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How The Deadline Will Clue Us In On Mark Stone’s Health And UFA Plans

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As we wait anxiously to see what the Golden Knights will do at the deadline exactly a week from today, there will be so much more to the story than simply who Vegas brings in and what they are forced to give up.

The reason why the Trade Deadline is so exciting is because there’s a clock. Any time NHL GMs are put under the gun, they are forced to show their cards concerning where they see the team heading not only this year but in the future as well.

The defending champions have a lot of balls in the air that the front office is being forced to juggle. From inconsistent results to multiple injuries to crucial players to expiring contracts on a few of the team’s leading scorers, the Golden Knights have a lot to think about before the clock strikes midnight (technically it’s noon) on March 8th.

The first, and probably most important, piece of information we will be able to gather from the Golden Knights’ actions before the trade deadline is the status of Mark Stone. The latest reporting on Stone indicates he suffered a lacerated spleen that could take anywhere from six weeks to six months to heal. TSN’s Darren Dreger on yesterday’s edition of Insider Trading indicated Vegas expects Stone to be out through the regular season, but called him questionable for the playoffs.

Obviously, the Golden Knights have more information on Stone’s health than even the most plugged-in insiders, but given their history, they are highly unlikely to share it. But, what happens at the deadline will give us a sneak peek into their expectations.

If Vegas buys one or more players on expiring contracts (and doesn’t sign them to immediate extensions), it will give a strong indication that they expect Stone back before their postseason run is over. On the flip side, if the targets are those with term, it points towards an uncertainty of Stone’s return.


It’s impossible to replace Stone’s production and value to the team. Buying players on expiring contracts means they are only available for one playoff run. If that playoff run is expected to be Mark Stone-less, their value to the organization is minimized. However, if Stone is expected to play, that one playoff run will be expected to deliver Vegas its second Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, if the Golden Knights buy players with term, it guarantees additional playoff runs, and in turn, more chances to win the Cup with Vegas’ captain healthy.

The next tip we’ll get from the Golden Knights is their plans for the future of their five key pending UFAs, Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, Michael Amadio, William Carrier, and Alec Martinez.

Of course, deadlines spur action, so there’s a realistic possibility a contract is signed by one or more of these players. But, even if it isn’t, there will be clues.

It will be shown by how much future salary the Golden Knights take on for next season and beyond. As it currently stands, Vegas has about $21 million in expected cap space to fill the rest of their roster next season. There is a scenario that exists in which it’s enough to re-sign everyone, but the more salary they add at this deadline, the clearer it will become that one or more of those five are not in the plans.

The Golden Knights are going to be active between now and next Friday, that much we know. What else we’ll learn along the way? We’ll have to wait another 170 hours or so to find out.




VGK Must Learn To “Get Out Of A Bad Stretch Quicker”


  1. Whatever pieces we prospectively may add will no doubt come at a ransoms price… GM’s recognize our situation and will want to extract even more from us given the overall disdain that is felt throughout the league about VGK.. perhaps they may want to dump a problem child on their roster to us… VGK certainly do not have a lot of assets to dangle either….whatever that is going to be done is going to take a lot of heart and ingenuity to pull off.. it’s been done before.. can it be done again?

    • Larry – hopefully Vegas learned a lesson or two concerning a problem child with Lehner. A guy no team kept despite how “great” they pond him off to be. I have a feeling concerning the five UFAs many fans are going to land up very disappointed in the final outcome.

  2. Pistol Pete

    CapFriendly scouting reports:

    Pavel Buchnevich:

    Jake Guentzel:

    According to these reports Buch is the far more complete player. He’s signed through 2024-25 @ $5.8m. If the Blues do deal him the price will be high. He’s the VGK’s best shot to fill in for Stone imo. And rent Henrique.

    Guentzel described as “barely average defensively”.

    Root for the Blues to lose, lose, lose heading down the stretch to the TD!

  3. Pistol Pete

    Also, we don’t know that Guentzel will be as good without Crosby.

  4. NAM

    Reilly Smith is going somewhere from PIT. The question is at what cost. We got a 3rd for him. I think we should offer a 2nd rounder. This gives Karl a partner again and would be a cheap way to get back what has been missing. Ammo was good enough on that line as well, you could move Marchy back to Jacks line w/ Barb.

    I don’t think this is good enough. I think this just puts things back to were missing this year. This year we have only had two good lines and Wild Bill’s always changing line. We need 3 good lines, closer to what we had in the playoffs last year. Line 4 with Roy and Kole are good enough with Rondbjerg (Carrier if avail) to do their job.

    All that said we need 1 more trade and this is where Stone comes in. Is it for his line or is it for his replacement. Certainly some one that can make L1 thru 3 good to great. So IMO I think 2 trades are coming.

