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Looking Forward To Trade Deadline Targets

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you’ve listened to a Periscope or Podcast over the last month or so you’ve probably heard me reference VGK’s need to improve their bottom-six.

To this point, the Golden Knights have iced seven variations of 3rd and 4th lines and to this point the success has been limited, despite playing mostly poor competition.

LineTOIGGACorsi ForChance %
*All stats from

As you can see in the numbers, the 3rd line has had much more success than the 4th, but still not enough to feel like they can help carry Vegas to a Cup. Of the three different 4th line combos, the Golden Knights have allowed four goals while scoring just one. They’ve been out-shot and out-chanced significantly as well.

This is why rather than the Golden Knights attacking a high-priced superstar player at the deadline like they have in the past, I believe it would be in their best interest to add down the lineup and essentially rebuild the bottom-six.

We’re still a ways off from the deadline, which means more teams could find themselves as sellers come April 12th. However, I’ve started to compile a list of some of the players that may be good targets for Vegas to round out a roster that belongs in the Stanley Cup conversation.

Pavel Buchnevich
New York Rangers
Cap Hit: $3.25M (RFA at season’s end)

The Rangers are in a bit of a weird place. On one hand, they have declared they are rebuilding and even sent their fan base a letter stating such, while on the other they are going out and signing mega free agents like Artemi Panarin and extending guys like Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba. Buchnevich has been a major part of the team for quite a while and is under RFA control at season’s end, but one has to wonder if they’d be willing to part ways for the right price.

In Panarin’s absence, Buchnevich has found himself shuffled around the lineup, even at one point playing on the Rangers’ 3rd line. The price would be significant, probably upwards of a 1st round pick, but the idea of placing him on the 3rd line next to Tuch and Glass is exciting. This would begin the process of moving players like Roy and Kolesar down the VGK lineup, bolstering both the 3rd and 4th lines.

Mattias Janmark
Chicago Blackhawks
Cap Hit: $2.25M (UFA at season’s end)

You may remember Janmark from being a pain in the Golden Knights’ rear with the Stars during last postseason. While he didn’t have any points in that series, he can put them up. He registered three points including a goal in the Stanley Cup Final and has plenty of playoff experience (45 games to be exact). He signed a one-year deal with Chicago and they may look to move him for cheap at the deadline, assuming their early-season success tails off.

Janmark is a much more reliable player than anyone currently on the Vegas 4th line and would likely fit in well offensively if matched up with other offensive options. He’s a former 3rd round pick and put up 15 goals in his rookie year and 19 the following, that’s substantially more than Vegas is used to seeing down their lineup.

Calle Jarnkrok
Nashville Predators
Cap Hit: $2 million (2 years left on contract)

The Predators stink, like, really stink. They are going to have to start a major rebuild and anyone with any semblance of value is going to be available. Jarnkrok has double-digit goals each of the last five seasons and failed to reach 15 just once. He’s a much more skilled player than Kolesar, Reaves, or Carrier and would instantly change the makeup of the 4th line. He’s played much higher up the Predators lineup, including recently slotting in on the 2nd line with Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund. He’s not a true rental but the price shouldn’t be too high considering the Predators positioning in the standings.

Alex Iafallo
Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $2.425M (UFA at season’s end)

If the Kings are smart, Iafallo should be in their future plans. But, when teams are struggling, they’ll listen on any pending UFA, which Iafallo is after four seasons in Los Angeles. Iafallo can score, he plays with pace, has the ability to play in the center or on the wing and he knows the division well. If Vegas were to go get him, they’d probably want to stick him on the left side of Glass and Tuch, but if they couple this move with another, maybe he could take Glass’s role as the 3rd line center. Imagine a group of Tuch, Iafallo, and Buchnevich leaving Glass, Roy, and Nosek as the 4th line. That’s a roster as deep as any in the league and certainly in the West Division.

