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High-End Players Hit The Market Much More Than Suggested

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’ve heard it a lot from the Golden Knights front office, and we hear it pretty much any time any team ends up with a new high-end player.

We had what we believe was an incredibly rare opportunity to add a defenseman, an elite player like Alex to our team. We really viewed it as a similar situation to the opportunity to acquire Mark Stone. Generally these are players that don’t hit the market and we were fortunate to make a trade for Mark Stone and sign a contract with Alex as a free agent. -Kelly McCrimmon

A rare opportunity. These guys don’t come around often. Have to take advantage of it.

It sounds great and there’s no debating that adding Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo to a team is an awesome thing to do. But, is it really that rare?

Just in the three years in which the Golden Knights have been a franchise, they’ve been tied to and eventually got Stone and Pietrangelo, and along the way, they were linked to Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, and Steven Stamkos.

Around the league, just in the past five seasons, four players who finished in the top five in Hart voting have changed teams. A Vezina winner, a Selke winner, and six more guys who have finished in the top five votings in either of those awards.

In all, just since the offseason of 2016, I count 17 high-end players that have switched teams, or about three to four per offseason. (That’s counting each guy just once despite some moving multiple times.)

I’m talking about names like Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ryan O’Reilly, Erik Karlsson, and John Tavares.

If you want to dig a bit deeper, in the All Star Games between 2016 and 2018, at least 11 players are currently on different teams including an incredible 17 of the 44 players in the 2016 game.

Again, no one is criticizing the will to add high-end players like Alex Pietrangelo and Mark Stone. But if the main reason for doing it is because these opportunities don’t come around often, history suggests otherwise.


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  1. vgk2018

    “It sounds great and there’s no debating that adding Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo to a team is an awesome thing to do.”- But is it? I personally don’t think they are any better now than when the season ended…I would argue even worse. And quite frankly other than having Lehner in goal I don’t think they are any better than after losing to SJ two years ago. What has changed is that they are paying two goalies $12m and have a soon to be 31 year old defenseman “locked up” with a no trade deal for next 7 years instead of having Schmidt at a reasonable cap hit and Stastny salary for one more season.

    • You know what they call a “soon to be 31 year old defenseman”?
      A 30 year old defenseman

      • THE hockey GOD

        Chara is still playing in his 40s, and Gordie Howe played in his 60s. So what is your point ?

        • Daryl

          Just curious, but what is Chara making? And yes while it is possible to play late into your ages, that doesn’t mean they are still all that good. Chara is nothing more than a 3rd pairing right now who trips over his skates all the time. He really isn’t very good. And is he worth almost $9m???

          • Mike StG

            Daryl, Chara is making zero now. Contract is up. Most think he’ll get around $1M if he decides to keep playing. His value is not in his play at this point. It’s the intangibles he brings to the room and his mentoring.

          • Daryl

            So what you are saying is we should bring Engelland back at $700k??? lol Sorry had to throw that out there.

  2. Jason

    I love how everyone has the exact right answer. Boston never over pays and they didn’t win a cup. Toronto over pays and they never win. There is no magic way. Penguins win because of Crosby and Maulkin Murray/Fleury. Toews/Kane/Crawford. Kings with Dowdy and Kopater. You need elite talent to win. And then you will suck. You eventually need to go all in or you will forever be only good. We were in the cup finals but it wasn’t even close with Washington regarding the talent gap. So you get be so close but light years away. Get the best dudes you can and make a run. You will suck and rinse and repeat.

  3. This is my opinion so all haters can
    forget it . In not to near future the VGK will regret hiring McCrimmon
    And Deboooor as early mistakes a expansion team made. Very poor judgement having all that money tied up in 6 players. And PDB will continue to slow down game take positive attitudes away from players. Just an opinion!!

  4. Mike StG

    I would think McCrimmon’s statement should not be evaluated outside of its implied context. There may have been several high end players available, but he obviously meant those types of players that Vegas might consider acquiring. Bob? They didn’t need a $10M goalie. JT – they kicked the tires but were more interested in EK65. Panarin- did they need a $11M left winger when they already had Patch & Marchie? They’ve always wanted a stud defenseman. They pursued EK65 and lost, then Petro and got him. Stone was a no brainer to upgrade their RW with a Selke-caliber forward who has excellent offensive skills. Bottom line is they’re both complete players at their positions. McCrimmon spoke accurately.

    • I guess you and I define “incredibly rare” much differently. To me, 4 chances in 3 years is far from incredibly rare.

    • Daryl

      We basically have a $12m goalie…. and while Pietra is a top tier blue liner, I still question whether it was a good signing, if you include what he got and what VGK lost. Did our defense really need an upgrade that cost VGK that much? Does VGK really need to spend $12m on two goalies? It wasn’t the defense or goalie situation which cost VGK the run in the playoffs (even though Lehner let in a couple extremely soft goals). What cost VGK their run at the Cup was offense. So how did VGK improve when they got rid of an offensive player by adding a defensive player? Martinez is getting slow (and he isn’t physical) and Holden just needs to go.

