Welcome To Knights On Ice! As the NHL Offseason starts to slow down I would like to go over what the Golden Knights should do with the current players on their roster. So let's dive right in!
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare- Trade
Bellemare is a talented player defensively, but he does not give a whole lot of offense. He also brings a lot of defense as shown through him being the assistant captain for a time in Philly. Any playoff team would be willing to give up a mid-round pick in the NHL Draft for Bellemare. He also is 32 years of age which brings his value down a bit, but he still is a good player and in the end, the return will be much higher than the talent that Bellemare currently possess.
David Clarkson- Trade
David Clarkson is a very similar player to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, but his value is much lower. I believe that the Golden Knights selected Clarkson with the full intention of trading him at the 2018 Trade Deadline. If that is the case I believe that the best thing that they are going to get in return is a late round draft pick in the Entry Draft but his age is a major turn-off for teams looking to get a bottom six forward.
Reid Duke- Keep
Ahhhh, the first player in Golden Knights history, Reid Duke. He is a solid young talent and if he continues to develop he can become a good NHL player. I expect Duke to be in the AHL developing his game next season, but after that, I believe that Duke can become a Top 12 Forward in the NHL, and for that reason, he is a valuable asset that the Golden Knights should retain.
Cody Eakin- Keep
Cody Eakin is a talented young player that can bring offense and defense to the game. He also is only 26, has a good contract situation, and brings decent size to the game. Needless to say, Eakin currently is a Top 12 player and the Golden Knights should retain him.
Mikhail Grabovski- Trade
Mikhail Grabovski is a player that the Golden Knights could trade and get a 2nd round pick and a prospect for. His size isn't terrible, he has good speed and can provide a team solid offensive production. Grabovski is 33 years old and that might concern some teams that are trying to get a younger forward with a better contract situation.
Nikita Gusev- Keep
Nikita Gusev is only 24 years old and already has 8 years of experience without playing an NHL game. Instead, he has played with multiple teams in the KHL and he has put up a point per game production. He doesn't have great size, but he makes up for that lack of size with speed and I believe he can come to the NHL and become a talented bottom six scoring presence from the moment he bursts into the league. For this reason, I believe that the Vegas Golden Knights should keep him.
Erik Haula- Keep
Erik Haula is a very talented young player who brings decent size and speed. Last season in Minnesota he put up 26 points in 72 games while still putting up a +5 rating. If Haula continues to develop his game he can reach the point where he could be a Top 6 forward on a good team. Because of his upside and his current skill, I believe that the Golden Knights should retain Erik Haula.
William Karlsson- Keep
This decision was not even hard for me. William Karlsson brings size, speed, and toughness to any team and, like Haula, can become a Top Six forward on a really good team. He played in all but one of the Blue Jackets games last season and put up 25 points along the way. He also is only 24 and he has great potential and can bring the ability to win faceoffs and get his teams possessions. To me at least, this is a definitive keep.
Brendan Leipsic- Wait and See
I was not a huge fan of the Golden Knights picking Leipsic in the expansion draft as he does not bring a whole lot of qualities to the Golden Knights. I presume that he will start the season with the Chicago Wolves and if he does not impress at the NHL level by the Trade Deadline next season then the Golden Knights should deal him. The reason that I think they should do this is because he does not hold a lot of upside and that they could deal him for a 2nd Round Pick or a talented young prospect.
Oscar Lindberg- Keep
Lindberg is young (25 years old), brings good size (6'1" 202lbs.), and also brings solid speed. I believe that Lindberg can bring talent and upside to the Golden Knights and that it would be beneficial to the future of the team. In 65 games this season he put up 20 points, and in a bigger role with the Golden Knights he might be able to put up a higher point total and his overall production, on both sides of the ice, will be improved.
Jonathon Marchessault- Trade
Marchessault is a great talent, with speed, and can give a team great offensive production. A team that needs more offensive production will be willing to give up a talented prospect and a high-round draft pick in exchange for Marchessault. He put up 50 points in 81 games with the Florida Panthers and trading him could help the Golden Knights get some major building blocks going into the future. So yes, the Golden Knights are giving up a great talent in Marchessault, but the players that they acquire will be in their primes when the Golden Knights are ready to contend.
