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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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GM For A Day: Jason’s 2021-22 Vegas Golden Knights

Welcome to GM For A Day, the second in a pair of articles in which the founders of SinBin.vegas take control of the Vegas Golden Knights and reshape the team in a way we each believe will bring the Stanley Cup to Las Vegas.

These articles are NOT meant to be taken as a prediction as to what we believe is going to happen this offseason. This is what we would do, not what we think the Golden Knights will do (that article is coming tomorrow).

Today, I (Jason) am on the hot seat. Let’s go.

Here we go…

*TRADE: Marc-Andre Fleury + 2022 3rd round pick to Toronto Maple Leafs for center Alex Kerfoot + 2022 2nd round pick and 2023 2nd round pick*

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In a flat cap world, there’s no way I can continue to allocate $12M in goaltending. As general manager, I would entertain every inquiry coming in from opposing front offices. In the long run, the NHL is a cold, hard business and it wouldn’t be a secret that I’m looking to move a goaltender. I understand that it could hurt my negotiations but in the end I’m trying to move money and build some depth.

There are contending teams with issues in net and one that could use a steady tender like Fleury is the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are loaded with talent but consistently underachieve in the playoffs. Adding a leader that just so happens to be the Vezina winner would be a big confidence boost for a franchise that hasn’t been to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1967.

To make it work I asked for center Alex Kerfoot ($3.5M x 2) to help my club down the middle. I considered asking for defenseman Morgan Reilly but he’s on an expiring contract with an AAV of $5M. At that rate, I would find a way to re-sign Alec Martinez. At a $3.5M AAV Kerfoot isn’t exactly cheap, but he’s only locked in for two more seasons. Personally, I don’t love the trade, but it was necessary. It gave me agita dealing Fleury over last season’s mismanagement. Finally fixing the roster to pay just one one starting goaltender allows for much-needed cap relief, a solid third line center and a future draft asset we can use as capital at the deadline.

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