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Golden Knights Rumored To Be “Looking For A Mobile D”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the regular season, the Golden Knights have been playing a numbers game with the salary cap. They’ve shuttled players like Nic Roy, Nic Hague, Cody Glass, Jimmy Schuldt, and Jake Bischoff between the NHL and AHL in an attempt to accrue usable cap space come trade deadline day. Thus far, they’ve sent Roy down four times, Hague three, and Glass, Schuldt, and Bischoff each once. In doing so, they’ve lessened the cap hits of all five waiver exempt rookies.

They are doing this for one reason, and one reason only, so they are in a position to make a trade and acquire a player that will help them win the Stanley Cup. Whether that trade happens today, or next week, or seconds before noon on February 24th, that’s why they are playing this game.

Which should obviously spark everyone reading this to ask the exact same question.

“Who are they looking to trade for?”

No one besides a select few inside the walls of City National Arena actually know, but over the course of the next four months there will be context clues along the way.

The first of those comes to us compliments of Sportsnet.ca’s superstar reporter Elliotte Friedman.

Nate Schmidt is back after a 13-game absence, and the Golden Knights badly missed him. Does Vegas feel the need to add mobility on the blue line? Opponents do think it is one of their few weaknesses. –Friedman in 31 thoughts on 11/5/19

He left it there in the written article but went on to elaborate a bit on his weekly podcast with Jeff Marek, also named 31 Thoughts.

They missed Nate Schmidt for 13 games and I’d heard that they were looking for a mobile D. And then Schmidt came back and I think they looked at it like ‘ok he’s back and we can live with that’ but I think they are going to look. Now, they have some really good prospects, Hague, but they’re not sure they are ready for this yet. Engelland, you know they sat him the other night. I think it hurt them to do it. He’s a proud guy, they love what he represents, he’s a huge part of their organization and when he retires he will be a part of their organization, but I think there’s a realization now that they need a little bit more. So I think they’re going to be looking and I think that is one of the areas they are going to be looking for. -Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

A mobile defenseman you say?

The first name that should pop into everyone’s head should be Alex Pietrangelo. The price would be steep, but if the Blues get the feeling he’s willing to test free agency, they’ve proven they’re willing to move a big piece even if it hurts their chances this year (see Paul Stastny trade in 2018).

But if that pie in the sky plan doesn’t come to fruition, there are plenty of other solid options in the rental market. (By that I mean with contracts that expire at the end of this season)

Mike Green (DET) and Sami Vatanen (NJD) are two names that jump to the front of the line in that category. First off because both are excellent mobile defensemen. Mike Green was nearly a point-per-game player in his prime and has maintained about a half-point-per game pace for each of the last seven years, and Vatanen has put up 30+ points in three of the last four seasons. Green was drafted by George McPhee in 2004 and Vatanen was a key piece the Pacific Division rival Ducks protected from Vegas in the Expansion Draft. Finally, in Vegas’ short history they’ve made deals with both Detroit and New Jersey.

Or, if Vegas remains steadfast against taking on rentals, maybe they look at some of the NHL’s bottom feeders Ottawa, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, or the New York Rangers. Thus, Dylan Demelo (UFA, $900,000), Jonis Brodin (2 years, $4,166,667), Patrik Nemeth (2 years, $3,000,000),  Olli Maatta (3 years, $4,083,333), or Tony Deangelo (RFA, $900,000).

It’s still very early, and the Golden Knights don’t have the cap space, yet, to take on most of these names. But it’s out there now that Vegas is in the market for another D-man, and based on the 15 combined points in 19 games the Golden Knights have gotten from their blue line, they probably should be.

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18 Comments

  1. Tyson Barrie

    He’s not clicking with us in Toronto , stuck on PP2 , hamstrung by Babcock’s new defensive minded system which stiffles creativity.

    And we can’t afford to keep him.

    Would he get PP1 mins over Shea Theodore though? If not, he’d be in the same situation just a different team.

    What I think you’ll find as the months roll on that this is a broken team this year , it just doesn’t reflect it in the standings … yet. We’ll be a bubble team at best if Marner is out only 4 weeks and no other injuries affect the lineup.

    We’re a potential lottery team if Marner is out 6-8 weeks and/or another significant injury hits us.

    In such a scenario, Dubas would want his first round draft pick back , the one he surrendered to Carolina to shed Marleau’s contract.

    And if not that, then he’d want a right handed D man , young with top 4 potential and no salary handcuffs.