      So maybe if they could have gotten two defenseman who are slightly better than each of those guys for the same price as it was to get Pietra would have been the smarter move???

      • Mike StG

        Daryl, I don’t understand all the concern and anguish about what Petro’s contract will look like in Years 6 & 7. Foley wants to win the cup sooner than later. He’s not a young man. Some of the other things you bring up were just not fixable. No one wanted Fleury unless Vegas kept half his salary and $3.5M wouldn’t have cleared the cap space to sign Petro. As it stands they traded 2 players and $12.4M in salary away and with all the other signings are still slightly over the cap. They probably looked at Marty + Fleury as the trade pieces, but even for 1 year who would want a 4M dman that the team might not resign (until trade deadline was approaching)? And I recall Marty running down McDavid on a breakaway by perfectly angling him off. He was the perfect partner for Shea, backstopping him defensively to allow him to engage in the offense. Holden is decent on 3rd pair and can mentor the younger players coming up in the next couple years, to replace Deryk in that role. I’m with you on the question of offense, but I think with PDB’s use of the D to drive offense Petro is a good fit. I would put him Top 3 in NHL with Hedman & Josi as far as all around play. Glass has got to be the player they hoped he would be, and maybe Krebs gets a good look as well.

        • Daryl

          I get they are in a win now mindset, I just wonder what will happen if they don’t win now. And to be honest, I don’t think they have the overall talent to win now. That’s where my concern long term comes in with Pietra’s signing. Maybe I’m a little more critical, but I don’t know if I would have Pietra that high overall, possibly closer to #10. And as for PDB system, I’m not sure how much that will help Pietra. He will definitely get the shots, just like Theo, but he isn’t a natural scorer like Theo and with no screens or rebounders, I’m just not sure. NOW, if we learn to use our forwards that could change the outlook of Pietra’s help on offense.

          And I’m just not big on Holden at all. I have not liked his play for the majority of his games. We pay him almost $2m and get the same play as we do with Engo at $700k. I honestly don’t think you would see a drop in play if you switched the two out (you could add Merrill in there as well). I see another trade coming, if not this year, then next for another defenseman. But that should be 2nd to finding a Center.

          I do agree with everything else you stated

  5. Mike StG

    You speak as if this team has been around for years. After a unique 1st season constructed of less than elite players, they needed to build a team with better players who could fill both short and long term needs. Their hope was apparently that they were close enough to being a cup winner that some upgrades could get them there. This is only their 3rd offseason FA period. They’ve been able to land two truly elite players as a foundation for their current cup hopes and their future team. If Glass or Krebs don’t look like they can fill the role of 1C or 2C then maybe they pursue an elite center next offseason. But aside from that there’s not much more to add, or budget to do it. The team is essentially set for the next 4-5 years. The next several years are likely to be tweaking the roster around the edges and developing prospects.

  6. Tim

    Ken you mentioned Stone and Pietrangelo no mention of Patch so I assume an elite player he is not and we’ve been had. The Splash Brothers did such a wonderful job in the expansion draft to put a solid team on the ice and I think after that they lost there way.How many guys we should have resigned, how many draft picks we shouldn’t go given away, how many guys we shouldn’t of signed, Ken you can fill in the blanks. People are coming down pretty hard on the character of the management team. I can’t believe Bill Foley a West Point Graduate where honor and loyalty is everything will let this fiasco last much longer.

  7. Mikegron32

    Fiasco lol… I don’t think you are cut out for sports Tim. Ok let’s run these Jabronies out of town. (2) WCF’s, (2) Division titles, and (1) SCF in the FIRST 3 YEARS doesn’t cut it. Please enlighten us with your choice for new GM. Remember, winning isn’t as important as loyalty, honor, and integrity. In fact maybe they can even hang a plaque with that in their office to help console them when the team sucks for the next 10 yrs

    • Tim

      Mike, time will tell

    • Daryl

      VGK in their first season had a group of players band together to prove the entire hockey world wrong… .and they did just that. I question whether this team has really gotten any better since that time. As for winning the conference, yes its great since they are a very young (new) team, but winning the Pacific is no huge task. They are the worst division in the league. We have also seen what happens when you ride a hot goalie, you can beat just about anyone, almost.

      You bring up loyalty, but nobody here is talking about that. It’s about making bad moves which have not panned out, moves that a lot of people have questioned from the start. And yes loyalty is important, but communication is more important. Lying to your players, not being honest with your team, not telling the players what’s going on…. all those are issues that most of us have. It’s not so much about getting rid of players, its how they get rid of them. And YES, that does play a factor in how players feel and how they perform

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