicated this year’s team and the results will be no different.

  3. Bret

    What exactly did Colorado change? They added Manson? A few trade deadline pieces? It’s almost the same exact team that Vegas steamrolled. Yet you guys are acting like if we don’t make a drastic change we’re just gonna be the same again. Colorado lost saad who was great for them. They didn’t abort everything when Vegas beat them. Same needs to go for us. Much MUCH more realistic and this is exactly what I think will happen. Except brisson will get his shot on the club. No doubt in my mind. His Michigan teammates have started to make an impact and so will he. Marty has to go unfortunately:/

    I think they sign kessel and they put him with eichel and brisson eventually. Imagine if that line works and you get to have the misfits as your third line. I’m sorry but no one is beating that team if it all clicks. It’s like Colorado this year, they changed literally nothing. Kuemper had a .902 save percentage…

    • The big difference you forgot VGK had a hall of fame goalie who won that Colorado series. We don’t have that goalie anymore.

  4. I think the LA Kings had the best off season last year and they continue to do great things so far heading in to the next one. Fiala is obviously a huge get. The Kings are a lock to win this division next year if they shore up the goaltending.

    The best VGK days are in the rear view mirror. If they remain healthy they’ll make the playoffs but they are no longer a serious contender for a Cup. It’s going to take 3 to 5 years to fix the mess that McCrimmon has made out of this club.

    Bringing Fleury back to Vegas will be unpopular with the haters, but it would put rear ends in the seats and energize the fan base.

    Just to be consistent, I gave up on Lehner as a serious goaltending option in mid-January. He isn’t sturdy enough or good enough to win a cup on his own. The 1A/1B situation with Fleury was his and the VGK’s best shot, but that’s all in the past now.

    • RR,

      Well stated I would just add the biggest problem is the unknown . Meaning what will McCrimmon screw up this off-season that is eventually cost us next year.

      As for MAF 90% of the VGK fans love him there are only a few who don’t and most of them are not season ticket holders. I’ve been a season ticket holder since year 2 and I yet to meet anyone at a game saying that they’re glad we got rid of MAF. We had a guy in section who stated the MAF trade saved him a ton of money in playoff tickets this year.

      This website unfortunately is loaded with MAF bashers which I doubt any are season ticket holders. Not sure why some continue to hate they must have liked missing the playoffs this year.

  5. Tim

    If I’m not mistaken we would all like to see the Knights stay competitive. I’ve said this before but it didn’t get any traction would you rather have a 27 year old Filip Forsberg or a 33 year old Max Pacioretty? Patch 7 million Forsberg free agent if we lucky 7.5 million. To me thats a no brainer for 500 thousand more. I like Kens idea of Paul Stansty at 2 million. I also like Jasons Alex Martinez trade which frees up 5.9 million to sign Hague and Roy. I don’t like Jasons forth line center Kolesar he’s useless dump him. Howden and Carrier are fine on the forth line maybe Brisson can make it at the forth line center a lot more points then Kolesar can only dream about. Dzingel I don’t know much about him but anyone with upside is fine with me.

    • Mike StG

      Tim – NO WAY Forsberg will sign for 7.5. He will cost at least 9M possibly 10. I agree about Stastny and have mentioned him in posts earlier this month as a possible add to the team. He’s a great playmaker and is good net front too. Put him with some fast wingers and they’ll get plenty of prime scoring opportunities.

      Don’t need Dzingel, esp if they add Stastny. Also, although I agree with you that top line should change I don’t think WK should be C1. He wasn’t very productive when they tried pairing him with Stone & Patch, plus he’s just so good with Reilly. Instead, I think JM should move to LW1, Patch to LW2. That gives L1 more speed w/out sacrificing goal scoring, and L2 more physicality with Max. Stastny would be 3C with Howden and Chandler on wing. Roy at his natural position at 4C with Kolesar (or Amadio) and Carrier on wing.

      On D, I wouldn’t put Hague on 1st pair with Petro, he’s too slow and needs more growth in his game. It should be McNabb. 2nd pairing should be Hutton-Theo and 3rd pair ZW & Hague. I’d actually prefer Zach with Theo but then Shea would have to play left defense, which is his natural side as a left shot. However, he seems to be better offensively playing on the right. That kinda depends on how Cassidy changes their defensive system.

      Last, if Brisson comes up during the season he will play wing. He’s not a center. I could see him playing in the bottom 6, esp if there are top 6 injuries where Chandler moves up. Brisson would benefit a LOT being on a line with Stastny.

