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Tag: Free Agency

Sportsnet Weighs In On Future Of Chandler Stephenson And Jonathan Marchessault

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We’ve been very open with our feelings about getting a deal done with unrestricted free agent Jonathan Marchessault. Sure, we know the organization would prefer to keep the 2023 Conn Smythe winner but as Vegas fans have heard over and over again, ‘hockey is a business.’ Understanding that, it’ll be a challenge getting deals done for Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson and the rest of VGK’s unrestricted free agent.

[Vegas] will be hard-pressed to re-up Marchessault, centre Chandler Stephenson and rental Anthony Mantha now that [they’ve] locked up Noah Hanifin. No one would blame the late-blooming Marchessault ($29 million in career earnings) for pulling an Alex Killorn and taking the best offer available. –Luke Fox on Sportsnet.ca

In the eyes of Vegas fans, they would like to see #81 cash in but in Las Vegas and as a Golden Knight. Sure, the fans desire isn’t necessarily VGK’s front office priorities, but they are aware of the negative attention they’ll receive if they let Marchessault walk. It will infuriate a fanbase that’s been giving almost everything they could want in seven seasons. However, a year-old Stanley Cup trophy won’t satisfy the void of the franchise’s most beloved and decorated player.

The Conn Smythe–winning Marchessault is an original Misfit integral to the defending champions’ off-ice culture and on-ice success. No doubt, in a cap-free world, the sides would be content to extend their relationship beyond this season. Yet one only need to look as far as Reilly Smith, GM Kelly McCrimmon’s 2023 cap casualty, to see the line between sentiment and business. –Fox on Sportsnet.ca

To a lesser extent, Stephenson is another Golden Knight that fans would like to see return next season. However, with only a certain amount of capital, both UFA’s are tied to one another.

The demand for both centres and proven post-season performers remains sky high in the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings splashed $25.5 million at centre J.T. Compher in 2023’s free agency, and his previous best was 52 points. Bottom line: There will be a robust market for the two-way Stephenson if he remains unsigned by July. –Fox on Sportsnet.ca

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McPhee Not Expecting To Be Active In Free Agency

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There are plenty of unanswered questions remaining for the Golden Knights, but after a recent comment by George McPhee we have the answer to at least one.

Well we’re in pretty good shape with our core group. We have basically everyone signed up and we are close on some other things. So I don’t imagine we’re going to be out looking at free agents this summer. We like the team the way it is and we like the young guys that we have coming along. –George McPhee to TSN

Not that most expected the Golden Knights to be major players in free agency, but this confirms the plan is to keep things in place and roll with what Vegas already has moving forward.

Of course, the main missing piece at the moment is the contract of William Karlsson. That’s probably who McPhee was talking about when he said “close on some things,” but he could have also been referencing Nikita Gusev, Jimmy Schuldt, Tomas Nosek, or Deryk Engelland.

As for the core group, the Golden Knights have 10 players locked up through 2021-22. Following the 2019-20 season, there are five players scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency. They are Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves, Erik Haula, Jon Merrill, and Nick Holden. Slightly more significant than this year, slightly less than the year before.

No matter what happens with those five though, the Golden Knights are set up about as nicely as a team can be to make a run at the Stanley Cup each of the next three years.

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