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Golden Knights Used To Heating Up Around Trade Deadline

With the acquisition of Mattias Janmark and a few other changes to the starting lineup, Vegas looked like a different team on Wednesday. They were flying all over the ice, creating scoring chances at will, and finished the game with six goals, chasing a multiple Cup-winning goalie.

It’s part of a four-game winning streak and with the schedule set up pretty nicely, it appears like a good time for the Golden Knights to rip off seven or eight in a row.

Sound familiar for this time of the season?

Last year with the team trading for Alec Martinez, Robin Lehner, and Nick Cousins while subtracting Cody Eakin from the lineup the Golden Knights were in the middle of a five-game win streak when the deadline hit. They pushed that to eight and had won 11 of 13 prior to the Pause.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 2018-19, right after they added Mark Stone, Vegas stormed off on a six-game winning streak. That streak stopped ever so briefly before they extended it to 10 wins in 11 games

The first year there wasn’t exactly a winning streak like the previous two, but from mid-February to mid-March, wrapped around the deadline, the Golden Knights won nine of 14.

But, despite those little deadline-inspired runs, Vegas is probably hoping for a bit different outcome down the stretch this year than they’ve seen in their first three seasons.

In Year 1 the Golden Knights coasted to the finish line winning just five of their final 10 games. Year 2 saw essentially a collapse as Vegas won just three of the final 10. Then last year, the Golden Knights were winning on the ice, but couldn’t maintain health off it. Pandemic aside, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Chandler Stephenson were all hampered with injuries that could have led to a rough finish to the season had it not been cut short.

The Golden Knights have 14 games remaining in the regular season as they sit four points out of first place with a game in hand. 10 of the 14 are against teams with a sub .500 points percentage and 12 of the 14 against teams with more losses than wins on their season record.

No matter what Colorado does, the schedule is set up very nicely for Vegas to storm into the playoffs on a major hot streak. Usually, teams that do that continue on when they get there.

2021 Trade Deadline Roundup

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL Trade Deadline is at Noon Pacific time today. The Golden Knights have indicated they are not expecting to make many moves, but it’s not really in the DNA of the guys in charge to do nothing.

This article will be dedicated to all pertinent news surrounding the Golden Knights and this year’s deadline. It will be updated throughout the day.

  • Mattias Janmark appears to be headed to Vegas. (Source: @PierreVLeBrun)
    • The Golden Knights have acquired Janmark and a 5th for a 2nd and a 3rd. (@DarrenDreger)
    • It appears that 5th round pick VGK got is actually heading to San Jose as a salary broker for a minor league. (@PierreVLeBrun)
  • The Golden Knights were reportedly “lurking” on both Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno. (Source: @emilymkaplan)
    • “I believe the Vegas Golden Knights had strong interest in Taylor Hall, but by the time Vegas got to a point where Adams (Buffalo GM) was willing to take that to Taylor Hall, he felt fairly strongly that he wanted to do to Boston.” -Darren Dreger on TSN TradeCentre
  • Nolan Patrick is potentially a target for Vegas. (Source: @AntSanPhilly 1 /@AntSanPhilly 2 / @AntSanPhilly 3)
  • “We’re in this position by choice. It’s what we wanted to do with our roster. We like our roster, and I believe our approach will be quite different based on that.” -Kelly McCrimmon on March 19th (Source: LVRJ)
  • Patrick Brown has been placed on LTIR. (Source: SinBin.vegas)
  • GM Kelly McCrimmon will hold a press conference at 3:00 PM today whether the Golden Knights make a move or not. (Source: Golden Knights)

George McPhee’s Has Stood Pat At Deadlines Before; How’d It Turn Out?

It’s trade deadline day, and in a few long hours, we’ll know the roster the Golden Knights will bring into the playoffs on their run for a Stanley Cup in year four of the franchise.

Deadline day is great because it’s one of the few days where hope truly springs eternal for all teams. Winning teams look for their clubs to add the final piece to the puzzle, middling teams hope for the blockbuster that changes the season, and the bottomfeeders wave the white flag and focus on a brighter future.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In Vegas, the deadline has been a day for celebration all three seasons. From Tomas Tatar to Mark Stone to Robin Lehner and Alec Martinez, the Golden Knights have swung for the fences each and every year.

Unfortunately, to this point, none of these trades have been that one missing element to help the Golden Knights lift the Cup, but that certainly doesn’t mean they haven’t had an impact on the team.

