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Is Vancouver Prepared To Take the West From Vegas?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you watched yesterday’s 2024 NHL All-Star draft, you would have noticed the absence of the reigning Stanley Cup champions and the abundance of players from a team scheming to crush the Golden Knights’ dreams of repeating. And no, it wasn’t Edmonton Oilers.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs are hosting the ASG, the team with the most representatives resides in Western Canada. The Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks were awarded five All-Star selections and traded for a sixth on Monday. Add in coach Rick Tocchet, and 26.9% of the West’s attendees are made up of Canucks. So, it’s understandable why Vancouver aggressively made a trade with the Calgary Flames for center Elias Lindholm. Like Vegas, Vancouver now boasts one of the stronger center units in all of hockey.

We all know the matchups going down the stretch here, the last 33 games. That’s where you need your four lines to be strong… in the two-way game. That’s where we felt that adding a piece like Elias here for the cost of what we paid, for now but potentially for the future as well, it was something that we felt strong about. –Patrik Allvin, Canucks GM in press conference

Clearly, the Golden Knights are in a win-now mode. They’re reigning champions, of course, they want to raise the Stanley Cup again. Vegas has company though. The Canucks made noise on Wednesday night trading for the 29-year-old Lindholm. It was an announcement to the Western Conference that they are in an expedited win-now mode. Forgot the years of playoff disappointments and growth, the Canucks front office proclaimed, ‘screw it, let’s win it now.’

Vegas trails Vancouver by seven points in the Pacific Division with three matchups remaining this season. There’s a strong chance those battles could decide which team captures the division.

The players and the coaches have worked hard to get to where they are, and we felt giving them a better chance to win was the right thing to do. And Lindholm was one of the top players that was going to be available in the trade market and we went out and got him. We’re not the same team that people were talking about (before the season) struggling to get into a wildcard spot. We’ve improved our team dramatically with some of the changes.- Jim Rutherford, Canucks President in press conference

Going into the second half of the season the Golden Knights are focused on their roster and their schedule. As Vegas’ lineup continues to heal, other Pacific teams are circling the waters. Edmonton is one win away from making history, Vancouver is attempting to pull away with the division, oh and they’re both partying up in Hogtown. Meanwhile, Vegas is refreshing and resting all week in preparation for a competitive second half of the season.

But let’s give them credit, making a move for a former 42-goal scorer, might have been Vancouver’s first official flex to the Pacific Division.

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34 Comments

  1. Doug MacLeod

    With Winnipeg adding Monahan this morning, the next few weeks in the West will be interesting!

  2. Richie-Rich

    We will probably add Phil the Thrill!

    The race for the Division Title isn’t over. But the team has certainly followed the same path it did last year almost exactly.

    The bottom line is that they have put themselves behind the 8 ball just like year and they’re going to have to go on a significant winning streak to recapture the magic they had last year.

    Can they do it?
    Of course they can.

  3. Emilio

    The division is there for the taking. I don’t care who goes up against the Knights. When the Knights bring it, they’re the best team in the league. Whether they finish 1st or with a wildcard spot, it honestly won’t matter. Knights will be at the Stanley Cup Championship. Lets go!

  4. ThG

    book of haggai
    the devil is on your case, to break you
    the only way to withstand the devil is with God’s help.

    • TS

      Well, some progress at last! The “cut- and- paste” garbage is now ” NOT Available”!! O.m.g….the wonders of site moderation are a marvel of technology!!

      • JB

        Why come back TS and stir up trouble?

        • TS

          Jb, I’m not ” stirring up trouble”, merely acknowledging the blackouts of the BS. Cudis to whoever decided to show some control on this Hockey site.

      • knights fan in minny

        good to hear you ts

        • TS

          Thnx, minny
          You may be the only one who feels that way. I will continue to steer clear of the political controversy here…but I am pleased to see some Site restraint and control over the BS. I do miss Hockey talk, though!

  5. FG

    The Pacific regular season is lost. VGK needs to get healthy, acquire a winger at the deadline and get ready for the playoffs. They will likely finish third and have to beat Vancouver and Edmonton to get to the WCF and then Dallas, Colorado or Winnipeg. Yikes!

  6. Tim

    The West is no longer a cupcake division. Three legitimate teams in Vancouver, Edmonton, and us. I fear Demko in Vancouver tuff to score against and McDavid in Edmonton as seen last night he truly is the best player in the world. It’s going to be a fun 33 games where every game counts towards seating for the playoffs. Say what you want and you don’t care where we land we’ll beat them all is nonsense. The higher were seated the easier the path to the Stanley Cup is. Keep in mind we’ve won one theres a lot more pressure on Vancouver and Edmonton to make it to the top of the mountain.

  7. Robbie

    Vegas has traded Pavel Dorofeyev, Brett Howden, Brendan Brisson, 1st round pick in 2024 and a conditional 3rd round pick in 2025 for Jake Guentzel. Pittsburgh will retain 50% of Guentzel’s remaining salary.

    Reports also suggest that Guentzel will sign a 6 year extension with a 8.8 million dollar annual cap hit.

  8. Jose

    Brayden Pachal has been placed on waivers.

  9. Jose

    Maybe they needed the cap space to accommodate bringing Karlsson off LTIR.

  10. Jose

    Also, Daniil Miromanov is healthy again and they can’t send him to Henderson without clearing waivers. So they had to choose between Miromanov or Pachal.

  11. Tim

    I’ve been researching the net and I don’t see anything suggesting we traded for Jake Guentzel until confirmation I will put it the bullshit column.

  12. Jose

    I meant fake news about the bullshit that Robbie was saying.

  13. Jose

    Calgary Flames have claimed Brayden Pachal from waivers. The captain of the Henderson Silver Knights is now Calgary Flame.

    • Richie-Rich

      Very solid defensemen, age 24 lost. At $775K he has a bright future. McCrimmon decided to sign Hutton instead of investing in the future.

      Hutton is 30 years old and is not a top defenseman.

      I think this was an unforced error.

      Worse, it’s a divisional opponent.

  14. Richie-Rich

    Ben Hutton has not had a stellar career. His plus/minus stats, offense and production did not warrant him a spot on this team (IMHO). Sure, he has played better as a Knight but he’s only getting about 15 minutes TOI. Would Pachal at $775K been any worse? You decide.

    https://www.nhl.com/goldenknights/player/ben-hutton-8477018

    • Jose

      Richie Rich, something to consider. Daniil Miromanov was only able to go to the minors for a very short period of time on a conditioning student, and then either had to be called up or put on waivers. Ben Hutton is injured. I don’t think you are allowed to put an injured player on waivers. So that ruled out Ben Hutton. Tobias Bjornfort is now healthy again and practising today. So it appears the choice may have come down to either Pachal, Miromanov or Bjornfort. Bjornfort is 22 years old and a former 1st round pick.

  15. Jose

    When in doubt trust the greatest front office in the history of professional sports.

  16. Jose

    It’s a shame they couldn’t sneak him through waivers, but I can’t understand any negativity when you look at the big picture. Miromanov back from a terrible injury. Kaeden Korczak who is just a kid and passed Pachal on the depth chart. That’s good news. How many teams in the league can put their 11th best defenceman on waivers and have him picked up. That’s pretty impressive depth. That should be celebrated.

  17. Richie-Rich

    @JesseGranger_
    Trade Board: Reilly Smith
    The Golden Knights don’t have many glaring weaknesses entering trade deadline season. If they were to add a winger, there’s an interesting name on the Trade Board:

    Reilly Smith

    What would that look like in terms of salary retention by Pittsburgh and more importantly what would they want in return?

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