With the Vegas Golden Knights sitting in second place in the Pacific Division and right in the thick of things in the Western Conference, the idea of potentially trading James Neal or David Perron sounds pretty blasphemous on paper.
However, it’s safe to assume that, despite the team’s early season success, general manager George McPhee is still operating the Knights’ roster with a long-term outlook in mind. Assuming that’s the case, McPhee will inevitably be forced into making some tough decisions this season.
Perhaps the toughest decision of them all for McPhee will be trying to decide what to do with impending free agent forwards James Neal and David Perron.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, teams around the league are hungry for scoring and they have reached out to the Knights about the availability of Neal and Perron. Here’s what McKenzie had to say during Thursday’s Insider Trading segment on TSN:
George McPhee, the general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, is most certainly getting a lot of calls right now about two scoring wingers — two scoring forwards — who are pending unrestricted free agents. That would be, of course, James Neal and David Perron.
Both their contracts are up at the end of the year, and the presumption has always been these guys are likely to be auctioned off as rentals between now and the deadline — and that may well happen.
But the fact so many teams are looking for scoring help right now means that McPhee’s phone has been ringing off the hook about whether he’s ready to move these guys. At this point in time, unless somebody absolutely blows his socks off, that’s not likely to happen.
Maybe it’s something he would look at down the road between now and the deadline; and he also allows for the possibility of maybe talking to these guys about contract extensions. Although, there has been nothing done on that front.
Talk about a tough decision, especially since both sides of the argument do make sense here.
On one hand, if you’re McPhee, you just saw the hefty package the Colorado Avalanche received from the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators in the three-way trade centered around Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris. One would think Neal would fetch a somewhat similar return.
On the other hand, how do you trade one of your best players when you’re sitting in a playoff spot and not even 20 games into the season? Throw in the fact he’s quickly become a fan favorite and you can see where this decision gets difficult.
Conversely, does McPhee not even think about trading Neal or Perron and instead try to work out extensions with them? McKenzie did mention this as an idea, but he also said nothing has been done on this front, so perhaps this idea is a bit farfetched.
As I’m sure you can tell, though, there is no clear-cut answer to this situation. You can certainly make a case to cash in and trade one, if not both, of Vegas’ top forwards in Neal and Perron. But you can also make a strong case to keep them in Vegas.
Either way, decisions like this one will be crucial for not only this season, but for future ones to come.
For now, it’s just some food for thought while you wait for your Golden Knights to return to action on Sunday when they take on the Los Angeles Kings at home for what could potentially be a game that decides first place in the Pacific.
Who would have thought Vegas would be atop the Pacific at the quarter mark of the season? Yeah, I still can’t believe it’s a possibility either.