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Chandler Stephenson: Keeping Him Should Be Vegas’ Number One Priority

Chandler Stephenson
With NHL free agency coming up this Summer, the priority in Vegas for the Golden Knights should be keeping Chandler Stephenson. Here’s why. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

Chandler Stephenson: Keeping Him Should Be Vegas’ Number One Priority

I’ve been begging the Golden Knights to get a contract extension for Chandler Stephenson ironed out for years now. Now we’re finally reaching the expiration point as the gritty two way forward will reach free agency in July. When free agency does hit, the VGK need to do whatever it takes to keep Stephenson.

I know.

I know.

Jonathan Marchessault needs a new contract too. Marchy has made it clear he wants to be a Golden Knight for life. The part I don’t understand is why there needs to be a choice. Both need to be back and Stephenson should be viewed as important if not more important.

I’ve already started the dialogue on how the VGK can open up cap space this offseason. If you haven’t checked that out yet, do so here with this link. There is a lot of bad information out there on the internet where the VGK stand cap space wise so I encourage you to give that a read.

Long story short; there is a very clear path forward to keep Marchessault and Stephenson. Let’s just make it clear that the latter needs to be kept at all costs.

Stephenson, 30, had 51 points in 75 games a year ago. It’s a slight tick down from the 65 and 64-point seasons the two years prior. The point totals aren’t overly sexy but it doesn’t tell the full story. He just brings so many intangibles to the team that I have no idea how the team can possibly replace him.

Vegas needs Stephenson’s speed through the neutral zone. Tomas Hertl and Mark Stone aren’t exactly the fleetest of foot. He’s been a perfect compliment for Mark Stone for years bringing that speed element to the table. He also forechecks his ass off and wins faceoffs at a high rate while being part of the penalty kill. Stephenson fits the Bruce Cassidy system who values two-way ability and center ice depth.

Again, Hertl and Stone are both really good players. Who brings the speed element to the table if Stephenson isn’t there? He’s as much a part of the puzzle as any player on the roster. Stephenson had 20 points in 22 playoff games during the Stanley Cup run last year. Let’s not forget about what this guy brings to the table.

I just hope Kelly McCrimmon and the rest of the front office understands how important Stephenson is to this group. You can’t replace his speed and he’s absolutely necessary to match up with the other helions you have to face out West. Keeping Stephenson is the key to the entire offseason. Let’s hope that the front office in Vegas understands that for all our sake.

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