Rocco Grimaldi
Nashville Predators
Cap Hit: $2M (2 years left on contract)

Grimaldi is not exactly the sexiest name the Golden Knights could add, but the upgrade he would represent over Reaves or Carrier is immense. Vegas would have to admit they no longer have a checking 4th line as Grimaldi’s 5’6″ stature doesn’t exactly fit the mold of what Vegas’ 4th line has been. However, he’s a gritty player who has proven he can produce at the NHL level. His 58 career points in 166 games are just 14 short of what Carrier and Reaves have produced since they have been Golden Knights (combined 362 games). He’s a little guy, a feisty guy, he gets shots on net, and is reliable enough in his own end. Matched with bigger bodies like Nosek, Roy, and Kolesar, he could change the look and feel of the Vegas 4th line.

Of course, to make any of this happen the Golden Knights would need to open up some cap space. If they choose to move a goalie, they’d be able to add any two players off this list without asking the trade partner to hold any salary. Otherwise, names like Reaves, Martinez, Holden, and Nosek would have to be considered to be moved in order to open up space for even one.

It will take a lot of maneuvering, and it will likely dip into the future asset pool that the Golden Knights have been pretty protective of, but if the Golden Knights want to win the Stanley Cup, this lineup has a much better chance than the one they’ve got.


The NHL is a copycat league. This is what the Lightning did last year adding Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, and Pat Maroon. No reason for Vegas not to give it a go themselves.


Vegas And Colorado Preparing For Inevitable Postseason Showdown

Next Podcast #222: Beating Colorado


  1. Jason

    It was strange the other night because I thought the 4th line the other night was probably the best I’ve seen them. But most other nights they were unplayable. I think we must add some speed but I think our GM is tied to old school thinking.

  2. Pistol Pete

    Well thought out Ken.

  3. Aaron


    • Chances are we don’t keep him after this season, he’s solid but he costs alot and will be a free agent. Love to see him stay but doubt we re sign him

  4. A VGK Fan

    Another long article by Ken in justifying getting rid of Ryan Reaves. Give it up already, Ken….Reaves aint going anywhere!

    And how about when you were talking about trading Fleury cause you didnt like spending $12M on goalies…good thing VGK didnt listen to you then either!

    Can Karp and Jason write the next few articles? Tired of reading Ken’s recycled spiel.

    • Daryl

      You do realize VGK did everything they could think of to get rid of MAF. You make it sound like this was their plan all along. And face it Reaves is absolutely useless. He was given a raise when all this BLM bullshit was going on and he’s played worse ever since.

      I think this team needs a top line Center more than anything but revamping the 3rd and 4thines would definately help as well

      • Samael

        So many words to sum up your racist bias. Wow.

        • Daryl

          What a clueless tool. WOW!

          Sometimes the truth hurts. If you honestly believe Reaves deserved that raise and that everything going on didn’t impact his raise then you really are clueless

  5. Dean

    Do you think we’d be able to get any of these players in exchange for Lehner without eating too much of his salary?

    • Julie

      Is Lehner tradeable right now? I mean he is out with a secret injury. I guess anything is possible in 2 months.

      • Julie, Dean – what is all this posting about getting rid of the elite walrus we just signed that “prize”. And to think he has a 5 yr deal. I realize the pro of posts says Lehner (Panda) isn’t going anywhere maybe he knows no one would want him. I have noticed no one is suggesting getting rid of Fluery anymore – amazing how fickle some people are.

        • Julie

          HD, thanks for the humor in Lehner. Tim is predicting, I believe tongue-in-cheek, that it will be Fleury who gets traded. The Penguins will have some groveling to do. I read a SinBin tweet that PDB doesn’t think Lehner is going to Tahoe and will be back sooner than later. Surely, this has happened before…player gets big contract, player gets injury and is out. Do they usually get traded if they are injured? I guess if the team finds them still valuable.

          To be honest, I would like to see Dansk take a game. We are back to the original problem where Fleury needs a good backup. Why not let Dansk get going like the other younger players? They had him suit up already.

    • Courtney

      Lebner is the best person to give up in this scenario. He’s still hurt and hasn’t been performing like expected and Fleury is more than ready.

