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Low-Risk, High-Reward Trade May Be The Better Way To Go At Deadline

On Sunday here on, Steve Carp suggested the Golden Knights make a run at Mark Stone. Other big names like Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Wayne Simmonds, Mats Zuccarello and many others have also been linked to the Golden Knights.

While Jason and I are certainly not opposed to a splash move, we both have the same concern (which you know is rare if you listen to our podcast).

Is this team good enough to risk selling multiple high-end assets to make a run this year? Or, phrased differently, will adding a star player be the difference between the Golden Knights regaining their dominance?

Carp was offering Colin Miller, a 1st, and a prospect like Ivan Morozov for Stone. The package to get Panarin would be even higher. Heck, even guys like Kevin Hayes appear to be primed to fetch significant returns.

The return for (Hayes) should be far more substantial, though we have argued for months that the typical 24-31 draft pick plus a B-level prospect or two doesn’t move the needle dramatically enough. –Larry Brooks, NY Post 

I believe the Golden Knights are a very good hockey team stuck in a rough patch. However, I also understand the consistency issues and seriously question if they can flip the switch and keep it turned on for an entire playoff run.

This Golden Knights team is good enough to win the Western Conference. They can beat San Jose, Calgary, Winnipeg, and/or Nashville in a seven-game series. But, they’ve got to play much better than they have, and it has to come from the guys currently on the roster. It’s in there, we know it is because we’ve seen it, they just have to bring it back out.

That’s why adding a major piece scares both Jason and I. If the current roster doesn’t figure out their issues, adding Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby wouldn’t even be enough to fuel a run to the Cup. But, if they do get it together, they may not even need to add much of anything. So, is it really wise to throw caution to the wind and swing for the fences?

Instead, there’s a much smaller move we’d like to advocate for. A move that if it were to happen could certainly make them better while not breaking the bank along the way.

This isn’t actually Marcus Johansson, but you get the point. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That move is acquiring New Jersey Devils winger Marcus Johansson. With New Jersey, the 28-year-old Swede has totaled 39 points in 75 games, which has been considered underperforming. He has 118 career goals, 29 power play goals, and averages 0.57 points per game. Johansson racked up 58 points and 24 goals in 2016-17 before being traded to New Jersey. He also posted four straight years of 40+ points and received Lady Byng and Selke votes along the way. He’s a power play threat with a strong career shooting percentage (13.8%).

Oh, and we didn’t even mention his previous team was the Washington Capitals. He was drafted 24th overall in the 2009 Draft by George McPhee and signed two different contracts with McPhee.

Johansson was traded in the Summer of 2017 for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick and is now a pending unrestricted free agent making him a deadline rental.

What would he cost? A 2nd round pick? A 3rd and a 4th? Maybe even less. Certainly much less than Stone, Panarin, Duchene, or any of the other bigger named players likely on the move.

Johansson is a low-risk, high-reward option. If the Golden Knights can’t figure it out, only a pick or two would have been wasted (and that’s if he decides not to re-sign in Vegas), while if he does work, he could easily be the 3rd line scorer this team has been looking for since its inception.

He fits the mold of what the Golden Knights are looking for, there’s familiarity with the general manager and likely many of his scouts, he’s cheap (both in trade value and against the cap), and he can flat out put the puck in the net when in the right situation.

It’s not the splash many might be looking for, but it’s the type of move good teams make to get better. It won’t significantly damage the future of the franchise, while it could be just what’s needed in the present.




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  1. Dry

    Good article. Like not giving up too much. But why aren’t we looking for defense?

    • Bob

      They have a good defense. They have a bright future with their defense prospects. They need to pick up their scoring.

  2. Nick R

    I have been anti do anything drastic to the roster for most of the season believing the scoring would pick up. I find it disconcerting that we don’t have a single skater in the 50-60 point range at this point in the season when we should have several. I remain anti move any of the top 6 plus Eakin. It makes me apoplectic when I hear Reilly Smith’s name thrown out there as a potential trade piece. Yeah, the goals have not been there for him the season, but he excels at literally everything else. A 2nd or 3rd pick is worth the risk to try to solidify the third line.

  3. vgk2019

    McPhee needs to remember his terrible blunder trade of top prospect Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat as the template of what NOT to do. Or his also dumb trade of 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks for healthy scratch Tatar, who never fit the Knights style of play.

    As long as the Marchessault line continues to struggle it will be an uphill climb. They were K-M-S +++++PLUS 49, 36, and 31 last season. This year they are MINUS 7, MINUS 7, and plus 1 for Smith. That is the main reason for this year’s dropoff…. line number 1 is being neutralized by opponents, to the tune of about 40 goals difference

  4. Erica Freedman

    Where would you put him? Third line wing?

  5. Daniel Foley

    Sold – I really like this idea

  6. double bee

    Artemi Panarin can help us get the puck past the blue line on the power play and keep pucks in the zone long enough to set up some higher percentage shots. Id let a few players and a pick go for him. If Gallant would let the Reaver clobber a few players right off the bat and keep them looking over there shoulder we could still make a solid run for the cup.

  7. Gary Thompson

    I think in order to get something you have to give up something. If the team continues to sputter. All bets are off.

  8. Blake

    If a trade is made this is probably it.

  9. Sclabuji

    Johansson just scored a beauty last night. If he can do that regularly, sign him up now. Let’s not piss away the future completely for now. Make this year’s team earn it like they did last year.

  10. The Hockey GOD

    “I believe the Golden Knights are a very good hockey team stuck in a rough patch” sophomore jinx

  11. Jaydt78

    I like the idea of getting Crosby and McDavid. Lets do that.

  12. vgk2019

    how about going after Jason Zucker of the Wild. He grew up in Vegas, played youth hockey there. He scored 33 goals last season for Minn., is a speedy and aggressive LW, and the Wild are reportedly in seller mode now.

  13. Bent Hermit

    With the way they have been playing maybe a better message can be sent to the team by becoming sellers at the deadline. Last year GMGM said that they earned the right for him to try to make the team better. This year they have only played 1 good game. Have they earned right to make the team better? I’m not sure. If they played this way last year would GMGM have been a buyer? I’m not saying sell their best players. I think they should see what they can get for Miller, Merrill and Holden. There’s a lot of Dmen in the AHL that are going to be pushing for a spot next year. This sends a message to the team to start playing or get sent down the road. It also opens up space for the young guys. Let’s be honest the way they are playing right now they are not going make it past the 1st round. Why not send a message and get a pick or 2 while doing it.

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