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Vegas Golden Knights Struggling to Handle Voids in Ahead Corps – The Hockey Writers – Vegas Golden Knights

With six unrestricted free brokers set to hit the market — together with 5 forwards — and a necessity to regulate their goaltending scenario, the Vegas Golden Knights had been at all times going to battle to cowl all areas of want this offseason amidst a decent cap scenario. After including $1 million in cap commitments by changing Logan Thompson with Ilya Samsonov as backup goalie, it grew to become much more of a problem.

But, Vegas’ offseason has appeared just a little underwhelming. Sure, the goaltending has just a little extra depth, because of Samsonov and Akira Schmid. And sure, the depth of the group’s blue line most likely takes the sting out of dropping Alec Martinez to the Chicago Blackhawks. Upfront, nevertheless, Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, William Service, Michael Amadio, and Anthony Mantha have all signed elsewhere. That’s 81 outgoing targets (88, when you rely the seven from departed-forward Paul Cotter) from a season in the past, with minimal assist coming in.

The expertise exodus may need subtracted a variety of offense, however it hasn’t had an equally-beneficial affect on the cap scenario. Vegas is presently projected to be roughly $1.3 million underneath the brand new $88 million cap as soon as goaltender Robin Lehner is moved again to long-term injured reserve. That leaves little wiggle room to fill the void, however the Golden Knights nonetheless have choices.

Golden Knights Offseason Additions

Nonetheless, the membership has been energetic in current weeks. Within the deal that despatched Cotter to the New Jersey Devils, Vegas acquired Alexander Holtz, the seventh-overall choose of the 2020 Draft, who is 2 years youthful than Cotter and recorded 9 extra targets final season. Whereas the Devils valued Cotter’s bodily edge, Holtz has superior scoring instincts and should even see some top-six time flanking Jack Eichel or Tomas Hertl.

Alexander Holtz, one of many new faces of the Vegas Golden Knights (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Golden Knights additionally added Buffalo Sabres’ veteran ahead Victor Olofsson on a one-year, $1.075 million contract. Like Samsonov and Schmid, Olofsson adopted up a career-best 2022-23 marketing campaign with a forgettable 2023-24. In that sense, the franchise is banking on a return to the shape that noticed the 28-year-old rating 28 targets earlier than fading again to simply seven targets over 51 video games this previous season.

It could be exhausting for Vegas followers to get enthusiastic about Holtz and Olofsson within the face of so many important departures, however the workforce’s entrance workplace did nicely so as to add two wingers who could possibly be impactful and can make lower than $2 million mixed this season. There’s additionally Callahan Burke, an American Hockey League standout signed to offer some organizational depth.

Golden Knights’ Inside Choices

Essentially the most cost-effective technique to fill holes within the lineup? Promote from inside. Maybe with a watch in the direction of the 2024-25 season, a number of Golden Knights ahead prospects got NHL alternatives a season in the past, together with Jonas Rondbjerg, Brendan Brisson, Mason Morelli, Sheldon Rempal and Grigori Denisenko. Whereas Rempal has since departed for the Kontinental Hockey League, the opposite 4 ought to get one other lengthy look this season.

Unsurprisingly, the group of callups produced a blended bag of outcomes final season. The 22-year-old Brisson confirmed promising flashes in his first style of NHL motion, and journeyman 28-year-old Morelli made essentially the most of his league debut with three targets in 9 video games. In the meantime, Rondbjerg underwhelmed over a 20-game pattern, and Denisenko did not make an impression throughout a six-game cup of espresso. Not one of the 4 seem prepared for a full-time NHL function.

That’s to not say there are not any inner options. Pavel Dorofeyev signed a two-year, $3.67 million bridge deal after profiting from his greatest NHL alternative to this point. He notched 13 targets and 24 factors in 47 video games final season, and the 23-year-old seems like a attainable top-six mainstay.

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Golden Knights’ Exterior Choices

The dangerous information is that the free-agent market has change into one thing of a barren wasteland, with nearly each key, notable identify already signed to a contract. The excellent news is that the membership most likely isn’t on the lookout for a key identify, anyway. Assuming they start the season with a top-six roughly consisting of Eichel, Hertl, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Ivan Barbashev and probably Dorofeyev or Holtz, the necessity is depth upfront greater than front-line scoring.

If bottom-six depth is what Vegas goes looking for, there are alternatives. One-time Golden Knight Nick Cousins remains to be obtainable and will present the identical hard-nosed grit and physicality he supplied the Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers final season. Kailer Yamamoto struggled with the Seattle Kraken final season however is simply 25 and confirmed he could possibly be productive when surrounded by a robust supporting solid with the Edmonton Oilers. In the meantime, a pair of former San Jose Sharks, Kevin Labanc and Alexander Barabanov, stay obtainable and match the development of gamers looking for to bounce again after down campaigns.

Cap area is at a premium even after the losses incurred upfront, leaving sufficient room for only one low-salaried ahead. In fact, trades are at all times attainable. Whereas dropping Martinez cuts into the blue line depth, defensemen Ben Hutton, Kaedan Korczak and reclamation mission signee Robert Hagg may make somebody increased up within the lineup expendable. In any case, we did spend a lot of the spring listening to Shea Theodore commerce rumors.

To be clear, Vegas is probably going solely trying to spherical out their lineup (in the event that they aren’t already completed procuring). We’re most likely far too deep into the low season to shake issues up with a Theodore commerce. Nonetheless, even with a roster that’s now down a reigning 40-goal scorer and several other key items, there’s hope that inner improvement, a few new faces and maybe one other addition or two may assist fill the void.

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Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown specializes in soccer, covering MLS, NWSL, and international competitions. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Sports Media. Olivia has written for and ESPN FC, providing thorough coverage and in-depth analysis of the sport.


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