    • Emmanuel

      Well there seems to be 2 needs:
      1. a scoring LW
      2. a shutdown 4/5/6 defenseman

      The over/under is 2 trades in the next week.

  5. Emmanuel

    There isnt a prospect/young player that MUST be kept. Everyone from Hague/Whitecloud to Cotter/Dorofeyev can be replaced. I would only hesitate on Brisson because its still up in the air what he will become. Two Cups in a row is immortality, go for it.

    • knights fan in minny

      you cant lose cloudy

      • Emmanuel

        Is it the 8 points or the -1 rating?

        He’s 27YO its all downhill from here….

      • No so sure cloudy couldn’t be replaced – he is not doing as well this year as he did last and has been guilty more often than not of turning the puck over at the most inopportune times. Not sure is as healthy as he could be.

    • NAM

      I agree 100% on what you said and was thinking that too, even down to your Brisson comments. I also think Miro should go too. Korczak would NOT be on the table. He has a ton of potential and ceiling.

  6. I would agree Minny.. personally I’d like for Hague to be moved.. he’s a great teammate without a doubt.. but if he can’t or won’t use that big frame to be a physical force.. his lack of offense and poor skating should make him expendable with Korczak more than capably willing to step in!!

  7. I would agree Minny..personally I’d like for Hague to be moved..he’s a great teammate without a doubt.. but if he can’t or won’t use that big frame to be a physical force.. his lack of offense and poor skating would make him expendable with Korczak more than capably waiting to step in!

    • knights fan in minny

      it sure is puzzling why hague is not more physical

      • JB

        In my opinion Minny, it goes back to each getting beat up early season. Hague and Kolly. Kolly got dropped with one punch by a much smaller guy. Hague got whipped pretty good by Jamie Benn. Neither has been physical since those fights months ago. I have preached for a couple years we need some tuffer Dmen. We’ll see? PS – I love all our D guys. They played their asses off in playoffs last year. As a fan from the very first game, I don’t want to ever lose anyone of our guys . But I know it does and will happen, like Smitty.

  8. NHhell

    the delay in making trades is concerning for several reasons.

    1- the team keeps losing games and getting passed very soon by Edm and LA and dropping to 4th in the Pacific

    2- the best players will be gone to other teams acting quickly, and only secondary crumbs will be available late next week.

    3- the necessary chemistry that needs to develop between new teammates will have only about 15 games to experiment to find the best combinations.

    I understand that it takes 2 to tango, and thus the GMs of the other teams control the agenda in their own interest, aka better offers from other teams.

    so Vgk front office is limited as to what deals they can hurry up to completion. But he who hesitates is lost, somebody once said.

    • NHhell – truer words were never spoken ” he who hesitates is lost, somebody once said. Vegas didn’t endear themselves last year with the LTIR situation, which some took to being shady (proven was not the case) but perception often speaks louder than fact so not sure anyone dealing will not want more than their pound of flesh.

  9. NHhell read my post as to why.

  10. Pistol Pete

    I suggest checking out the CapFriendly scouting reports on Buchnevich and Guentzel. Google it or go to CapFriendly (the drop down menu for players). I tried posting here twice with the links but apparently it’s not allowed. Buchnevich is rated 90, Guentzel 83. Guentzel is described as “barely average defensively” and Buch has nothing derogatory.

    Buch will cost because he has one year remaining @ $5.8m, excellent for a player of his caliber. Guentzel is on an expiring contract, will be cheaper to acquire but more expensive to sign.

    Root for STL to lose, lose, lose heading into the TD because they will be more likely to deal him if they slide further out of WC contention. Acquire Buch and rent Henrique. That is what I am praying for!

    • Pistol Pete

      ESPN suggested Buchnevich could be Brisson, Cormier, a first and a second. I would do that were I the Mc’s. Guentzel might work great with Eichel but Buch is my first overall choice. Good on the PK, good on the PP (though Guentzel is probably better), good 5-on-5, shoots, makes plays, only three pts under a point a game his three seasons with the Blues. Best forward available this TD imo. Can play both sides and center.

      • Tim

        Pistol Pete tell me your kidding. Your taking us back to one our worse trades Tatar for a first, second, and third. You want tp give Brisson and Cormier both with upside plus a first and second you are delusional if they did that I’d lose all respect for the splash brothers. You might as well throw in our #1 from Ottawa to sweeten the pot. I come on this site and sometimes I just shake my head at some of the posts. I’m sure many people shake there head at some of my posts but at least I’m not selling the farm.

    • NAM

      Doesn’t matter what you give up in a trade, who are you giving up next year? At 5.8mil are you letting Marchessault walk? Someone has to go or even a couple of guys if not Marchessault. Stephenson and Carrier, that is only 4.1 million combine?

