Last summer, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee had the NHL at his mercy as teams essentially had their offseason plans on hold in preparation for the NHL Expansion Draft. Armed with leverage and power, McPhee cleverly negotiated with teams, wheeling and dealing his way to build the current Knights’ roster.
Although there is no expansion draft this year, it sounds like McPhee and the rest of the Knights’ brass could once again have a very busy summer on the horizon.
According to a report from Pierre LeBrun, the Knights could be big players this offseason and Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson may be a potential target. Here’s what LeBrun had to say during the recent segment of TSN’s Insider Trading when he was asked about the Knights potentially spending their cap space on a player like Carlson:
I think it is possible. Now, you mentioned [John] Tavares and we expect Vegas to be a potential bidder there. What about John Carlson?
George McPhee the GM, with Vegas of course, has a history with John Carlson. Let me be clear, John Carlson’s priority is to re-sign with the Capitals after this season. He wants to stay there. That’s what the Caps want to get done.
However, the salary cap. This is a deal that’s worth 8 [years] times 8 [million] for John Carlson — I think it might be — he might price himself out of Washington. There’s gonna be a long list of suitors, but I’m just telling you this: Vegas tried to trade for Erik Karlsson at the Trade Deadline, they identified a puck-moving stud as a need. He’s not Erik Karlsson, but John Carlson is a pretty good player.
To further build on this, LeBrun also had a sit down interview with Golden Knights owner Bill Foley over at The Athletic and Foley said the Knights were “not going to be shy” this summer when it comes to spending their available cap space, which will could be as high as the $30 million mark.
While we could sit here all day and debate what the Knights should do with their vast amount of cap space, the main takeaway here, based on what LeBrun is saying, is the Knights would really like to acquire an elite defenceman this summer, and it sounds like Erik Karlsson or John Carlson are their ideal targets.
Of course, Vegas isn’t the only team looking to improve their blue line this offseason, so the competition, or, potentially in the case of John Carlson, bidding war, will be fierce. Other names, aside from Karlsson and Carlson, who have been linked in trade rumors are defensemen like Noah Hanifin and Oscar Klefbom.
Other names will surely emerge on the trade market, possibly the likes of Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin since the Minnesota Wild are up against the cap, and that bodes well for Vegas since McPhee has a handful of trade assets, as well as picks and cap relief.
With the Knights currently three wins away from raising Lord Stanley, this is all just an interesting subplot. But, man, is this shaping up to be an interesting summer.