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It’s Unrealistic, But Tarasenko Addition Could Be The Difference VGK Needs To Become Back-To-Back Champs

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

In order to win back-to-back Stanley Cups, the Golden Knights will need a lot to go right and receive contributions from their entire roster, like what occurred in the 2022-23 season. If we’re being honest, not many predicted Chandler Stephenson to land on 49 helpers, and nobody expected 16 goals from William Carrier and Michael Amadio. We could keep going. Consider this, Nic Roy, Phil Kessel, Paul Cotter, Keegan Kolesar, Pavel Dorofeyev, and Brett Howden combined for a total of 62 regular season goals. It was the complete opposite of what the Golden Knights got back in the 2021-22 season. Looking back, the production from depth players was one of the reasons Vegas was the last NHL team standing.

So, will relying on the returning cast of offensive characters be enough in 2023-24?

It’s no secret that one of the league’s most dangerous snipers over the past ten years is still without a contract. To NHL standards, Vladimir Tarasenko is considered long in the tooth but still a valuable commodity for any team in need of offense. At this moment, the 16th overall pick in 2010 is mulling, listening, and seeking the best deal for him and his family. Most teams, including the Golden Knights, would love Tarasenko’s services but only a handful can fit him in their salary cap plans for next season.

It’s been reported that the 31-year-old is seeking an annual salary of $7M or more. The majority of NHL teams have nowhere near that much cap space, most notably the Golden Knights. Tarasenko silently stuck to his guns by turning down several offers close to his price point, including one with the Carolina Hurricanes. While he could still end up in Raleigh, the career 270 goal-scorer hasn’t given up on his desired compensation. Which leads us to Vegas.

With little to no wiggle room, it would be unlikely the Golden Knights could agree to terms with Tarasenko and his new agents. Remember, Vegas was rumored to be a possible suitor for the Russian native at the trade deadline so there was interest back in March.

It’s hard mentally a little bit to change things. For me, I like old stuff. I use old equipment for many, many years. I cannot switch. But I’m happy for a new challenge. -Vladimir Tarasenko

Tarasenko to Vegas does actually make some sense, assuming his price comes way down. His new agents have worked plenty of deals with the Golden Knights (and Vegas drafted one of their sons). Also, Tarasenko would be reunited with former Blues teammates Alex Pietrangelo and Ivan Barbashev. Based off his words, being comfortable and quick adjustment might be enough to convince the All-Star winger to consider Vegas. Finally, there’s the most obvious reason, the Golden Knights are the reigning champions. If a player is looking for a place that will give him a chance to win, there’s no better place than Vegas right now.

Now, let’s step out of Xanadu for a minute. Vegas has already moved cap space in order to keep Barbashev and Adin Hill. Eliminating more money would be difficult without touching the Cup-winning core. Without taking a significant discount, convincing Tarasenko to forgo more money in order to make another cup run seems unrealistic. Golden Knights fans would love to see Vladdy light the lamp in Las Vegas but it’s an impulse purchase their favorite team doesn’t necessarily need. Heck, if Vegas’ depth scorers continue to produce, the 2023 Stanley Cup champions will be in a position to repeat.

It’s good to be a Golden Knights fan right now.


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  1. Richie-Rich

    How about an incentive laden contract? Incentives do not correct against the Cap, correct? What might that look like?

    • B-Rad-Lee

      He’s not eligible:

      What is a Performance Bonus?
      A Performance Bonus can be given to a player in addition to their salary. Performance bonuses are only paid to the player if they meet the requirements as defined by the bonus. Performance bonuses count against the salary cap; however, a team can exceed the salary cap due to performance bonuses by the maximum performance bonus cushion amount of 7.5 percent of the upper limit. Not all players are eligible for Performance Bonuses, and to receive a bonus within their contract, a player must meet one of the following criteria:
      * The player is on an entry-level contract. [nope]
      * The player has signed a one-year contract and is over 35 years old. [He’s 31]
      * The player has signed a one-year contract after returning from a long-term injury (has played 400 or more games, and spent 100 or more days on the Injured Reserve in the last year of their most recent contract). [nope]

    • Jay

      They count against next years salary cap, it’s not that they don’t count.

  2. Jale

    Rotate LTIR players throughout the year. Rested and healthy, for the playoffs where the cap is dissolved by The Wizard of Oz.

    There is no place like LTIR

    There is no place like LTIR

    There is no place like LTIR

    Does Tarasenko play defense?

  3. knights fan in minny

    no they don’t need him

  4. Jailbird

    I say no on this guy. We don’t need him. We are fine!

  5. Pistol Pete

    McCrimmon is not looking to bring in anyone from
    the outside, not this season. He wants to return the exact same roster just without Smith unfortunately. Him and Cassidy are hoping the ten years younger Dorofeyev can replace him. This will be the last year of Marchy’s contract. If they do well especially if they repeat as champs I can see extending Marchy though he’ll turn 35 the December of the 2024-25 season. I could see him being replaced by a William Nylander if they can swing a deal like that. Personally I would not mind if Marchy has a great season and gets extended but McCrimmon will need to weigh replacing him with a much younger RW like Nylander similar to replacing Smith with Barbashev.