This year feels different though. This year the Golden Knights sit in a clear playoff position and have a reasonable argument to stake their claim amongst the league’s elites. They’ve raced out to an impressive 27-11-2 record, hardly ever lose at home, and they have a roster that on paper stacks up with anyone in the league. But, they are also so close to the salary cap that they can’t even afford to replace an injured player without placing him on LTIR. They’ve played multiple games shorthanded and understand that any trade must include money and players going out.

However, history tells us George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon aren’t exactly big fans of sitting on their hands at the deadline. In three seasons with Vegas, they’ve made eight trades either on or within a week of the deadline. They’ve been involved in a headline move four times and have sent away just two players off their every-day starting lineup.

That’s such a short history though, so we wanted to dig a little deeper. Current GM, McCrimmon, has only held this role in Vegas, so we have to focus on the current President of Hockey Operations, McPhee.

He has been in the head seat for 19 previous deadlines. He has made at least one trade in 16 of them. He’s made multiple trades in 12, and 10 of the last 13. However, it’s the other side of the coin we’re more interested in today, the years he stood pat.

He did that with the Washington Capitals three times in 16 seasons at the helm. Those seasons were 2011-12, 2008-09, and 1999-00. We’ll start with the most recent, in which McPhee was quoted after the deadline saying this…

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Carp: Fools Gold? Or Have The Top Six Woken Up In Time?

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

When the week began, my original inclination was to draw a conclusion that the Golden Knights problem with their offense isn’t with their bottom six, but rather their top six.

Actually, make that top seven as I’ll include Alex Tuch in the conversation.

Then the Knights scored six goals Monday against St. Louis. Problem solved, right?

Not exactly.

The top guns went back into cold storage Wednesday in the 3-1 loss to the Blues. So the angle was back in play.

Or was it?

Friday, the Knights scored a season-high seven goals in defeating Arizona, 7-4. Reilly Smith got two of them. Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, and Max Pacioretty also scored. The line of Smith, Marchessault, and William Karlsson combined for six points.

I left The Fortress a bit confused. Was what I had witnessed an actual wake-up by Smith and the guys? Or was it a tease and we’ll see them go back into hibernation?

I’m still not sure what to believe. Smith has always been a streaky scorer. He’ll be in deep freeze for weeks. Suddenly, he’ll be wielding a hot stick and he’ll be scoring with regularity. However, I’ve learned to never give up on him. He’s too good a competitor to stay off the scoresheet forever. And when Marchessault, that little ball of hate, gets his juices flowing, that line becomes dangerous once again.

That brings us to today’s rematch with the Coyotes and what may be the most important 24 hours of the season so far. If you read ‘Yotes coach Rick Tocchet’s postgame comments Friday, you know he was a very unhappy boss. He basically called his team out for allowing the Knights to jump them and build a 5-0 lead. Yes, his team sort of responded with a bit of push in the third period, but it wasn’t close to being enough to overcome the hole they had dug for themselves.

I will be absolutely shocked if the ‘Yotes don’t come out angry and flying this afternoon, looking to make a statement. They are fighting for their playoff lives as they are currently one point behind the Blues for the fourth and final West Division playoff berth and they figure to play with a great amount of desperation.

My concern is will the Knights match that desperation? Will they play with jump, with purpose, and with intensity? Will they not hang Marc-Andre Fleury out to dry against Phil Kessel, Nick Schmaltz, Clayton Keller, and Connor Garland, Arizona’s primary weapons?

Most important, will the top six build off Friday’s performance and will Tuch, who last scored a goal March 13 and has one tally in his last 17 contests, find the back of the net?

There’s another facet to today’s game. The NHL trade deadline is 24 hours away. Kelly McCrimmon has publicly stated he doesn’t expect the team to make a big splash by noon Monday. But Colorado got better Saturday in upgrading its goaltending with the acquisition of Devan Dubnyk from San Jose and Joe Sakic may not be done dealing. The Avalanche currently reside atop the West Division with a four-point lead on the Knights, who have a game in hand on Colorado. The two teams have two more meetings remaining later this month — both in Las Vegas.

The Knights had organizational meetings in town earlier this week to explore all their options. Remember, they’re up against the salary cap so they’re going to have to get real creative if they want to swing a major deal. Even a secondary trade may require some heavy lifting, depending on who is involved.