    Outside of Alex P , I’d say this trade gets Vegas to the finals just as well … assuming you guys figure out your 3C spot , and Tuch gets healthy.

    • Freddy

      I like this idea, it’s possible Barrie could take the top power play. Shea hasn’t been able to produce much off of it, so putting shea on PP2 doesn’t sound too terrible.

      I’m not sure what exactly we’d send back, sounds like it would be a lot. I’m not sure if Dubas would even make a trade so soon into the season. I’d like to see it one way or another.

      • CouchGM

        I like it, but I don’t see Vegas being able to afford the price tag. Of course, if Vegas is truly thinking Stanley Cup, giving up a 1st rounder for next year is “only” giving up 31st overall, which is more a 2nd rounder than a first anyway.

        It’s about as likely as a Pietrangelo trade would be (read: not likely), and it could certainly help to have a top option. But, then, do you re-sign him? Can you?

  2. DOC

    HEY, I got it! Eakin, Pirri & Merrill have about a 6 mil cap hit. Add the almost 2 mil we may be under come mid Feb, that’s about 8 million. The exact cap hit of Brent Burns (from hated SJ). Just dump our 3 for him. Simple !!!!!!! 🙂 “DOC”

    • Joe E

      No thanks. We don’t want to give up more goals.

    • Daniel Burns

      If we get Brent Burns, I won’t have to pay extra for a personalized sweater! However, I’ve always thought Burns looks like he skates in slow motion (See Burns just prior to Wild Bill goal between his legs)

  3. Bent Hermit

    I saw rumors that linked Hall to St. Louis. If they did make that trade they would have the cap space for Tarasenko when he comes back. If that happens the chances that they trade Pietrangelo is slim. I can see VGK going for a mid level Dman over a big splash.

  4. Tim

    Lot’s of teams need D-Men and we need two. Were in a bad spot this year not much cap and to many needs. Overall our defense isn’t very good and our third line well we all know what there doing. Teams have figured out how to play us and we have no answer. Right now there’s not a team I feel comfortable that we can beat when we have a lead we can’t hold it and when were down forget it.

  5. DOC

    Jeezzzzz … Joe E & Mannheim. Did you not see the “smiley face”. Lighten up boys!!!!! “DOC”

  6. Bill

    I don’t think it has to be a top level guy, a mid level puck mover would be fine, I just feel like we have one defensive pairing without a puck mover and it leads to turnovers.

  7. Skeeter Thompson

    NJ owes Vegas for hosing the Knights on the Gusev deal. When I looked last week, it looked like Vatanen for Eakin works straight up cap-wise. NJ could use some special teams help and their 3rd and 4th line centers aren’t great, so VGK might not even have to add any picks. And Vegas could afford to re-sign Vatanen if he was a good fit.

  8. Mike StG

    Green, Vatanen are good possibilities. I also like Alec Martinez (plays both sides, consistent, clubhouse leader), who Kings are looking to move. Gustafsson (CHI) and Tony D (NYR) also attractive but can’t see those teams trading them away, as they’re both solid core players in their rebuilds.

  9. Brian

    Ristolainen?

  10. in a pinch

    from the Review journal article–

    “Pacioretty and Schmidt said that starts with constantly being in attack mode, no matter the score.”

    ——————————————————————

    and THAT stupid attitude is exactly why this team flounders, why they cannot hold a 3rd period lead.

    You saw what that attitude did in Det……. McNabb stupidly gambling on a slim chance pinch with 30 seconds to go, losing a game out of pure “attack no matter what the situation, score or time” idiocy.

    this team needs a Barry Trotz to show them how to make the most of their slow personnel, how to defend properly, how to clog up the neutral zone, how to lock down a game, how to manage a lead, when to play safe and cautious, and when to pinch. (hint–only when you have a forward back covering for you, and only when the scoreboard and game situation calls for it)

  11. T-mobile

    they are looking for a “T-Mobile” defenseman

    one who does not choke in the 3rd period at home

  12. Albert Brule

    They should look at swiping
    The duo of Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones for a first rd pick.
    The duo have become seasoned professionals in the minors and are top four defenseman. As rookies, they are affordable, young and talented.
    If you want a developed pair. Those two youngsters should be targeted together.
    They were whl rivals and become a successful professional tandem.
    They’ve made it to the NHL together.
    Swipe them together in a package with a first rd pick.

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