The football season is over and the spotlight has officially been handed over to the Golden Knights and the NHL. It’s the time of year when fringe fans become real fans and the mainstream networks pay a little more attention. It’s a great time for the league. The playoff chase begins, divisional battles heat up, and teams are already beefing up for a potential matchup with the Golden Knights.
Jack Eichel’s highly-anticipated debut is not only creating news here in Las Vegas but across the league.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 14, 2022
Calgary has proven this season that they can hang with Vegas. Now with the addition of Tyler Toffoli, the Flames offense became a lot more dangerous. The former LA King reunites with his old coach Darryl Sutter and brings a little kryptonite with him to Calgary. In last year’s semifinal loss to Montreal, Toffoli registered four points in six semifinal games against the Golden Knights. The former Canadien adds confidence and playoff success to a team that erased the Golden Knights 6-0 last week.
Why let someone else enter the race? I do think they were talking about the possibility of making it a Ben Chiarot trade too. At the end of the day Calgary decided ‘this is the guy we wanted, our coach knows him and we’re going out and getting him.’ This is exactly what they need, a scorer. He’s one of the best scorers available. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
Now that Captain Mark Stone is on LTIR the playoff roster picture looks a lot clearer. We all know the drill, there would have been cap casualties had the captain been fit to play. Stone’s contract relief might be enough to create a loaded playoff roster that could force other clubs to make improvements.
Other teams that are rumored to be seeking assistance in the postseason are the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Minnesota Wild. As of today, the Blues would be the Golden Knights’ first opponent in the playoffs. With that in mind, St. Louis, like Calgary, may also find interest in players with playoff success against Vegas. Friedman mentioned Ben Chiarot but another defenseman could fit on a Western contender as well.
The asking price is always going to be higher at this stage because you are waiting for the buyers and the sellers to truly define. It’s really a challenge between the buyer market and the seller market. There is a strong market for Jeff Petry. They’re looking at Petry and the body of work. They’re thinking back to his influence in helping Montreal reach the Stanley Cup Final last year. There is strong interest and there will be a strong market. –Darren Dreger on TSN 690
Targeting big defenseman could be of interest for a team expecting to face the Golden Knights. Considering what Chiarot and Petry did to Vegas in the semifinals it seems like a good strategy. Colorado and Flyer’s captain Claude Giroux are linked in rumors and Minnesota has a few bucks in cap space to play with at the deadline. Teams will need to advance their own rosters if they intend on eliminating a healthy Golden Knights club.
One of the things that I think Vegas always knew was that injuries were a factor. Coming out of All-Star break they were fifth in the league in man games lost due to injury. I think they always knew that there was a possibility of health could make the decision. People are going to scream bloody murder. He legitimately has a back injury, he’s missed twenty games. Kelly McCrimmon was very tight lipped about it. Obviously you want your people to be healthy but if you can pull this off they would do it just like anybody else would try it. –Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
While the western Stanley Cup hopefuls get better the league will keep their eyes on the Golden Knights. With Stone out and Eichel activated in the same week the questions are out there, heck I have them. It doesn’t sound as if NHL will be monitoring Stone like the FBI but he should expect some checkups.
I think the NHL will be on the Golden Knights. They’ll be on him to make sure that he can’t come back. That’s the one thing they do now. They’ve had Shea Weber come in and get looked at a couple of times and they’ll do the same thing with Stone. –Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
By the start of the postseason, it’s possible Vegas will have a healthy Eichel, Martinez, and Stone in their lineup on top of Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Shea Theodore. If teams don’t load up by the deadline they could be outclassed come playoff time.