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Tag: Tomas Hertl

Iole: Enough With The Eichel Talk, Go After Another Familiar Center

This season, diehard VGK fan and legendary combat sports columnist Kevin Iole will be delivering columns a few times a month on Sundays. Today, Kevin wants the focus to shift off Jack Eichel, and on to another, cheaper center.

There is a balancing act that every NHL general manager must play, and trying to play it has to be causing Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon plenty of agita.

Jack Eichel, exactly the type of player the VGK have missed throughout its existence, is available on the trade market. When such a player was available in 2019, McCrimmon went out and landed Mark Stone.

When another such player was available as a free agent in 2020, McCrimmon opened owner Bill Foley’s wallet and signed Alex Pietrangelo.

Many websites, which are in the business of getting clicks and not necessarily reporting accurate news, have linked the VGK and Eichel. It’s obvious why, but it’s also just as obvious why it doesn’t make much sense for the Knights to do it.

The Knights would be responsible for a pro-rated portion of Eichel’s $10 million salary this year and then $10 million a year through the 2025-26 season. They already have Stone signed at $9.5 million, Pietrangelo at $8.8 million, Max Pacioretty at $7 million, William Karlsson at $5.9 million, Alec Martinez at $5.25 million, Shea Theodore at $5.2 million, Jonathan Marchessault, Evgeni Dadonov and Robin Lehner at $5 million apiece and Alex Tuch at $4.75 million for next season.

Even if the cap rises, and reports are it may jump minimally to $82.5 million, that would be $71.4 million with Eichel for next year for 11 players. So they’d have $11.1 million to spend on the rest of the group.

That becomes problematic because Zach Whitecloud’s $2.75 million extension kicks in and between Whitecloud, Nolan Patrick and backup goalie Laurent Brossoit, they will account for more than half of the extra, at $6.275 million combined.
On top of that, we haven’t exen discussed the acquisition cost, which will be enormous.

So it seems fanciful, at best, to write Eichel into the VGK’s lineup for the next four-plus years.

There is a player who is perfectly suited for the VGK, won’t cost nearly as much and who could give them that No. 1 center without breaking up the current roster that would make them a more solid Stanley Cup favorite.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tomas Hertl would look fantastic between Stone and Pacioretty, and would allow Stephenson to slide down the lineup where, as Pete DeBoer noted after Friday’s up-and-down win over the Ducks, he gets favorable matchups.

Hertl is in the last year of a deal with the Sharks, and is making $5.625 million. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

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The All VGK Killer Team

Thursday’s preseason game was so miserable to watch a fellow writer and I started trying to come up with all of the players that have given the Golden Knights fits over the first four seasons. This idea was born out of the fact that VGK were making Nick Schmaltz look like an offense driving machine for a few shifts in a row and we thought, he’d fit right in with some of the names that kill the Golden Knights.

Of course, Schmaltz’s run of dominance didn’t last long (if it even lasted at all, he just popped for a shift or two and that was enough to catch my attention during that dreadful game), but players just like him have had success against the Golden Knights in meaningful games.

This team is built of players that have actually had an impact on helping their team beat the Golden Knights. Unlike players like Evander Kane, Tom Wilson, and Antoine Roussel who are just annoying and usually hurt their team.

Without further ado, here’s the All VGK Killer Team from the first four years of the Golden Knights’ existence.

1st Line
Kyle Connor-Anze Kopitar-David Perron

This is a legit 1st line, centered by the man who has more points against the Golden Knights than anyone else, Anze Kopitar. His 21 points in 21 games are five better than any other player in the league and he’s added a couple more in the playoffs. Connor has also thrashed the Golden Knights on the scoresheet, posting eight goals and five assists for 13 points in just eight games. Like Kopitar, he’s also scored a goal and an assist on VGK in the playoffs. Then, there’s the one and only David Perron. It seems like it’s a life goal to ruin the night of every Vegas fan every time he’s at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights have shut him down from time to time, but this list wouldn’t be complete without him.

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