It’s the middle of August and absolutely nothing is happening right now. Aside from Alexis Lafrenière separating himself as the early favorite to go first overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, interesting news has been scarce. But that won’t stop us from doing our Monday Morning Mailbag! Let’s jump right in.
What’s the holdup on Shea?— ⚔️ Kim ⚔️ (@Kimberkayper) August 12, 2018
Great question. We’re less than two months away from the start of the regular season and Shea Theodore still hasn’t signed a new contract. So what’s taking so long? A large reason for the holdup is the fact that, though Theodore is a restricted free agent, he was not eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, meaning he has very little leverage in contract negotiations.
But how much longer could this go on for? If George McPhee’s recent comments are any indication, not too much longer.
We’ll continue to discuss and see if something can be done that makes sense for both parties. We’re still [four] weeks away from camp and two months away from the season, but it’d be nice if we can reach an agreement there and know what to expect going forward.
The two sides are talking, and that’s always a good sign, of course. But what happens if this drags on for longer than expected? In the unlikeliest of scenarios, if Theodore isn’t under contract come December, he will no longer be eligible to play in the NHL. But the odds of that happening are slim to none. Theodore isn’t going anywhere, and it’s only a matter of time before something gets finalized.
With the top two line Centers pretty much set, does it make more sense for Haula to Center line 3 or move to the wing on Line 2— Peter Brandon (@pbrandonmusic) August 12, 2018
It’ll be interesting to see how the Golden Knights’ logjam at center sorts itself out. Haula has not been shy about his desire to play center, but he also made it clear that he’d be willing to shift to wing if it helps the Knights win games.
A second line of Paul Stastny centering Haula and Alex Tuch? Yeah, that would probably help Vegas win some games.
Haula will likely shift to wing this season, and a large reason keeping him from playing center on the third line is the presence of Cody Eakin, who was arguably Vegas’ best faceoff man last season.
What is the projected NHL arrival of Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brännström and Nic Hague?— Brent Betts (@BrentBetts3) August 12, 2018
Of the four prospects listed, I’d say Brannstrom is the closest to earning a full-time spot on Vegas’ roster. That said, I still believe he needs at least another year of development before making the leap. Once he does, though, he’ll be an electrifying presence on the Vegas blueline right off the bat. Glass and Suzuki also aren’t all that far off, but may need a little extra time to beef up in the minors. A brief stay in the AHL would do them no harm. Hague, however, is getting set for his first full season with the Wolves. If he impresses enough to warrant a call-up, we could see him in a Knights uniform as early as this season.
Is there a Universe where Leipsic for Holm makes sense?— Jack Manning (@NHLJackManning) August 12, 2018
Nope. Philip Holm, who turns 27 in December, signed with the KHL’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod last month. He never played a single game with the Golden Knights, and it’s possible he may not even play another game in the NHL. Brendan Leipsic, on the other hand, tallied nine points in 14 games after being acquired by the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline last season and figures to compete for a role in the Canucks’ middle six in training camp.
That trade certainly wasn’t the proudest of moments for George McPhee.