The 2021-22 NHL Trade Deadline is upon us. Activity picked up quite a bit on Sunday, and there are a lot of potential options still in play, though Vegas has yet to make a trade.
The Vegas Golden Knights could go in a number of directions today. Fighting for a playoff slot at this point in the season is something the Knights have not yet experienced, so it’s difficult to know how Kelly McCrimmon and Co. will act.
The club did make a few minor in-house moves on Sunday, though.
The Knights waived defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who signed a one-year contract last week. By sending him to the AHL before the deadline, the Knights will be able to assign him to Henderson later in the season. It could also point towards Nicolas Hague returning to the lineup.
Vegas also placed Max Pacioretty on injured reserve. He joins Mark Stone (LTIR), Reilly Smith, Brayden McNabb, Alec Martinez (LTIR) and Robin Lehner.
The Knights also recalled forward Jake Leschyshyn and defenseman Brayden Pachal.
It’s unclear how Vegas will approach this year’s deadline. With so many key players out of the lineup, it’s hard to know how this team will play if and when some/all of them return. The salary cap complicates matters for now but won’t be an issue once the playoffs start; however, Vegas has to get there first.
Here’s an overview of changes other Pacific Division and Western Conference clubs have made, how things stand for the Golden Knights with 18 games remaining in the regular season and a look back at what Vegas has done on previous deadline days.
All (not) quiet on the Western front
The Golden Knights have been mostly hush-hush with regards to their plans ahead of the 2021-22 trade deadline. A few days ago, the Knights seemed destined to be sellers, but after two wins (one of which was a four-point game against the Kings), Vegas finds itself right back in the race and heading into the trade deadline with some momentum.
The other teams in the division and conference have been busy and are expected to make additional moves. Here’s a rundown of the important players who have been moved so far:
Additions: D-Drew Helleson (COL), D-John Moore (BOS), G-Calle Clang (PIT), F-Zach Aston-Reese (PIT), F-Dominik Simon (PIT),
F-Evgenii Dadonov (VGK)*
Subtractions: D-Hampus Lindholm (BOS), D-Josh Manson (COL), F-Nicolas Deslauriers (MIN), F-Rickard Rakell (PIT),
D-John Moore (VGK)*, F-Ryan Kesler (VGK)*
Additions: F-Tyler Toffoli (MTL), F-Calle Jarnkrok (SEA)*, F-Ryan Carpenter (CHI)
Subtractions: F-Tyler Pitlick (MTL)
*50 percent retained ($1 million)
Additions: D-Brett Kulak (MTL)*, F-Derick Brassard (PHI)**
*50 percent retained ($925,000)
**50 percent retained ($412,500)
Additions: D-Troy Stecher (DET)
Additions: G-Kaapo Kahkonen (MIN), D-Anthony Bitetto (NYR)
Subtractions: D-Jacob Middleton (MIN), F-Andrew Cogliano (STL), F-Nick Merkley (NYR)
Additions: F-Daniel Sprong (WSH), F-Victor Rask (MIN)****
Subtractions: F-Jarnkrok (CGY)*, F-Colin Blackwell (TOR), F-Mason Appleton (WPG), D-Mark Giordano (TOR)**, D-Jeremy Lauzon (NSH), F-Marcus Johansson (WSH)***
*50 percent retained ($1M)
**50 percent retained ($3.375M)
***50 percent retained ($750,000)
****50 percent retained ($2 million)
Additions: D-Travis Dermott (TOR)
Subtractions: D-Travis Hamonic (TOR)
D-John Moore (ANA)*, F-Ryan Kesler (ANA)*
F-Evgenii Dadonov (ANA)*
Additions: F-Nick Ritchie (TOR)
Subtractions: D-Ilya Lyubushkin (TOR), G-Scott Wedgewood (DAL)
Additions: F-Taylor Raddysh (TBL), F-Boris Katchouk (TBL)
Subtractions: F-Brandon Hagel (TBL), G-Marc-Andre Fleury (MIN)
Additions: D-Josh Manson (ANA)*, F-Nico Sturm (MIN), F-Artturi Lehkonen (MTL)**, F-Andrew Cogliano (SJS)
Subtractions: F-Tyson Jost (MIN), D-Helleson (ANA)
*50 percent retained ($2.05M)
**50 percent retained ($1.15 million)
Additions: G-Wedgewood (ARI), F-Vladislav Namestnikov (DET)*
*50 percent retained ($1 million)
Acquired: F-Tyson Jost (COL), F-Nic Deslauriers (ANA), G-Marc-Andre Fleury (CHI), D-Jacob Middleton (SJS)
Subtractions: F-Nico Sturm (COL), G-Kaapo Kahkonen (SJS)
Additions: D-Jeremy Lauzon (SEA), D-Alex Biega (TOR)
Additions: D-Nick Leddy (DET)*
Subtractions: F-Oskar Lundqvist (DET), D-Jake Walman (DET)
*50 percent retained by DET ($2.75 million)
Additions: F-Appleton (SEA), F-Zach Sanford (OTT), F-Morgan Barron (NYR)
Subtractions: D-Nate Beaulieu (PIT), F-Bryan Little’s contract (ARI), F-Andrew Copp (NYR)
The shape of the division
How things stand
- Calgary essentially is a lock to win the Pacific with multiple games in hand and/or a lead of at least eight over the closest competitors.