  6. Jack

    Can’t we just put somebody on IR till the playoffs again this year? That’s how we wont he cup this year but legally but unethically hiding money there, let’s do it again!

  7. Michael

    Slow news day, huh?

    ‘Why This Player Vegas Can In No Way Afford Would Make Us Better’

  8. Roberto

    Unrealistic, but not nearly as unrealistic as in other off seasons when the cap wasn’t like it is now. A one-year deal would be ‘OK’ for him considering the market. Get here, play with elite talent, hopefully win a Cup, and next year when money is flowing more freely, get his last big long term deal with strong AAV.

    Again, not likely but not entirely out of the question. Another reason to appreciate the VGK org, which navigated the Escrow Seas, and the Narrow Cap Straights quite nicely to set up a good run next year. Good health and good breaks are what they need, not better players. Can’t get better than that in personnel management.

  9. Tim

    It a nice thought how much does he want to win another Stanley Cup and what team would give him he’s best chance? Of coarse 7 million is out of the question but a one year for how much would get it done? With Petro and Ivan on the team and former teammates we might have a chance. I can see it now Ivan, Pavel, and Vladimir we would have our own Russian line as Detroit did many years ago. What the hell we can dream can’t we. In reality Pavel and Paul in house cheap choices would be much more manageable.

    • Emmanuel

      The Green Unit are probably the 5 greatest players to play together in hockey history. Thats quite a stretch!

  10. Michael

    The article has already said other teams have gotten close on salary, including Carolina, who are as final four team that could potentially kick on and win a cup just as likely as VGK retaining it. This whole thing is pure fantasy.

    • Richie-Rich

      Troy Terry as well as Vilardi. LOOK KESSEL IS AVAILABLE!

      • knights fan in minny

        terry would be nice but i dont think he would leave the ducks

  11. trade

    complete horseshit. how did the NYR do after adding 2 badly fading former stars? Kane and Tarasenko.

    they got eliminated in the first round, and then proceeded to let both of them walk. THAT is how unwanted they are now, they are over the hill, and just cashing checks. and, they are also defensive liabilities to boot.

    no effin way.

    • Michael

      Completely agree. VGK front office is too clever to make such a bone headed move.

  12. Michael

    Anyway, looking forward to the ‘It may be unrealistic, but here’s how Vegas could add Connor McDavid’ article tomorrow.

  13. Jailbird

    Ha ha, yea really! Knights are not going to add anyone who won’t fit into Bruce’s system. And yes, NYR added those two big names then got booted, then weren’t even interested in signing them.

  14. Pistol Pete

    Tarasenko is past his prime it seems. Marchy is older but is performing better than Vlad. As I posted above Marchy becomes an FA at the close of 2023-24. McCrimmon will have to decide whether to extend a guy turning 35 December 2024 or find a much younger RW like Nylander who admittedly may be too expensive. It’s unlikely he extends Martinez and the cap is expected to go up at least $4m so we’ll see what Kelly does. Whatever he decides it will be the right way to go. He won us the Cup making the right moves. He’ll make plenty more of them. Best GM in the NHL.

  15. Pistol Pete

    As anyone who reads me can guess I am expecting big things from Dorofeyev including even more physicality. He’ll come to camp all amped up.

    • Pistol Pete

      I should have added Pav (and Cotter) will be busting their butts to fill Smith’s shoes. I give the edge to Dorofeyev just because I think he’s a better stick handler and finesse player. Cotter will come in handy though and may scratch Amadio. We’ll see.

  16. Richie-Rich

    Cotter is closer to Carrier, or even Barbashev in terms of what he brings to the ice. Dorofeyev? Quite like Smith, but needs to grow into it and prove himself.

  17. Pistol Pete

    Agree R-R. Almost a certainty Cassidy’s design is Amadio-Karlsson-Dorofeyev based on how good Pav was with Smith and Karlsson. I prefer to see Roy stay as center on the 4th but it’s been suggested Cassidy could move him up to wing on the Karlsson line. Assuming Dorofeyev succeeds with Karlsson it will be up to Cotter to push Amadio out as a scratch. Assuming Roy-Karlsson-Dorofeyev is viable, Amadio might center the 4th leaving Cotter as the 4th line scratch. Of course injuries change things. Btw assuming Dorofeyev are both re-signed (a near certainty) there will still be only be 13 forwards on the roster unless somebody is brought up from Henderson.

    • Pistol Pete

      Somebody did recently suggest if Roy is moved up to wing that Amadio could replace him as 4th line center. That is true as Amadio is listed as center and right wing (pretty sure he’d play LW if necessary). Howden could also center the 4th leaving open LW on the Stephenson-Stone line.

      • Richie-Rich

        Kessell is still available at $1.5m, but he’d have to agree to let the streak end. He’s still got legs for the regular season. I believe there is still room, but I would like to see Cotter and Doro this year.

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