The NHL Trade Deadline is still 31 days away, but the Golden Knights have just 10 games before they have to make their decision on what to do.
Many of the question marks from the beginning of the season remain and a massive new one has popped up along the way. The health of Mark Stone will clearly be the most important determining factor as to the choices Vegas make at the deadline.
No matter where they are with Stone though, the Golden Knights’ place amongst the Western Conference will also play a part in the VGK front office’s decision-making. The numbers haven’t been pretty lately including 0-2-2 in the last four, 2-6-2 in the last 10, and 16-16-4 since the red-hot start. The Golden Knights currently sit in 2nd in the division and fourth in the conference, but are almost exactly as far from the playoff cut line as the top of the division in points percentage.
As was the case last year as the Golden Knights slipped down the standings around deadline day, there’s certainly an argument for the Golden Knights to hold or even sell before March 3rd. However, don’t expect that to happen.
That Vegas thing, they are really struggling and I think they are going to do something, the question is just when. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
Friedman has thrown out a few names for Vegas but the two he’s keyed in on are a pair of forwards from the St. Louis Blues.
Someone said to me, depending on particularly what Vegas’ injury situation is, they could see Vegas liking (Noel) Acciari and (Ivan) Barbashev. Who’s coaching Vegas? Accairi was in Boston with Cassidy and Cassidy saw Barbashev play very well in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. Not saying they’re going to end up there but both of those players are going to be available. Vegas will be interesting with what they do depending on Stone’s injury. –Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
Acciari is a former Bruin, and as Friedman mentioned, played for Bruce Cassidy both in the NHL and AHL in Boston and Providence. He’s a defense-first center who regularly starts 65-70% of his shifts in the defensive zone. He has just 18 points in 51 games this season but has potted 10 goals for the Blues.
Under Cassidy, Acciari played 142 games and tallied 17 goals and 10 assists. He was relied upon to kill penalties but rarely saw power play time. He averaged about 12 minutes a night for Cassidy’s Bruins and scored seven playoff points in his 35 postseason games.
Barbashev is a similar player but is a left-handed winger as opposed to the right-handed centerman, Acciari. 24 points in 51 games for Barbashev including a strong recent run of three goals and four points in the last five games. Barbashev scored in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final against Cassidy’s Bruins and averaged 15 minutes of ice time per game in that series.
Both Barbashev and Acciari are on expiring contracts with Barbashev’s worth $2.25 million and Acciari’s a million less at $1.25 million.