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Brendan Brisson Switches To #19, Looking To Seize #19’s Place In The Lineup Too

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For Brendan Brisson, 2023 offers opportunities. First, to wear the jersey number he’s waited a few years for, and second, to wear that jersey in the game he’s waited his entire life for.

Reilly Smith’s departure from the Golden Knights left both the #19 available and a winger position open in the Golden Knights lineup. Brisson wasted no time snapping up the first.

I have all the respect for Reilly Smith. Since the first day he got here, he’s been so meaningful not only to the organization but the city of Vegas. I’ve worn 19 my whole life, so I reached out to some of the older guys on the team just to make sure it was all good. I reached out to Reilly as well and told him if there’s a problem I won’t switch. He said, ‘Just make sure you take care of her.’ -Brendan Brisson

Brisson understands the gravity of the change, and he’s planning on using it in a positive way.

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Replacing Reilly Smith On The Penalty Kill

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The #PowerKill is no more. With the departure of Reilly Smith, the Golden Knights have a fairly sizeable hole to fill on their penalty kill. Not only must Vegas find a suitable partner to skate with William Karlsson, but they are replacing nearly 15% of their overall forward power play time with the loss of Smith.

Last year, only seven forwards in the entire NHL skated more on the penalty kill in the postseason than Smith. Smith was on the ice for 36:51 shorthanded minutes in the playoffs and another 102:57 in the regular season. Only Chandler Stephenson and Karlsson played more than Smith.

Bruce Cassidy did not use many players on the penalty kill over the course of the season. Just seven players reached at least 25:00 of shorthanded time in the regular season and only six skated at least 20:00 in the playoffs.

Shorthanded Time On Ice (Regular Season)
Karlsson – 127:34
Stephenson – 114:03
Smith – 102:57
Roy – 80:01
Stone – 52:13
Howden – 40:36
Eichel – 26:10

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VGK’s Top 6 Stanley Cup Playoff Moments

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

After eliminating four opponents and recording 16 Stanley Cup Playoff wins, the Golden Knights racked up dozens of special moments to choose from. We cut them down to the Top 6 of the playoffs but the list is truly incomplete. We could do a Top 6 Fan Moments list or a Top 6 Jonathan Marchessault Moments list. The options are endless. Sticking with the formula, here are the VGK’s Top 6 Stanley Cup Playoff Moments.

6. Hill Bag Punches the Panthers in SCF Game 4

Cup-winning goaltender Adin Hill took plenty of liberties in the playoffs, especially in the Final. Hill wasn’t having any of Matthew Tkachuk or Sam Bennett’s antics, so he used his blocker, glove, and fists to stand his ground. In Game 4, the Golden Knights goalie lost his cool and went into full Mike Tyson mode. After Bennett ripped Hill’s helmet off, the Panthers forward likely wished he hadn’t. With the help of William Karlsson, Bennett was savagely beaten to the ice with bare knuckles. It was a sight to see and VGK fans loved every minute of it.

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Reilly Smith Sized Hole In Forward Lines Will Force Decisions

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

On the 22-game road to glory, the Golden Knights were able to maintain remarkable consistency with their lineup. From Eichel, Marchessault, and Barbashev on the 1st line to Carrier, Roy, and Kolesar on the 4th, Vegas rolled out a similar-looking set of forwards throughout the entire two-month run.

Heading into 2023-24, as they look to defend their title, it’s unlikely Bruce Cassidy will be able to lean on the similar lineup that brought home the Stanley Cup, unless the team adds another forward.

The trade of Reilly Smith leaves a fairly significant hole in the middle of the Vegas lineup. While the Golden Knights do have a number of capable options to step in and play in Smith’s place, none of them are truly a like-for-like option to Smith.

The two leading candidates to take the place are Paul Cotter and Pavel Dorofeyev. Both have shown they are able to play at the NHL level but neither would be considered a defensive stalwart the way Smith was. Simply replacing Smith with either Cotter or Dorofeyev makes the roster look much different, as the third line no longer carries the identity of a shutdown line the way it did with Smith and Karlsson.

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2023 VGK Free Agency Tracker

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A roundup of all the signings, rumors, and rumbling surrounding the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights as free agency opens in advance of the 2023-24 season.