      • NHhell

        Martinez likely will not be back. That is another 5.25M, and the cap goes up 4 mill more, plus Carrier and Howden totals 3.3M more……….so that is a total of more than 12.5 million available for raises for 81 and 20, and a new player like Buchnevich.

        • NHhell

          I should have added that replacements for Marty, Howden and Carrier might total about 3 or 4 Mill….so that would mean that they would have about 8.5 M for a new player and raises for 81 and 20.

          It would be tight, but possible.

          • NAM

            I am not convinced Martinez won’t be resigned. I would be pissed if it was any where near his current 5.2mil. He is long in the tooth, but still one of the better d men on this team. He could retire sure. Regardless, replacing him with Korczak would be a big cap savings, but I don’t think the d core would be as good, not factoring in another year of age.

            Why do you keep mentioning Howden? He still has another year on contract. Did i miss some news on him or something? Are you really talking about Amadio?

      • Pistol Pete

        No there is room for Buch’s $5.8 and extend
        Marchy, Stephenson, Amadio and Dorofeyev. Remember don’t extend Marty and the cap goes up is another $9.4. There is more space than you realize, like Ken quoted in the article about $21m to extend most all the players (leaves more than enough space for Buch’s $5.8). Maybe let Carrier walk 2024-25 and put Cotter in his spot. There’s another $1.4.

      • JB

        With what Marchy did in the playoffs and what he doing this year he will not be allowed to go. Period!

  11. Jim

    Western Conf. teams with better records than Vgk have already made big trades.

    Vancouver acquired Lindholm and Zadorov in separate trades.
    Winnipeg acquired Monahan.
    Dallas acquired Tanev.

    Vgk acquired ??????????

  12. Question… if Buch is all this and that why are blues thinking of moving such a valuable piece??

  13. knights fan in minny

    hockey news reporting vegas linked to nic dowd

    • NHhell

      if the Vgk are looking at Dowd, who is a 4th line center, then it means that they intend to keep Roy in the top 9

      maybe they have decided to go affordable, and just add a few players on lower cost contracts, with much lower acquisition costs in players and picks.

      • NHhell

        Dowd is signed for one more season after this with a 1.3m cap hit

      • PistolPete

        Wouldn’t moving Roy up provide the opportunity to let Stephenson walk? He’s really valuable at times but is streaky. Long stretches with low offensive production,

        • Pistol Pete

          Dowd is 33 years old so I don’t see him as a viable replacement for Roy on the 4th. Stephenson has been a good deal for Vegas and may still be the answer for Stone. His points are down this season but did 64 and 65 the preceding two. Fairly sure they want to keep him around.$4.5 tops?

  14. Whatever may end up being done.. or even not being done.. if we get fully healthy Eichel Carrier and Pavel.. and of course Stone…big ifs…our team is strong enough to repeat when we roll our 4 lines out there which will also take the heat off the defense and goaltending as well!

    • David Parker

      With Stone off the cap for the remainder of the season VGK is now the easiest trade partner of the contenders.
      VGK will not require their trade partners to retain salary for this year or/and require the inclusion of a 3rd GM to take on salary.

      With Eichel returning, this team slowly showing signs of their relentful selves and my trust in Bruce’s ability to improve them during this time of the year, we’re in a pretty good shape right now. 1 or 2 additions and the potential return of Stone (almost certain) in the playoffs and we ourselves a hell of a chance to repeat!

  15. NHhell

    Avs traded MacDermid to NJ to clear some cap space. probably means that they are about to acquire a big time forward.

  16. knights fan in minny

    buckle up fellas this should be good

  17. David VanderKlipp

    With Stone off the cap for the remainder of the season VGK is now the easiest trade partner of the contenders.
    VGK will not require their trade partners to retain salary for this year or/and require the inclusion of a 3rd GM to take on salary.

    With Eichel returning, this team slowly showing signs of their relentful selves and my trust in Bruce’s ability to improve them during this time of the year, we’re in a pretty good shape right now. 1 or 2 additions and the potential return of Stone (almost certain) in the playoffs and we ourselves a hell of a chance to repeat!

  18. Bobby

    What is that weird smear in the picture? Am I seeing things? A UFO orb, a Black Sabbath album cover? lol.

  19. The hockey God

    VGK don’t have goods to make these big name players work, without giving away the barn. Most likely they will shoot for under the radar player.

    meanwhile dems and biden are blaming all the problems they created on everything from their epic failure of “border bill ” to putin to Trump’s new choos.

    what a bunch of losers, no one is buying the lib tard bull shit.

    biden created this mess, he owns it.

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