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.
A big shift by the fourth line again and Ivan Barbashev finishes it with his third goal of the playoffs. #stlblues #WeAllBleedBlue pic.twitter.com/uz3o1ntRlr
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) June 2, 2019
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.