      Should be an interesting year!

      • Mike StG

        Sorry, it was Emmanuel who suggested moving WK to C1 and Eichel to C2.

  6. ulf

    I know this is all fantasy anyway, but Jason’s writeup seems a little more realistic.
    Except for the Martinez trade. Like with Ken’s Patches trade, why on earth would a young, rebuilding team like Detroit (or NJ in Ken’s case) trade for the last year of an ageing, injury-prone veteran?
    The only reason is to help the room, but you can pick up guys like that for free in free agency.
    You could argue that Detroit would trade VGK a 4th to get Martinez, use him, then hopefully trade him at the deadline for a 4th…but why bother? You might not get that much at the deadline anyway.

  7. MARK

    Awesome job Jason! That’s actually a really solid roster for the VGK and yes actually this roster you put together would most certainly be a Stanley Cup contender no question. I’d find a way to move Robin Lehner and get a decent goalie to pair with Thompson. Leaving the top guys in place is paramount for Vegas since the misfits line and Pacioretty/Stone have so so much chemistry playing together. That’s going to be key moving forward especially under a new head coach. Maybe bring back Paul Stastny too as another “smart signing” for added depth. He also has chemistry with the current VGK roster. I love your roster. Very very nice job

  8. Bobby

    Both Ken’s & Jason’s plans are steps in the right direction. But move Lehner no matter what.

  9. Emmanuel

    Bingo! The roster needs tweaking not a tear down. I would add there are some veteran bottom six FA available under $2m a year. If one of them can get 15 G that’s a tasty 3rd line. As for the line combos I’m still pushing for Eichel and Karlsson be swapped from the 1st and 2nd line, WK is a better fit with MP & MS, JE with JM & RS on the 2nd line.

  10. James

    Eichel proved in Buff that he could NOT lead a team, he is not a leader. He is def not worth $10m a year, best bet is to trade him asap and get some productive, energetic leaders to replace him, players like Tuch…whoops.

  11. vgk21

    possible roster=

    Pac-Eichel-Stone
    misfits 81-71-19
    Morozov/Brisson-Stephenson-Roy
    Carrier-Howden-Amadio/Kolesar

    forwards guesstimated total cap= $50 m

    Dmen

    Petro, Martinez, Theodore, McNabb, Whitecloud, Hague, Hutton

    total = $26.5 m

    goalies

    LT and Fleury (signed for one year at 5m)

    total= about $6 m

    • vgk21

      Reports are that Hague is being actively sought by 2 eastern teams, so he may be traded.

  12. THE hockey GOD

    TB goalie prospect Amir Miftakhov on unconditional waivers

  13. THE hockey GOD

    Elliotte Friedman Retweeted
    San Jose Sharks
    @SanJoseSharks
    ·
    1h
    #SJSharks have relieved head coach Bob Boughner, assistant coaches John Madden and John MacLean, and assistant coach, video Dan Darrow of their responsibilities.

    • THAT’S SOME HOUSECLEANING! Clean Sweep! Here’s their chance to snap up PDB again! He’s available still, right?

      • THE hockey GOD

        no TS , he was picked up in a NY minute by rival STARS

        he also signed a good assistant coach, I forget his name. Alain something or other.

        • Henderson Knights

          yeah, right. He also signed that pos, his SJ buddy, the clueless PP destroyer, porta-Spotty

        • Sorry, guess I missed it. Maybe I forgot that I knew it..oh, whatever!

  14. THE hockey GOD

    UPDATE: Detroit #RedWings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman today announced that the team has named Derek Lalonde the 28th head coach in franchise history.

  15. Tim

    The coaching carousal continues for the most part same old suspects just different teams. As mentioned LA between getting early draft picks the last few years and adding the veterans they have the last few years there set to be a competitive team. On the other hand the Knights are just trying to get cap compliant. Without a first round draft pick watching the draft won’t be to exciting. I’d love to see Stansty back but did management burn his bridges as they’ve done with so many players only time will tell. My understanding is George McFee drafted Filip Forsberg then traded him to Nashville which he said was his biggest mistake. Could he rectify that mistake bring him to Vegas and trade Patch that wouldn’t hurt my feelings. Who knows can management pull a few rabbits out of a hat or do they really believe at this time our team is ready for a run. If they believe that then they are certified delusional.

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