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

  • Adin Hill has been re-signed to a two-year contract with $4.9 million AAV (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Reilly Smith has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 2024 3rd round pick, VGK’s original selection (Source: @KevinWeekes)
  • Ivan Barbashev has agreed to a five-year contract extension with $5 million AAV (Source: Golden Knights)
  • The Golden Knights have tendered qualifying offers to RFAs, Brett Howden, Jiri Patera, and Pavel Dorofeyev (Source: Golden Knights)
  • Jonathan Quick is expected to sign with the New York Rangers. (Source: @KevinWeekes)
  • Silver Knights captain Brayden Pachal has signed a two-year two-way contract with an NHL salary of $775,000 AAV. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • Teddy Blueger signed a one-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks worth $1.9 million. (Source: @Canucks)
  • Laurent Brossoit signed with the Winnipeg Jets for one-year at $1.75 million. (Source: @reporterchris)
  • VGK has signed defenseman Mason Geertsen to a two-year two-way contract with an NHL league minimum value. (Source: @PuckPedia)
  • Mason Morelli has signed a two-year two-way contract with the Golden Knights at the NHL league minimum. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • Jiri Patera has signed a one-year two-way deal with VGK. (Source: @PuckPedia)
  • Gage Quinney has signed a two-year two-way contract to remain with the Golden/Silver Knights. (Source: @PuckPedia)

Former VGK players

  • Mattias Janmark has signed a one-year contract worth $1 million to remain in Edmonton. (Source: Edmonton Oilers)
  • Dylan Coghlan has been extended a qualifying offer by the Carolina Hurricanes. (Source: @WaltRuff)
  • Ryan Reaves is expected to sign a multi-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Source: @TheFourthPeriod)
    • Reaves has signed a three-year deal with $1.3 million AAV. (Source: @DarrenDreger)
  • Erik Brannstrom signed a one-year contract worth $2 million to remain with the Ottawa Senators. (Source: @Senators)
  • Evgenii Dadonov signed a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.25 million with the Dallas Stars. (Source: @DallasStars)
  • Erik Haula re-signed in New Jersey for three years at $3.15 million AAV. (Source: @KevinWeekes)
  • Oscar Dansk returns to the Calgary Flames on a one-year two-way contract for the league minimum. (Source: @NHLFlames)
  • Colin Miller was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a 5th round pick. (Source: @NJDevils)
  • Max Pacioretty has signed with the Washington Capitals for one-year at $2 million plus $2 million in bonuses. (Source: @frank_seravalli)
  • Patrick Brown has signed with the Boston Bruins for two years at $800,000 AAV. (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Cody Glass has re-signed with the Predators for two years at $2.5 million (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Malcolm Subban has signed a one-year two-way contract with St. Louis for the league minimum.
  • Ryan Carpenter has signed with the Sharks on a one-year two-way deal worth the league minimum.
  • Jimmy Schuldt has signed a one-year two-way contract with Seattle for the league minimum.

Simplified Salary Cap Tracker

  • VGK are approximately $3,576,683 UNDER the salary cap with a 19-man roster (11 F, 8 D, 2 G)
    • Eichel, Stone, Karlsson, Marchessault, Barbashev, Roy, Stephenson, Carrier, Kolesar, Cotter, Amadio – $45,487,500
    • Pietrangelo, Martinez, Theodore, McNabb, Whitecloud, Hague, Hutton, Pachal – $28,769,150
    • Hill, Thompson – $5,666,667
  • Qualifying Offers – Howden^ ($1,500,000), Dorofeyev ($874,125), Patera^ ($787,500)
  • Expected LTIR – Lehner ($5,000,000)

^Arbitration eligible

**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.**

VGK TRADE REILLY SMITH TO PITTSBURGH

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

The Golden Knights have traded Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 3rd round pick.

The 3rd round pick is in the 2024 Draft. It is VGK’s original selection which was traded for Teddy Blueger.

Starting The Misfits

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The opening shift of a Stanley Cup Final game is not typically a time to get sentimental with decision-making. The Golden Knights still needed to win one more game to reach the mountaintop, and they knew they were facing a team that had been in a 3-1 hole before and dug themselves out.

For Bruce Cassidy though, he knew the time was right.

To start Game 5, Cassidy went off script of both his forward lines and standard operating procedure and chose to tug on some heartstrings instead.

The starting lineup he selected was Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb. Five of the six original players from the inaugural season that began Vegas’ love affair with the Golden Knights.

I apologized to Will Carrier, I told him, I’m sorry, I can only start one left winger. -Bruce Cassidy

Cassidy reunited the greatest line in Vegas history and used McNabb and Theodore to start a game for the first time during the entire postseason. It was a risk, but he knew it was one worth taking.

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