James Neal- Trade
This is a very similar situation to Jonathon Marchessault's, but James Neal is a more household name, and that a team will be willing to sell the farm for a player like James Neal. There are plenty of teams out there looking for a big Power Forward Left Wing that can bring an offensive punch. One of those teams is Chicago and they would be willing to give up some high-end prospects and high draft picks. So as a result, I believe that the Golden Knights should trade James Neal to help build their farm system and get some future-NHLers.
Tomas Nosek- Keep
There's a lot to like about this kid. Size, speed, strength, and skill are all qualities that he possesses. He played great with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. He has a lot of upside and I believe that he can contribute on an NHL level next season with the Golden Knights and he can blossom into a talented Top 6 forward.
David Perron- Keep (Until Further Notice)
The Golden Knights got a really talented player in David Perron and I believe that they should keep him for the whole season, into the offseason, where they should trade him when his value skyrockets and a team is willing to give up a Top 50 prospect from some team. Perron will put up career numbers playing on a first line with James Neal and Jonathon Marchessault and that will skyrocket his trade value.
Teemu Pulkkinen- Wait and See
Pulkkinen is in a very similar position to Leipsic because he does not have great size, great speed, or great skill. I believe that after the deadline when Vegas unloads a crap ton of players that Pulkkinen should be given a shot at the NHL level and if he does not produce or play a solid game in any way, then the Golden Knights should deal him in the offseason for either picks or prospects because you're not going to get a whole lot for his services.
Reilly Smith- Keep
Size, speed, skill, but most importantly youth. These are the qualities that Reilly Smith possess. He is a very valuable player and can really help the Vegas Knights going into the future and if Golden Knights are ready to compete in 7 years then that makes Smith 33 years old when he can still put up solid production and play his game at a high level. For these reasons, I believe that the Golden Knights should keep Reilly Smith.
TJ Tynan- Trade
I'm going to keep this brief. I don't see much potential in Tynan and he's not a solid NHL player right now. I believe that the Golden Knights should trade him when a team might see some potential for him and get some solid picks and possibly even a prospect in exchange for Tynan.
Deryk Engelland- Trade
Look, I am not trying to take away from the talent that Deryk Engelland possesses, but he is 35. Although he is 35 there will be teams out there looking to add a player like Deryk Engelland to help them try to get a deep Stanley Cup Playoff Run. The Golden Knights could probably get a pretty early pick and a prospect in exchange for Deryk Engelland.
Jason Garrison- Trade
Same scenario as Deryk Engelland. Garrison is talented, has size, and can play with good speed. He is a player that has offensive and defensive skill. But his age is a major turn-off for some teams out there, and he doesn't acquire the skills and the talent that Engelland has. For these reasons, I believe that the return for Garrison would not be as much as it is for Engelland.
Brad Hunt- Keep (Until Further Notice)
The Golden Knights should give Hunt an opportunity to play at the NHL level before they attempt to trade him. Last season Hunt was able to put up 6 points in 12 games (not bad....). Hunt also isn't very old as he is only 28 years old. Needless to say, Hunt is a guy that, if given the opportunity, then he might just prove himself as a pretty capable and talented player that can be a Top 6 defenseman.
Brayden McNabb- Keep
This is a no-brainer for me. McNabb brings everything that a team would want in a Top 4 defenseman. He brings great size, nice speed, skill, and youth. McNabb is a player that practically every team in the league would have interest in. In 5-on-5 situations McNabb had the highest on-ice Corsi Rating for defensemen in the NHL all of last regular season, showing how talented he is. Despite his great talent, the return for McNabb might just be a very high draft pick and a prospect with great upside. I believe that McNabb will step into an increased role than he had in L.A. and that he can be a Top 4 defenseman like I said before.