If I’m GMKM, I’m watching today’s match with more than the usual interest. It’s up to him, and Prez George, to determine if there’s enough offense to beat Colorado and/or Minnesota, then be able to score often enough to win the Stanley Cup.

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Carp: Anxious Times Await NHL Players

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

Welcome to Anxiety Week.

It’s that time of the year where if you’re an NHL player, you start hearing rumors that you’ll be moved at the trade deadline. You get texts from friends. Your wife or girlfriend asks you what’s up. Your kids, if they’re old enough, are freaked out at the idea they may have to move and leave their friends and have to go to a new school.

Anxious? You bet.

For a lot of NHL players, they need not be worried. Some have no-move clauses in their contracts or, if you’re someone like Marc-Andre Fleury, have a list of teams they would agree to be traded to.

But for others, this is a tough week. The trade deadline is eight days away (April 12) and trying to maintain one’s focus on their job is not an easy task. Especially if your team is currently struggling and change is imminent.

The stock answer players give when asked if they’re worried about being shipped out is “It’s out of my hands” or “I don’t worry about things I have no control over” both of which are true. They understand the business side of the game and let’s not fret over where their next meal is coming from because everyone is well compensated for their services. If they have to go to Detroit or Ottawa, so be it. They’ll pack their stuff, head to the next destination, and try to quickly assimilate within their new team.

For the Golden Knights players, being moved on or before the April 12 deadline is even more disconcerting. You’d be leaving a team that is built to compete for the Stanley Cup, was leading its division for most of the season, and has been one of the best in the entire NHL since Opening Night. Can you imagine how bummed a player would be if he got a call from Kelly McCrimmon and he tells you you’ve been traded to Buffalo?

It could happen, to pretty much anyone. Especially given the recent events of this week that have seen Vegas drop three in a row, fail to hold the lead in the 3rd period, and a power play that has been more dismal than what we’ve come to expect.

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2020 Trade Deadline Roundup

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL Trade Deadline is at Noon Pacific time today. The Golden Knights have already been active making two moves in the leadup, and they certainly may be in the mix for at least one more today.

This article will be dedicated to all pertinent news surrounding the Golden Knights and this year’s deadline. It will be updated throughout the day.

  • Golden Knights have acquired goalie Robin Lehner from Chicago. (Source: @DarrenDreger)
    • Reports indicate the Golden Knights have given up and 2nd round pick and a prospect. (Source: @reporterchris)
    • Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin, a 2nd and a 5th for Lehner and prospect Martins Dzierkals is the final deal. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • Vegas has acquired Nick Cousins from the Montreal Canadiens (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Nick Holden has re-signed with the Golden Knights. It’s a 2 year deal at $1.7M AAV. (Source: Golden Knights)
  • On Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Golden Knights acquired Alec Martinez for a pair of 2nd round picks. (Source: SinBin.vegas)
  • Vegas traded Cody Eakin for a conditional 4th round pick to Winnipeg on Saturday. (Source: SinBin.vegas)
    • The Golden Knights will receive a 3rd round pick if the Jets make the playoffs OR re-sign Eakin
  • The Athletic reported the Golden Knights have interest in defenseman Erik Gustafsson (Source: Jesse Granger, The Athletic)
  • Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston refuted the Golden Knights being in on Gustafsson but said they do have interest in Toronto’s Tyson Barrie (Source: @BrianBlessing)
  • The Creator mentioned “secondary moves”, plural, in his recent interview on Vegas Hockey Hotline. They’ve made one since that interview. (Source: Vegas Hockey Hotline)
  • Former Golden Knight Erik Haula was traded to the Florida Panthers with Lucas Wallmark in exchange for Vincent Trochek. (Source: @frank_seravalli)
    • This trade triggers the condition on the 2021 Conditional 5th Round Pick the Golden Knights acquired from the Hurricanes in the Vegas/Carolina trade. Vegas will get the Canes 5th in the 2021 Draft. (Source: @PierreVLeBrun)
  • The Golden Knights next opponent, the Edmonton Oilers, have acquired Andreas Athanasiou from Detroit. (Source: @GMillerTSN)
  • GM Kelly McCrimmon will hold a press conference at 3:30 PM today whether the Golden Knights make a move or not. (Source: Golden Knights)

Expect Another Active Deadline For The Golden Knights; But No Rentals

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There are 66 days left before the clock strikes midnight (technically noon) on the NHL’s open trade season. February 24th is the NHL’s trade deadline and like they have been each of the first two years, the Golden Knights are expected to be busy.

