Through five games, newcomer Ivan Barbashev has seemingly fit right in. He’s connected well with star center Jack Eichel and fellow wing Jonathan Marchessault on Vegas’ new top line. So far, he’s a point-per-game player and the trio has been responsible for four goals in 15 periods.
The 27-year-old implied he’s learning on the fly and adding his blend of talent and toughness. A recipe that succeeds in the playoffs.
I’m trying to play simple. I’m playing with Jack and Marchy, so it’s real easy to play with them. I’m trying to make some plays for them and it’s working real well. It’s the way I play. Be more physical and mix it up with skill. -Ivan Barbashev
Overall, the trade with St. Louis has been highly graded by NHL coaches, GMs, and insiders.
I think he’s going to go down as one of the best acquisitions of the deadline by any team. He’s not going to be the biggest but I think he’s going to be one of the best. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
Vegas’ acquisition didn’t create the same amount of attention as the Jacob Chychrun or Timo Meier trade but it wasn’t overlooked. Hours after the deal was complete, Barbashev’s former coach Craig Berube fondly expressed his admiration for the forward’s growth and style of play. The Blues coach credited Barbashev and his linemates for providing identity during their successful 2019 Stanley Cup run.
Berube on Barbashev-Sundqvist-Steen line in Cup run: "They were a real identity line for us. They did a great job throughout the playoffs on the PK, checking and contributing offensively. There was always something good happening with them out there." #stlblues
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) February 27, 2023
While no one can replace Mark Stone on or off the ice, Barbashev’s ability to fill the hole with Eichel and Marchessault is a promising sign for the postseason. The seven-season veteran worked his way up in St. Louis, and under a demanding coach. Berube expects a lot out of his players and it paid off for them in 2019. The grueling and rewarding experience of winning the Stanley Cup is another benefit the Golden Knights get with Barbeshev.
I think he’s the perfect fit for the identity of what the Vegas Golden Knights want to be. Just hard, a pain, skilled and can play a lot of different ways. I think he’s going to be a perfect fit. –Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
Keep in mind, statesman Alex Pietrangelo won the 2019 Stanley Cup with Barbashev. You’d have to think #7 endorsed the move. That should add more confidence to an already confident Golden Knights locker room.