Latest on the Blackhawks & Golden Knights – June 1, 2017
A deal between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights could be close, plus a look at four expensive players the Golden Knights should consider selecting in the expansion draft.
TSN: Frank Seravalli yesterday reported the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks could be working out a trade ahead of the June 21 expansion draft. The deal would see the Golden Knights select defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in the draft on the condition Vegas acquire center Marcus Kruger via trade. Seravalli claims the deal isn’t 100 percent done yet but appears likely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas general manager George McPhee recently said his club’s first trade could come as early as next week. Perhaps this is the deal he’s referring to.
With three defensemen (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson) and four forwards (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov) carrying no-movement clauses, the Blackhawks are limited in how many players they can protect.
Depending on the return to the Blackhawks, this would be a straightforward salary dump on their part. They currently have over $77 million invested in 22 players for next season. They would shed nearly $4 million in cap space by moving Kruger ($3.083 million annually) and van Riemsdyk ($825K).
Seravalli’s colleague Pierre LeBrun replied that he’s also heard the Golden Knights could receive a first-round pick from a team if they take on a bad contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun didn’t say which club could be making that pitch, but there are several that could be keen to make that move. The Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are among several teams with limited cap room for 2017-18 in need of shedding some salary, especially if the cap ceiling fails to significantly increase. Speaking of which….
SPORTSNET: Jonathan Willis lists the Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, Edmonton Oilers winger Benoit Pouliot, Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov as four expensive players the Golden Knights should consider selecting in the expansion draft. He believes they would address Vegas’ need for versatile players capable of playing many minutes and in multiple situations who could be long-term fits or have trade potential in the next two seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the four on this list, Bogosian would be the best bet. That being said, he last played over 70 games back in 2010-11 and hasn’t developed into the top-pairing blueliner he was projected to become. At over $5.1 million for the next three seasons, the Golden Knights are unlikely to get full value for their money. The Avs are believed intent on protecting Varlamov in the draft. Unless they’ve had a significant change of heart, we can probably rule him out.
Pouliot’s a versatile forward but his inconsistent play and $4 million annual cap hit isn’t likely to make him a worthwhile addition for Vegas. Stajan’s a decent depth center and has only one season remaining on his contract at an affordable $3.125 million, but he turns 34 in December and his best seasons are well behind him now.