It’s no surprise the Golden Knights front office acquired left-shooting forward Ivan Barbashev on Sunday afternoon. According to NHL insiders Vegas had been exploring the 27-year-old dating back to early January.
Someone said to me, depending on particularly what Vegas’ injury situation is, they could see Vegas liking Acciari and Barbashev. Who’s coaching Vegas? Accairi was in Boston with Cassidy and Cassidy saw Barbashev play very well in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. –Elliotte Freidman on 32 Thoughts Podcast on 01/27/23
Kelly McCrimmon confirmed the long-time interest when he said the Golden Knights have had 45 in-person viewings of Barbashev this season alone.
The seven-year veteran adds extra offense, size, and an edge that will play out well in the playoffs. During St. Louis’ astonishing Stanley Cup run in 2019, Barbashev totaled 87 hits in 25 games. To highlight his physicality even more, he only served four minutes in penalties throughout the entire postseason. As NHL coaches would say, finishing checks, getting gritty in the corners, and being disruptive in front of the net are how teams win seven-game series. Barbashev has proven he can do all three without taking costly penalties.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) June 2, 2019
By the time the Golden Knights pulled the trigger on the Barbashev trade, most of the high-impact forwards had been sold. The chief among them was Timo Meier, whom New Jersey plucked from several interested teams, including Vegas. This leads to the question, are the Golden Knights done? It’s unlikely.
With the main characters off the board where can the Golden Knights look for more postseason ammo? We searched through a variety of options. Players that fit, players with or without term, and players that have connections to the organization.
James van Riemsdyk – LW
$7 million – Expiring Contract
9 goals, 14 assists in 40 GP
It’s no secret van Riemsdyk is available. Philadelphia hit reset button this summer and would love to dump costly players that aren’t in their future plans. JVR wouldn’t be acquired for his speed or quickness, but for his ability to light the lamp. Most importantly, he would be a tremendous net-front presence for the Golden Knights.
We defined Net-Front Scorers as players who possess superior hand-eye coordination, and along with toughness, an edge and hockey sense, camp out in the dirty areas to tip and re-direct pucks and create chaos. –Frank Seravalli on DailyFaceoff.com
Using a formula of deflections, inner slot shots, and average shot distance, Daily Faceoff ranked van Riemsdyk as the 12th-best Net-Front scorer in the NHL. Adding two offensive weapons with complimenting styles could be the difference of a playoff exit or advancing to another round.
Frank Vatrano – LW
$3.65 million – 3 years remaining
15 goals, 14 assists in 60 GP
This makes too much sense. Vatrano and Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy know each other well. The 28-year-old played under Cassidy with the AHL’s Providence Bruins and with the Boston Bruins. The two have spoken fondly of one another and the player had success under his former bench boss in two leagues.
I guess until we see which young kids are in the lineup every day, it’s a little bit of a tough call right now, but the obvious one is Vatrano. Simply because he has such a good shot. It’s an NHL release and it’s heavy and can beat goalies. We just have to get him to where he’s seeing more pucks and better opportunities to score. –Bruce Cassidy in 2017
Oh, and by the way, Vatrano has 15 goals this season on a lousy Ducks team. And he wouldn’t be rental. The eight-year veteran averages 20 goals per season, is under contract till 2025 and carries a manageable $3.65M AAV. The connection, the fit, and value are all there.
Josh Anderson – RW
$5.5 million – 5 years remaining
17 goals, 6 assists in 57 GP
I’ll keep this short because Montreal has “no interest” in trading Anderson.
Let’s talk about a player who is not in play and the player is in fact Josh Anderson. As we all know, the Canadiens often get calls on Anderson because he’s a unique player in the NHL. He’s that prototypical power-forward. -Darren Dreger on TSN’s Insider Trading on February 2nd, 2023
He’s big, he’s rough and he scores. In my opinion, the Golden Knights need more of that. The 6’3, 220 lbs. right winger averages 22 goals per season, plus he has term. Which is another hurdle.
Josh Anderson gets a game misconduct for this hit on Alex Pietrangelo pic.twitter.com/WSjSjVvTRX
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 6, 2022
Before discussions begin, here’s some important advice for the FO, check with Alex Pietrangelo first. I’m sure #7 vividly remembers the dangerous/dirty hit Anderson laid on him back in November. Add it to the reasons why this deal will not happen. But for record’s sake, the Canadiens winger would play a highly effective role for Vegas or any contender.
Cam Talbot – Goaltender
$3.67 million – Expiring Contract
2.90 GAA, .905 Sv% in 29 GP
Several insiders have reported the Senators plan on moving Cam Talbot.
With all three goalies facing injury concerns in the last two weeks, Talbot could be yet another insurance policy and instantly become the most experienced tender in the room. Talbot has 31 postseason starts, while Vegas’ trio of Adin Hill, Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson have zero combined. If Vegas is sniffing around the goaltending market, Ottawa would be the right trading partner. The Senators are both buyers and sellers.
We could be a buyer at certain positions, and a seller at certain positions. As a GM this is the most fun time of the year. There’s no doubt about it. -Pierre Dorion, Ottawa GM
Reportedly, the Senators are hunting for defensemen. Defense is one position where the Golden Knights have some depth. That could turn into enough trade currency for Talbot. Would Kaedan Korczak or Lukas Cormier be enough? It’s likely the Senators’ front office have interest in Nic Hague. Not sure he’s available. Bottom line, if the front office has uncertainty about their goaltending, Talbot would boost organizational confidence.