We were tight on the cap, but now we’re kind of clear. If we do things right we’ll be in good shape at the trade deadline to do something interesting. We’ll see what the opportunities are. We have a need in one particular area that I’m sure George is going to try and fill. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Speculation is sure to run rampant between now and then but the most likely “need” for the Golden Knights is an upgrade on the back end.

We’re accruing cap space every day right now, not a lot… so there could be something happening (at the deadline) but not a Mark Stone type happening… Then we want to try and start building cap space. We really do, we want to have more cap space. -The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

There is one key caveat the Golden Knights like to stick to though.

George and Kelly won’t give up assets for a rental. It just doesn’t happen. They want a player that’s going to be with our team for a long time. -The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

There won’t be any Taylor Hall-esque deals for Vegas.

If we bring someone in at the trade deadline we’re going to want to have a contract with him. If we want that person we’ll want a longer-term deal as part of the transaction. -The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

This doesn’t completely mean the upcoming UFA’s are completely off the table for the Golden Knights, but it does mean the net will be cast a little wider.

The Golden Knights are expected to have their pro scouting staff in house in early January to start preparing for February 24th. From that point on, expect the Golden Knights to be active on the rumor mill looking for that final piece to push them across the finish line this season.

**Listen to the entire interview with The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline with Brian Blessing here.**

Golden Knights Rumored To Be “Looking For A Mobile D”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the regular season, the Golden Knights have been playing a numbers game with the salary cap. They’ve shuttled players like Nic Roy, Nic Hague, Cody Glass, Jimmy Schuldt, and Jake Bischoff between the NHL and AHL in an attempt to accrue usable cap space come trade deadline day. Thus far, they’ve sent Roy down four times, Hague three, and Glass, Schuldt, and Bischoff each once. In doing so, they’ve lessened the cap hits of all five waiver exempt rookies.

They are doing this for one reason, and one reason only, so they are in a position to make a trade and acquire a player that will help them win the Stanley Cup. Whether that trade happens today, or next week, or seconds before noon on February 24th, that’s why they are playing this game.

Which should obviously spark everyone reading this to ask the exact same question.

“Who are they looking to trade for?”

No one besides a select few inside the walls of City National Arena actually know, but over the course of the next four months there will be context clues along the way.

The first of those comes to us compliments of Sportsnet.ca’s superstar reporter Elliotte Friedman.

Nate Schmidt is back after a 13-game absence, and the Golden Knights badly missed him. Does Vegas feel the need to add mobility on the blue line? Opponents do think it is one of their few weaknesses. –Friedman in 31 thoughts on 11/5/19

He left it there in the written article but went on to elaborate a bit on his weekly podcast with Jeff Marek, also named 31 Thoughts.

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Golden Knights Were Bargain Hunters At Deadline

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights were in a peculiar spot at the trade deadline this season. They were the reigning Western Conference Champions who believe they upgraded the team in the offseason, they were also firmly entrenched in a playoff position and had as good a shot as anybody in the West to make another run. However, they were mired in the worst slump in franchise history, the magic of the inaugural season appeared to have worn off, they still viewed themselves as a new franchise without a bevy of prospects in the system, and they struck out mightily at the deadline a year ago.

That led to speculation ranging all the way from trying to make the blockbuster, to sitting still and doing nothing, to even selling and focusing on the future like they were supposed to be doing last year. The fact of the matter was, all options were truly on the table for George McPhee, and he had to choose the right one.

In the end, we know how the story goes, they made the biggest splash at the deadline not only acquiring Mark Stone but signing him to a mega-extension keeping him here through 2027.

However, behind the scenes, it looked a bit different.

A lot of people were talking about us ‘big game hunting’ all week and we really weren’t. –George McPhee on Two Man Advantage Podcast

McPhee says he didn’t think the Golden Knights were going to do anything. Then things changed on deadline day, he saw we he thought was a bargain and he went for it.

We had talked to (Ottawa) five days before that and it seemed like it was a lot and we just weren’t going to participate in it, and then a couple of teams dropped out and we got a call and we were back in and we pursued it. -McPhee on Two Man Advantage Podcast

Obviously, McPhee and his staff had ideas of what they would like to do, but as few as 12 hours before the deadline, he wasn’t sure any of it was actually going to come to fruition.

