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2022 VGK Free Agency Tracker

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A roundup of all the signings, rumors, and rumbling surrounding the Vegas Golden Knights as free agency opens in advance of the 2022-23 season.

*This article will be updated throughout the day as more information rolls in.*

  • The Golden Knights have traded Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. (Source: @DarrenDreger & @PierreVLeBrun)
  • A handshake agreement is reportedly in place with Reilly Smith on an extension worth $5m AAV for three years. (Source: @frank_seravalli)
    • The deal is expected to be completed today. (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
    • The deal is complete. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • The Golden Knights have extended qualifying offers to Nic Hague, Keegan Kolesar, Jake Leschyshyn, Brayden Pachal, Jonas Rondbjerg, and Nic Roy (Source: Golden Knights)
    • Roy and Kolesar are each arbitration-eligible. Both will likely file. Each can still sign extensions before their scheduled arbitration dates in August.
    • Jonas Rondbjerg has re-signed a three-year deal with an AAV of $766,666. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • Brett Howden was not extended a qualifying offer by the Golden Knights, however, reports indicate a deal is being worked on to keep him in Vegas. (Source: @DarrenDreger)
    • Howden has extended with the Golden Knights for one-year at $1.5 million. (Source: @PuckPedia)
  • VGK did not extend qualifying offers to Ben Jones, Dylan Ferguson, or Jack Dugan. All become unrestricted free agents today.
  • Daniil Miromanov signed a two-year extension to remain with the Golden Knights with an AAV of $762,500. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • The Golden Knights have signed Sakari Manninen, a 30-year-old Finnish winger who has been playing in the KHL. He scored the game-winning goal at the World Champions and won a gold medal at the Olympics. (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • VGK confirmed the signings on Manninen and Spencer Foo, each for $750,000. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • Sheldon Rempal has signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Golden Knights. (Source: @DarrenDreger)
    • The NHL AAV is $762,500. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • VGK have signed goalie Michael Hutchinson to a one-year, two-way contract. (Source: @PuckPedia)
  • Byron Froese has signed a two-year contract with an AAV of $762,500. (Source: Golden Knights)

Simplified Salary Cap Tracker

  • VGK are approximately $6,452,500 UNDER the salary cap with a 17-man roster (10 F, 7 D, 2 G)
    • Eichel, Stone, Karlsson, Marchessault, Smith, Stephenson, Carrier, Amadio, Patrick, Howden – $43,012,500
    • Pietrangelo, Martinez, Theodore, McNabb, Whitecloud, Hutton – $25,700,00
    • Lehner, Brossoit – $7,325,000

**This is an inexact salary estimation designed to give a rough outline of how much cap space the Golden Knights have to operate with. For exact up-to-date salary cap information, visit PuckPedia.com.**

Observations On Every Player Who Put On A VGK Sweater At The Rookie Faceoff – Forwards

Golden Knights rookies spent the weekend in Phoenix competing in three games against fellow rookie squads from the Coyotes, Sharks, and Kings. A total of 25 players suited up for Vegas, here’s are my observations on every single one of them.

Peyton Krebs (2 games, 1C, 1C)

Literally 15 seconds into Game 1, Krebs made the best move of the weekend by any Golden Knight, carrying the puck over the blue line, stopping on a dime, and stickhandling through a defender’s legs to set up a Grade A scoring chance. His compete level is always on display and it really kicked up in the third game when it was clear he took a leadership role both on and off the ice. He came away from the two games without much to show for on the scoresheet but his impact was obvious.

(Photo Credit: Robert Schneidmiller, IceTimeHockeySW.com)

Pavel Dorofeyev (3 games, 1LW, 1LW, 1LW)

The first thing you’ll always notice about Pavel’s game was once again on full display, and that’s his ability to hold the puck and create space for himself and his teammates. He had a few really dangerous scoring chances but wasn’t able to slot one home. He and Marushev looked good together, but there’s no doubt Dorofeyev was at his best in Game 3 playing with Krebs and Dugan.

Maxim Marushev (3 games, 1RW, 1RW, 3RW)

Marushev plays a simple but effective game. He’s reliable with the puck on his stick and he’s always in quickly on the forecheck. He hit the post on a 2-on-0 shorthanded chance and was both creating chances for others as well as collecting them himself all weekend. For a 7th round pick, there’s not much to dislike about his game.

