Bob Lowes is a name that probably won’t ring a bell for most Golden Knights fans. He’s the Assistant Director of Player Personnel and was hired in 2016 among the first group of full-time front office members following George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon. But what he really has been is a clue to who the Golden Knights might pursue at the trade deadline.
Like many in the VGK organization, Lowes began his career in Brandon, Manitoba as a scout for the Wheat Kings. He eventually worked his way to the NHL with the Ottawa Senators on a part-time basis and then became the Director of Amateur scouting for the Sens in 2014.
Maybe the most famous thing he did while running the Draft for Ottawa was select 6’3″ 180 pound Mark Stone in the 6th round of the 2010 Draft. A player that was constantly knocked for his below-average skater, Lowes’ familiarity with Stone led to the pick and he continued to stump for Stone until he broke through into the NHL full-time in 2014.
Of course, when Stone became available on the trade market at the deadline back in 2018, we can assume Lowes was once again in Stone’s corner trying to get him to Vegas. But it’s not just Stone that jumps off the page on the list of players selected by Lowes while he was in Ottawa. He’s picked the main trade target for the Golden Knights at all three deadlines.
Last season, the Golden Knights made waves by trading for goalie Robin Lehner. He was selected 46th overall by Lowes in 2009. The prior year was Stone and at VGK’s first deadline they were hot after Erik Karlsson, who was selected 15th overall by Lowes.
All of this got the wheels turning in my head as we look forward to a trade deadline where the Golden Knights may be looking for an upgrade. Who else is connected to Bob Lowes? The names are pretty plentiful.
Center, New York Rangers
$5.35 million AAV (Expires following 2021-22 season)
Drafted by Lowes in 2011
Zibanejad is a high-end center that probably wouldn’t be one of the first players a rebuilding Rangers team would want to move. But, where things get interesting with Zibanejad is that he is one of four players on the Rangers to hold a no-move clause. And while that should jump out as a reason why he would “not be moved,” the upcoming Expansion Draft may complicate things a bit for the Rangers. Like in the Vegas Expansion Draft, players with NMCs are forced to be protected by their current teams. With just one season left on the contract after the Expansion Draft, it’s not completely out of the question that New York would consider exposing him. Due to the NMC though, they can’t. So, maybe they try and cash in with Vegas beforehand in a place Zibanejad may consider waiving his NMC to come to. The price would be fairly massive if they did.
Center, Columbus Blue Jackets
$5.5 million AAV (Expires following 2020-21 season)
Drafted by Lowes in 2006
The captain of the drowning Blue Jackets is having a bit of a down year. But, he’s the exact type of player that could come in and dominate as a 3rd line center for Vegas. The Golden Knights love trading for/signing captains and he has proven to be a valuable asset in the playoffs. He holds a 10-team no trade clause, but it’s unlikely Vegas is on that list. The bigger challenge would be getting the Jackets to hold half of that $5.5 million number.
Winger, San Jose Sharks
$1.5 million AAV (Expires following 2020-21 season)
Drafted by Lowes in 2011
Mostly a penalty kill/defensive specialist, Sorensen did put up a 17 goal season under Pete DeBoer just two years ago. He scored four times in the 2017-18 playoffs, including once against the Golden Knights too. As a pending UFA on a miserable Sharks team, they’ll be looking to cash in anywhere they can, so his time in San Jose is likely up at this deadline. He’d probably be more of a 4th line replacement, but he fits the William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, Erik Haula mold of a player that could possibly do more if brought to Vegas.
Winger, Anaheim Ducks
$5.25 million (Expires following 2023-24 season)
Drafted by Lowes in 2009
This one is a bit of a long shot, but he’s a heck of a player so the Golden Knights would be silly not to at least inquire. Again, the Expansion Draft is the kicker with this one as there’s an outside chance the Ducks could be looking to protect four defensemen which means they only get to save four forwards. They have one NMC on the roster (Ryan Kesler), which hamstrings them even a bit further. If Vegas comes in with a sizeable offer, maybe there’s a match here for both now and the longer-term future.
Other notable Lowes draft picks: Zach Smith (CHI), Ryan Dzingel (OTT), Derek Grant (ANA), Mark Borowiecki (OTT)