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Vegas Golden Knights

Zak Krill/NHLI via Getty Images

NHL 2022 Offseason Guide: Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights
(Photo by Zak Krill/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHL 2022 Offseason Guide: Vegas Golden Knights

For the first time in their young history, the Vegas Golden Knights failed to make the playoffs, finishing the year with a record of 43-31-8. Their finish gave them a total of 94 points and fourth place in the weak Pacific division. Yes, they were five points away from potentially getting a playoff spot, so they’re close. However, they fired coach Peter DeBoer and brought in former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. I think it’s a great move, the Bruins should have kept him, and Vegas gets to reap the benefits. Furthermore, Jack Eichel should be healthy coming into the season. How will they respond after missing the playoffs for the first time ever?

Roster

The Vegas Golden Knights should be in win now mode. I think this because a lot of the roster is similar to Winnipeg – a lot of older veterans, with a good chunk being ages 25-30. Jonathan Marchessault finished as their top point getter with 66 points, Chandler Stephenson came two points behind, at 64. Newly acquired Knight F Jack Eichel finished with 24 points in 35 games. Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo put up solid seasons, both accumulating over 40 points this year, with Shea eclipsing 50. Max Pacioretty and William Karlsson both had career lows for this season, with 30 and 35 points, respectively. Robin Lehner had an okay year, going 23-17-2, with a 2.83 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

This team really was lacking superstar production last year, but I think they can turn it around.

Team Needs

This offseason will be an interesting one for Vegas. They don’t have much cap room as of right now, and they don’t have too much draft capital. However, one thing they do have is Pacioretty. Kelly McCrimmon should look into trading him to a rebuilder (say, New Jersey) in exchange for a young player and some picks. I think someone would want to get Pacioretty on their team, and they can resign him to a team-friendly deal after his contract expires. Worst case scenario, they use him as a rental like Tampa did with Blake Coleman.

Let’s say this trade does happen, and Pacioretty’s contract is off the table. You can use the money you got as a result of dealing him to sign some younger guys/veterans. Some possible names could be Keegan Kolesar, Nick Roy, Nick Hague and Brett Howden. I think all of these pieces can be signed for team friendly contracts in exchange for Vegas’ success in the playoffs. They missed the playoffs by the aforementioned five points, and they have a good shot to make a deep run barring Jack Eichel’s health this year. If he stays healthy, Vegas can make a run. In addition to all of that, they can potentially get a guy like Rickard Rakell for cheap in order to bolster their offensive production.

Cap Situation

Vegas is in the negative in terms of the cap right now, largely due to the contract of Eichel. He is making $10 million/year for the next four years. They also have Mark Stone making $9.5 AAV for five years, and Karlsson making $5.9 million for the next five years. Yes, this is one of the issues of expansion teams is that they don’t have as much money as some of the other teams, but they brought it upon themselves. McCrimmon needs to be in win now mode, because making the SCF in their first year gives VGK fans high expectations, whilst missing the playoffs doesn’t help. Like I mentioned above, some guys they could sign on RFA deals include Kolesar, Roy, Hague and Howden. I think the trio can make an impact in the bottom 6 (Hague is a top 4 d-man) and help push this team back to the postseason.

NHL Draft

The Vegas Golden Knights do not have much draft capital, as mentioned previously. Their first-round pick was traded to Buffalo in the Eichel trade. So, for this season they have a 2nd, a 3rd from the Rangers (Ryan Reaves trade), two 5ths, a 6th and a 7th. I think they can get some young prospects to replace some veterans — guys like Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo. I think a young guy who can fill this role in the coming years (if he’s available) is Mats Lindgren. His elite agility and high hockey IQ can make him a valuable asset to any team. I think this goal shows he has the potential to become the next elite d-man. Furthermore, his elite passing can also make him an offensive threat. He finished with five goals and 39 assists last season for Kamloops of the WHL.

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All stats in this article come from hockey-reference.com, and all salary cap notes come from capfriendly.com

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