Jon Merrill- Trade
Jon Merrill is in a very similar position to Brayden McNabb- a talented young player with all the qualities that an NHL team could want. But, the Golden Knights could retain one of them yet still get talented young prospects with a mix of some high-quality picks. Merrill's game will continue to progress and some team out there will be willing to sell the farm for his services. Yes, Merrill is younger than McNabb, but only my one year and the return for Merill will probably be greater than the return for McNabb.
Colin Miller- Keep
Miller brings a lot of size and some good skill, but his speed could certainly be improved. Despite that though Miller still brings some offensive production and can still play solid defense. This shows in his stats as he put up 13 points in 61 games and an even +/- rating. Colin Miller also had the second highest 5-on-5 on-ice Corsi Stats for defensemen in the NHL (only behind Brayden McNabb) ahead of great players like Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban, and Kevin Shattenkirk showing his value in 5-on-5 situations. He also is only 24 showing that he can grow into one of the best defensemen in the NHL.
Griffin Reinhart- Trade
Reinhart has a lot of good selling points- youth, size, speed, and some nice skills, but he is not likely to develop into something special or a Top 6 defenseman. I believe that the Golden Knights should try and trade him while his value might still be fairly high. If the Knights were to deal him by December they might be able to get a 3rd or 4th round pick.
Luca Sbisa- Keep (Until Further Notice)
The Golden Knights should keep Sbisa for the season and give him a chance to start in their Top 4 next season. If they get a guy with some speed and skill to his game. If the Golden Knights wait and then Sbisa has a nice season then the Golden Knights could trade him for something nice to help them build their future. If Sbisa has a bad season then I believe that the Golden Knights should hang onto him until he has a good season and his trade value skyrockets.
Nate Schmidt- Keep
This decision is not a hard choice for me at all. Schmidt is uber-talented, has size, speed, and plays with a certain edge at all. He was ranked #33 in 5-on-5 on-ice Corsi Statistics for defensemen. This shows his value to a team in even strength situations. In 60 games he put up 17 points and a had a +/- rating of +22, which is absolutely insane. Schmidt also only is 25 years old and has the potential to be a Top 2 defenseman on a Stanley Cup playoff team. Schmidt is possibly the most valuable player on the Golden Knights roster and the Golden Knights would be idiotic to trade Schmidt.
Clayton Stoner- Trade
Stoner is talented and can bring great production on the offensive and defensive side of the ice. But, he is 32 years old and there will certainly be a team that would be willing to give up a talented prospect in exchange for Stoner. He also brings great size and a physical presence to a team competing for a playoff spot. If Stoner was 25 I would probably say that the Golden Knights should not trade Stoner, but his age is a major turn-off for a team that is trying to build something in Vegas.
Shea Theodore- Keep
Theodore is talented and can bring really solid offensive and defensive production to Vegas. He also brings solid size and some speed to Vegas. He is only 21 too, so he has years upon years to improve his game and become extremely talented defensemen that the Vegas Golden Knights could pair with a player like Nate Schmidt and the two would thrive together in that role.
Marc-Andre Fleury- Keep
Look, I know that Fleury is 32, but he is a future Hall of Famer and the first face of the Vegas Golden Knights Franchise. Vegas needs to retain Fleury even if he is older because he will be a huge fan-favorite and he would help the team win some games and as they steadily improve and become a playoff contender Fleury will still be with them even if he is 35 or 36 years old at the time.
Calvin Pickard- Keep
Pickard is already a very talented goaltender and has proven that he is a more than capable backup goaltender in Colorado. Pickard is only 25 and has plenty of room to grow and he can become a starting goaltender in the NHL after learning under Marc-Andre Fleury. I would not be shocked if the Golden Knights traded Pickard the return would probably be a mid round draft pick and a pretty talented young prospect, but I believe that keeping Pickard would be of more value to the Golden Knights than what they could get in return for him.
Well, that's all the players on the Vegas Golden Knights current roster, but if you want me to discuss what Vegas should do with some of their prospects then just let me know in the comment section below! Also, if you disagree with any of my analyses or what I think the Golden Knights should do with a certain player just let me know, and I will respond!
Thanks, and please leave a comment below!