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One Potential VGK Trade Target From Each Of The NHL’s Worst 12 Teams (Part 1)

The trade deadline is just three weeks away and the Golden Knights are already gearing up to be active. Looking at the roster, it seems clear the target for this year’s deadline in Vegas will be a forward. With every team still with 8-12 games on their schedule before March 8th, I thought it would be easier to go through every bad team to cover every potential seller.

Here’s one player from each of the worst 12 teams in the league that could make sense for the Golden Knights. (Today is teams 32-27, tomorrow is 26-21.)

Chicago Blackhawks
Tyler Johnson
$5 million – Expiring Contract
2023-24: 38gp, 10g, 14p, 1.0 point shares

Johnson has been fairly productive this year on a terrible Chicago team, when healthy. The numbers are nowhere near what they were when he was in Tampa, but there’s a strong case he could have a resurgence back on a good team. This is a guy who scored 72 points in a season back in 2014-15 and posted 45+ points for three straight years between 2016-19. He’s a decent power play weapon and can play center or wing. Chicago would have no problem eating half of the salary and it’s not crazy to think they could find a third party to eat another $1.25 if necessary as well. He has the Stanley Cup pedigree the VGK front office loves and even posted a 23-point postseason once upon a time. The perfect fit, no, but could be quite cost-effective based on the situation in Chicago.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

San Jose Sharks
Anthony Duclair
$3 million – Expiring Contract
2023-24: 47gp, 9g, 17a, 1.1 point shares

You might remember Duclair from the Stanley Cup Final where he scored in Game 1 against the Golden Knights. Or, maybe you’ll remember him from the 31-goal season he posted in Florida in 2021-22. Duclair’s numbers have been down in San Jose and he battled through injury all of last year which hurt his totals, but he has shown the ability to score when played with excellent players. He’s a bit one-dimensional though, which would mean he’d likely have to play in an offensive role and can only play on the wing. But, he’s definitely a power play option and has a season under his belt where he scored nine PP goals. The salary is manageable (especially when you consider San Jose could hold some of it) and he kind of fits the Phil Kessel role that has been missing since VGK let the Ironman walk away.

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With Barbashev Deal Done Who Will Vegas Target Next?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s no surprise the Golden Knights front office acquired left-shooting forward Ivan Barbashev on Sunday afternoon. According to NHL insiders Vegas had been exploring the 27-year-old dating back to early January.

Someone said to me, depending on particularly what Vegas’ injury situation is, they could see Vegas liking Acciari and Barbashev. Who’s coaching Vegas? Accairi was in Boston with Cassidy and Cassidy saw Barbashev play very well in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. –Elliotte Freidman on 32 Thoughts Podcast on 01/27/23

Kelly McCrimmon confirmed the long-time interest when he said the Golden Knights have had 45 in-person viewings of Barbashev this season alone.

The seven-year veteran adds extra offense, size, and an edge that will play out well in the playoffs. During St. Louis’ astonishing Stanley Cup run in 2019, Barbashev totaled 87 hits in 25 games. To highlight his physicality even more, he only served four minutes in penalties throughout the entire postseason. As NHL coaches would say, finishing checks, getting gritty in the corners, and being disruptive in front of the net are how teams win seven-game series. Barbashev has proven he can do all three without taking costly penalties.

By the time the Golden Knights pulled the trigger on the Barbashev trade, most of the high-impact forwards had been sold. The chief among them was Timo Meier, whom New Jersey plucked from several interested teams, including Vegas. This leads to the question, are the Golden Knights done? It’s unlikely.

With the main characters off the board where can the Golden Knights look for more postseason ammo? We searched through a variety of options. Players that fit, players with or without term, and players that have connections to the organization.

James van Riemsdyk – LW
$7 million – Expiring Contract
9 goals, 14 assists in 40 GP

It’s no secret van Riemsdyk is available. Philadelphia hit reset button this summer and would love to dump costly players that aren’t in their future plans. JVR wouldn’t be acquired for his speed or quickness, but for his ability to light the lamp. Most importantly, he would be a tremendous net-front presence for the Golden Knights.

We defined Net-Front Scorers as players who possess superior hand-eye coordination, and along with toughness, an edge and hockey sense, camp out in the dirty areas to tip and re-direct pucks and create chaos. –Frank Seravalli on DailyFaceoff.com

Using a formula of deflections, inner slot shots, and average shot distance, Daily Faceoff ranked van Riemsdyk as the 12th-best Net-Front scorer in the NHL. Adding two offensive weapons with complimenting styles could be the difference of a playoff exit or advancing to another round.

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