(Photo Credit: Robert Schneidmiller, IceTimeHockeySW.com)

Mason Primeau (3 games, 2LW, 3C, 2 LW)

No one’s stock raised more in my book this weekend than Primeau’s. His skating looks very good for a player of his size and his hands were worlds better than what we saw a while back when he was in Development Camp at City National Arena. Primeau was constantly making plays all over the ice. Some helped generate scoring chances but more often we’d see plays along the wall, in the neutral zone, or exiting the offensive zone that relieved pressure for his teammates. Officially, he goes down in the books with just one assist, but there was another goal clearly created off his play in the D-zone and a bundle of chances he was in on that weren’t finished.

Zach Dean (3 games, 2C, 1C, 3C)

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Vegas Coaches “Barking” At Jack Dugan To Shoot More

Early in the 2nd period of rookie game number two, the Golden Knights were awarded a power play. The puck worked its way around the four forward, one defenseman Golden Knights power play unit when it found itself sitting on the stick of Jack Dugan.

Dugan collected the pass, looked straight at the goal, and fired a low hard shot that beat the goalie clean to for Vegas’ first goal of the game.

It was a classic power play goal, one we’ve seen scored by a number of different players wearing a VGK sweater, but there was a bit more significance to this one because of whose stick it came off of.

I don’t know if you saw the reaction on the bench (when he scored the goal) but we’ve been barking at him on the bench to shoot the puck more. -Manny Viveiros

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Following his excellent sophomore season at Providence College where he tallied 52 points in 34 games, Dugan signed with the Golden Knights and played the entirety of last year in the AHL in Henderson. The point production continued as Dugan posted nearly a point per game, 33 points in 37 games.

If you dig into the numbers though, you’ll see that throughout his college career and his first year as a pro he’s produced assists at a rate double that of goals. The coaching staff in Henderson believes his mindset with the puck on his stick is making him predictable and they are trying to break the habit.

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Why Forward Line And D-Pair Combinations Matter In Rookie Games

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When it comes to prospects, we’re always on the hunt for information, trying to differentiate between players who have an NHL future and those who are simply along for the ride.

Rookie camp, and especially rookie games, are crucial in that sorting process as they stand as one of the rare times a large collection of Golden Knights prospects gather and compete on the same sheet of ice. Comparing Lukas Cormier’s 54-point QMJHL season to Kaedan Korczak’s five-game stint in the AHL playoffs only offers so much, but when they step on the ice together and compete against the same competition, much more can be gathered.

Most of that information comes from what we see on the ice. However, every once in a while we get some crumbs that give us a look into how the organization views these players, which will massively affect their chances of becoming future Golden Knights.

One such crumb was shared by this weekend’s coach, and Henderson Silver Knights head coach, Manny Viveiros.

Management and the scouting staff, they’ll put the lines together for us cause they’ve seen these kids over the last few years. They’ve been a big help in that part by putting who they want to see together including the d-pairs as well. So we’re going to decide who’s playing this weekend and with who and we’re going to go out there and support the kids and coach them on the bench. -Viveiros

This means every lineup we see being put out on the ice this weekend offers a look into the minds of the front office.

Pavel Dorofeyev and Maxim Marushev playing with Peyton Krebs on the top line tells us something about the two Russian standouts. While Mason Primeau playing on the wing of 2021 1st round pick Zach Dean and the more experienced Jack Dugan speaks volumes to where they feel the career of the 6’5″ 20-year-old who spent a portion of last year in the ECHL is headed.

Every player, every position, every decision is done with a purpose and there’s a reason behind every purpose.

Here’s the lineup the Golden Knights used in their first rookie game against the Coyotes, one they dropped 5-2 in a bit of a sloppy, penalty-filled affair.

Dorofeyev-Krebs-Marushev
Primeau-Dean-Dugan
Pearson*-Brabenec-McCallum*
D’Amato*-Demek-Gaucher*

Chayka-Korczak
Cholach-Cormier
Lajoie*-McCormick*

Patera
Vikman
*  = Free Agent

This is just one lineup of three we’ll get to examine this weekend. With them, we’ll get more information on players like Layton Ahac, Marcus Kallionkieli, Jermaine Loewen, Zack Hayes, Jonas Rondbjerg, and Peter DiLberatore.