  6. VegasMarc1

    What we really need to shed are those hideous gold helmets. Who’s with me?

  7. Stan Kovaleski

    I’m not against any reasonable trades but I wouldn’t trade any of our defensemen, especially not Martinez. He has been as good as he has ever been in Vegas and between possible future injuries (like NcNabb & Theodore recently) and the less than stellar play so far of our new $7M dollar defenseman, we need Martinez’s experience. I believe is he around a plus/minus of +10. Our young defensemen are playing great and the future is bright with them, but I believe winning the Cup needs experience now. I like Tuch and Carrier because of their speed and I think the shuffling that has gone on hasn’t helped their production. I really like Reaves, but he is really slow this year and has multiple opportunities to put the puck in the net and hasn’t. However, I don’t think anyone would want him because of his slowness and contract.

  8. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    I would imagine most all teams constantly look at how to improve 3rd & 4th lines, and stay within cap. That breakdown of lines you have listed, coming from trades, is a pipe-dream at best. They won’t trade Lehner or Reeves, IMO. With his great upside, I also think Tuch is untouchable. I do agree though, they should stay away from trying to make yet another big splash at deadline and try and find a hidden gem or two (such as #20 & #23) that might help. Personally, if both our goalies are healthy, I think we have the team right now, to win the cup!

  9. Julie

    Rocco Grimaldi may be headed for the chopping block per Pro Hickey Rumors. So, maybe a chance if he can improve VGK.

  10. Tim

    Ken your going to like my predictions. Lehner has a back problem not another shoulder problem and if he’s healthy and that’s a big if Fleury will be traded to the Penguins after next Tuesday’s game. Fleury will start the Lake Tahoe game and if Lehner plays well the next game Fleury is gone. The Penguins are desperate and they want to bring Fleury home and after last years BS I’m sure he’ll be happy to go. That frees up a lot of cash and as good as he’s playing we won’t have to retain any part of his contract and may get a good young prospect thrown in. The Penguins will have to do some maneuvering on the cap to make it happen.

    • Mike StG

      Tim – Wow that IS a bold prediction! Especially with all the denials from both teams. I don’t think it would be a wise move, but if they went that route maybe they can get Teddy Blueger in return to shore up the bottom 6. Kid has skills, makes a couple hits each game, versatile fit at C/LW for Vegas. They could throw in DeSmith too to give us a decent backup in goal.

      • Tim

        Mike, The new management of the Penguins have made no bones about it they love Fleury that’s been documented so time will tell.

    • Daryl

      As a Pens fan, I would’ve ok with that lol

    • Tim – I have it on authority Fluery isn’t going anywhere ( LOL) Does that sound like some posts on this site – the authority I mean. We know there are no sacred cows and as stated by some now getting rid of the “elite prize” Lehner may not be such a bad idea after all as he is no replacement for Fluery on or off the ice.
      No sure IMO why they even bother keeping Reaves on the team let alone play – he can’t get out of his own way. His last scuffle ( can’t call it a fight) he didn’t do to well.

  11. Mike StG

    Very good piece Ken, and I agree with a potential move to improve bottom 6. If you follow Kings they’re not desperate and Iafallo is part of their rebuild, so he’s not likely. Jarnkrok is interesting, as he can slot in at C, LW or RW, and can also play up & down the lineup. Plus he’s got another year on his contract and could be someone they might resign. Would like to see Roy stay on L3 with Glass & Tuch where he can produce. L4 is no threat to score at all, so Roy’s talents are wasted there. Carrier draws penalties but his offensive skills are really limited, and even when Nosek returns can’t expect we’ll see much from Reaves.

  12. B-Rad-Lee

    I would prefer to acquire a 2C. That would move the Karlson line up a notch (damn, they’re fast), put someone stronger than Stephenson between Patches and Stone, allow Stephenson to move to 3C between Tuch and Roy, and move Glass to 4C. Would cost a lot less than Ken’s suggestions. Personally, I *like* the fourth line. Gutsy, gritty, hard charging. Glass would add an element of play making to that line and give him a chance to mature.