We were trying to find a player that might make sense but when we listed the players Mark Stone was Plan A, if it made sense in terms of price and contract, and we thought if we don’t get Plan A we probably don’t do anything because this is when mistakes are made, at the trade deadline and on July 1st. This was Plan A and it actually worked out. -McPhee on Two Man Advantage Podcast

As the deadline approached though, Plan A ended up not being the only bargain that may have cropped up.

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McPhee Doesn’t Want Rentals, But Shouldn’t He? (Plus Four Trade Options With Term)

The company line out of Vegas is that George McPhee is not interested in taking on players without term left on their contract.

We have cap space to do things, but the inclination is to not take on rentals. –McPhee to LVRJ

However, one has to ask if maybe McPhee is missing out on a trade market by not maximizing the draw of his home market.

The Golden Knights have only been around for two years, and just one offseason, but every unrestricted free agent in that offseason went on record saying they wanted to come back. Multiple free agents from other markets made it clear they wanted to play in Vegas, and Max Pacioretty couldn’t stop gushing about the city when the trade was completed to bring him here.

McPhee’s unwillingness to bring in a rental makes sense for the long term future of the team. Giving up an asset for a guy to be with the team for two or three months isn’t a wise move for a budding franchise. However, a rental could easily turn into a long-term (or even shorter term) deal for the Golden Knights just by getting the player in the door.

Rentals are cheap compared to players with term. Might it be wise for McPhee to pay the bargain price for a player like a Marcus Johansson, Kevin Hayes, or Micheal Ferland and then bank on the city of Vegas to seal the deal of locking them into an extension?

There’s no doubt it’s risky and bold, but isn’t that what this team was built on in the Expansion Draft, and even more so, isn’t that the entire point of Las Vegas?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Plus, buying the rental helps to avoid the Tomas Tatar situation. If the player Vegas acquires doesn’t work, you let him walk and aren’t on the hook for years of salary.

Again, I understand where McPhee’s coming from, but it’s certainly something to think about as the deadline approaches and the prices come down.


Say McPhee is indeed out on rentals. So, no Panarin, Stone, Johansson, Ferland, Simmonds, Nyquist or any other UFA. Let’s take a look at some of the other options that could be on the table.

Alexander Wennberg (Columbus Blue Jackets, C, 24 y/o, $4.9M thru 22-23)

One of William Karlsson’s best friends in the hockey world, the 24-year-old is a Gallant type player. He’s defensively sound with the ability to create scoring chances for teammates. At the Expansion Draft, the Blue Jackets went above and beyond to protect Wennberg, but having a down season and needing to free up some money to try and re-sign Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel (and maybe Panarin and Bobrovsky) they could use some cap freedom. Wennberg has been held out of each of the last two games so the price may be at its lowest ever. Vegas turned around one Blue Jacket center, maybe they can do it again.

Andre Burakovsky (Washington Capitals, LW/RW, 23 y/o, $3M, RFA w/ arb this offseason) 

Any time a Capital comes available you have to think McPhee is interested. Burakovsky was a 1st round pick by McPhee in the 2013 Draft and simply hasn’t found a home in the Washington lineup. He’s having the worst season of his career, but there’s no questioning the talent and skill level he possesses. He helps fill Vegas’ age gap and the cost shouldn’t be too prohibitive. Washington is without its 2020 2nd round pick, Vegas has a trio of them. Might they be able to start there?

Vladislav Namestnikov (New York Rangers, C, 26 y/o, $4M thru 19-20)

The Rangers are clearly in a fire sale, everything must go. They acquired Namestnikov at the deadline last year in the Ryan McDonough deal but he hasn’t fit in well in New York. With the Rangers rebuild still probably a few years away, Namestnikov could be an unrestricted free agent before they are ready to win. The Golden Knights have another Russian player they are trying to lure over from the KHL, Nikita Gusev, and having a third Russian might help the transition. The Rangers want picks and prospects, and it shouldn’t take a 1st to get this done.

Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers, LW, 25 y/o, $5.9M thru 22-23)

A former top-liner for Gerard Gallant, McPhee may be willing to take on the added salary if he’s able to get Huberdeau for a bargain price. Florida only has its own picks in 2020, so Vegas’ extra 2nds could come in handy to pull this one off. If Florida is interested in Colin Miller, this one could really have legs.

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