In the end, it’s just a weekend, and placement in the lineup, as well as subsequent performances, will always be just a piece of the puzzle to how the Golden Knights view each prospect moving forward.

But it’s neat to get a peek behind the curtain a bit, now that we know where to look.

Golden Knights Whose Stock Can Rise In Training Camp

Training Camp is right around the corner, and while the Golden Knights depth chart is fairly set due to the sheer number of returning players, there are still plenty of guys who can use this next month to make their move into bigger roles this season. Players who put in excellent training camps are often those who are called upon first when the team experiences injuries or even just needs a shuffle in lines.

So, even though we can pretty much plot out the Golden Knights’ lineup for Opening Night right now, these players all have a chance to position themselves for larger roles on the team as the season rolls on.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Jack Dugan

The odds Dugan makes the roster out of camp are nearly insurmountable, but that certainly doesn’t mean he can’t show up and show out to move up the ranks once the waiver situation clears. In camp, the forward battle will be between guys like William Carrier, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick, and Keegan Kolesar, but once the roster is set and the games get underway, there will be a pecking order as to who is called next in the event of an injury. Last year, Dugan was never even in the conversation and didn’t even see a sniff of the NHL. This year, it starts with Rookie Camp, the tournament in Phoenix, and then main camp. If Dugan can dominate against the kids and then make an impact in main camp as well as preseason games, he’ll certainly jump up the line in the “next man up” rankings. We know he has the scoring touch and he plays a style of game coaches love. Plus, he has a bit of a nasty streak in him which could be needed if the season isn’t going as planned early for the Golden Knights. A big month of September would go a long way for Dugan to earn his NHL debut, even if that doesn’t come until the calendar flips to 2022.

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Internal Upgrade Options For 2021-22 Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the past couple of seasons, we’ve started to see a bit more of an influx of younger players into the Golden Knights’ lineup. From Zach Whitecloud and Nic Hague taking up permanent spots on the blue line to Keegan Kolesar, Nic Roy, and Cody Glass pushing for their places in the bottom six, Vegas has been looking to inject more youth into a roster that’s growing increasingly older each year.

With a clear need for upgrades, especially offensively, the Golden Knights promised to “turn over every stone” this offseason in a search to make this team better, get them over the hump, and bring Las Vegas the Stanley Cup. One such stone they may be wise to search under is the prospect pipeline.

The surprise addition of Kolesar to the opening night roster and him sticking with the club for the entirety of the 2020-21 season proves the team is willing to give a young player extended time at the NHL level if deserved. Unlike most young players though, his situation was complicated by the waiver process in that he was not exempt like most other VGK prospects. Placing him on waivers would be exposing him to be lost to another team for nothing, a risk the Golden Knights clearly were never comfortable taking.

This season, another young player is in a similar situation. 23-year-old Dylan Coghlan heads into this offseason as a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, the same spot Kolesar was in a year ago. Coghlan is due to be extended a qualifying two-way one-year offer worth $750,000 at the NHL level. Without much negotiating power, that offer is likely to be signed by Coghlan. However, this season, unlike the last, Coghlan is no longer waiver-exempt. Thus, if the Golden Knights want to place him in the AHL, as they did on multiple occasions (using the taxi squad) last season, he would be required to clear waivers.

Like Kolesar’s situation a year ago, Vegas may see Coghlan as a valuable enough piece that they will not be willing to expose him to waiver, especially with a 32nd team entering the league.

Coghlan played in 29 games last season for the Golden Knights scoring three goals (all in the same game) and adding three assists. He’ll represent an affordable option that has shown some offensive upside and could grow into a bigger role on what is expected to be a revamped power play.

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JACK DUGAN (F) SIGNS TWO-YEAR ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights announced today that Jack Dugan signed a two-year entry-level contract.

Dugan was selected in the 5th round of the 2017 Draft and has played at Providence College the past two seasons. He led the NCAA in points in 2019 and was widely considered one of the best players in college hockey.

He is currently the #2 ranked skater on the SinBin.vegas Prospect Rankings.

https://twitter.com/JackDugan8/status/1283857176327528449

It was a unique situation. For me I knew what I wanted to do at the end of my college season. I knew I wanted to sign or join or whatever with the Vegas Golden Knights, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. We were kind of taking it in stride and seeing what was going to happen. -Dugan

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