  13. Rob

    I’m down with picking up Iofallo, but I’d put him on the 3rd line wing with Glass and Tuch. Plus we need another Alex / Alec on the team to keep the casual followers honest. Or another Nick, if there’s a good one available. Maybe bring Cousins back?

  14. Sayers

    Question Ken, why are the Knights playing Kolesar so much? He was not even close to the best player on their AHL roster, not that productive. Henderson has quite a few good options it seems – murphy, duke and o’regan, patrick brown, and of course Krebs, Dugan, and Sikura have looked fast and skilled. Kolesar looks better than Reeves imo and would be a good replacement there.

    And when Nosek got hurt, why move Roy to 4th line? The 3rd line has looked good when it was roy, glass and rich, and your analysis proves it. They were just getting momentum and timing down. So move Roy to 4th line and Kolesar to 3rd totally disrupts 2 lines now. Should have just moved Kolesar to 4th to replace Nosek. Then you only are disrupting one line, not two. The 3rd finally looked like it was developing into what could be a dangerous line and then they broke it up.

    Kolesar seems fine, but is getting quite a few grade a chances and can’t seem to bury anything. To improve the 3rd or 4th line what is your opinion on the potential of the HSK players rather than always giving up the VGK future, which hasn’t gotten them over the hump. The development of Glass, White cloud, Hague and Coghlin have proven beyond any speculation the incredible value of holding on to your AHL talent.

  15. I agree that Reaves is useless. He looks lost on the ice and can’t even catch players to make a body check like he use to. I’m not sure Roy is a NHL’er either. Decent size and speed but doesn’t finish. I think Carrier has grit and speed and if he was paired with Glass and Tuch would have a banner year. I also think if all of the forwards played up to their ability, we have a team now that could win the Cup.

  16. sb

    Read the article ………… I’m lost on this one. Getting rid of Reaves, Carrier and Nosek only nets $4.4 mil …… big if …… that any GM would be willing to take any of them AND pay their salaries. The suggested players coming in would cost $6 to 7 million. Now how do you do that when VGK’s are already above the cap? How? By trading Matinez and creating another problem? That’s not an answer. Absolutely move the zero production 4th liners and recoup the $4.4m. But Vegas already has the replacement 4th line – Brown, Kolesar and Roy for $2.1 mil. I guarantee these 3 will put up more points then the present 4th line. Vegas has ONE problem – a big hole at center, Line 1. Gotta trade draft choices and bring in a Top Notch #1 center who will complement those weapons Pac and Stone. Move Stephenson to the third line with Tuch and Glass. This rearrangement brings the Cup home to Las Vegas. Forget this Lehner move stuff. No GM would take him for $5 mil X 5 years. That’s a pipe dream. He’s here to stay for better or worse.

    • SB- that’s very interesting forget about Lehnrr – no GM would take him – what’s going on here He is the elite prize walrus that Vegas rolled over and got screwed with. Just another dumb move by the “splash brothers ” . Ken as l recall was all for getting rid of Fluery – a leader of the knights on and off the ice. Now performing as good if not better than ever. They have zero chance at the Cup if they depend on the walrus.

      • I’ve always been on favor of moving a goalie. I think it is wasteful cap management to have both. Since VGK committed to a long term deal with Lehner this offseason, my assumption was they see him as the future of the position. Thus yes, I was in favor of trading Fleury. However, if you want to go back, I was not in favor of firing Gallant, I was not in favor of firing Prior, I was not in favor of trading for Lehner. So, while that was my opinion after all that was done, it’s not indicative of how I would have handled the situation and thus can’t be viewed in a vacuum as “he said this,” because you are missing the when and why I said it.

  17. Tyler Durden

    “But, when teams are struggling, they’ll listen on any pending UFA, which Iafallo is after four seasons in Los Angeles.”

    LA is stacked with excellent prospects that can take AI’s place next year. They aren’t going to trade with VGK when they hang on to him and dangle him for the Kraken.
    This is a non starter from LA.

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