- With Saturday’s 5-1 win against Los Angeles, the Kings now sit in second place with 76 points in 64 games. The Edmonton Oilers sit two points behind but have two games in hand, while the Knights are four points back but also have played 64 games.
- The Oilers remain streaky but are currently riding a five-game winning stretch. In 2022 alone, the Oilers have lost five in a row, won four in a row, won another five straight, lost three and then picked up their fifth straight win Saturday against New Jersey. The Oilers will face Colorado, Dallas, San Jose, Calgary, Arizona and Los Angeles this month.
The Avalanche are not far from clinching the Central Division and have a nine-point lead over Calgary for the Western Conference. That leaves St. Louis, Minnesota, Nashville, Dallas and Winnipeg to duke it out for two division slots, with Nashville being the primary contender to upset the current seeding.
The Knights are very much in the race for one of the Pacific spots, but Vegas is in a wildcard slot for now and could be forced to compete in that race instead. If that’s the case, here’s what’s relevant at this point in the season:
- Interestingly, Minnesota is third in the Western Conference in points percentage (.633) behind only Colorado (.750) and Calgary (.677). The Wild have at least one game in hand over every team in the conference.
- Edmonton has a slight edge over Los Angeles in points percentage as well, but that’s not surprising since the Oilers trail the Kings by just two points but have two games in hand.
- The ROW tiebreaker currently ranks teams in the following order: Colorado, Calgary, Nashville, St. Louis, Edmonton, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Dallas, Vegas, Winnipeg, Vancouver, San Jose, Anaheim. That means the Knights only hold an advantage in regulation and overtime wins against four teams; should the Central Division represent five of the eight Western teams, the Knights only hold an edge in ROW (at this point in the season) over Winnipeg.
- As of today, Dallas may be the biggest threat to the Knights, though Winnipeg and a few other teams are right behind. The Stars may not end up competing for a Central Division slot, in which case they would be after one of the wildcard seeds (as could Vegas); however, Dallas has three games in hand, so the Stars could leapfrog over multiple teams, including the Knights.
- The Knights will face Minnesota and Winnipeg in a back-to-back starting tonight before going up against Nashville on Thursday; Vegas is due to square off against Vancouver three times and will play Calgary, Edmonton, Dallas and St. Louis once.
- The Knights have just seven home games left on the schedule.
Blast from the past
The Golden Knights are participating in the fifth trade deadline in franchise history.
The standings are tight, but the Knights are coming off back-to-back wins and find themselves back in the hunt.
But what will Vegas do given the extensive injuries and uncertain playoff odds?
If the past is any indication, the Golden Knights will make at least a few moves today; one of those could be a three-team deal, since that seems to be the Vegas special.
In total, the Knights have completed six trades on deadline day and nine trades either on deadline day or in the days leading up to it. Here’s a look back at how things played out in each of Vegas’ first four seasons.
Year 1 — February 26, 2018
- Trade 1 — Brendan Leipsic (Vancouver)
The Golden Knights sent forward Brendan Leipsic to Vancouver in exchange for defenseman Philip Holm. Leipsic went on to play for several teams but eventually left the NHL under controversial circumstances, and his contract was terminated by the Washington Capitals.
Leipsic was Vegas’ original expansion-draft selection from the Maple Leafs; Holm recorded one goal and nine points in 21 games with the Chicago Wolves that season but was not re-signed at the end of the year.
- Trade 2 — Tomas Tatar (Detroit)
The second trade of the day involved Tomas Tatar, for whom Vegas coughed up three draft picks, including a 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick and 2021 third-round pick. Those selections were used on Joseph Veleno (No. 30), Robert Mastrosimone (No. 54) and Aidan Hreschuk (No. 94), respectively.
Tatar played 20 regular-season games with Vegas to close out the 2017-18 campaign, scoring four goals and six points in that stretch. He added a goal and an assist in eight playoff games during Vegas’ extended run but was held out of the lineup as a healthy scratch on multiple occasions; he played two games in each of Vegas’ four series.
Tatar was then used in Vegas’ trade package for Max Pacioretty in September of 2018. He, Nick Suzuki, and a second-round pick went to Montreal in exchange for Pacioretty, who had 10 percent of his salary retained ($450,000).
Year 2 — February 25, 2019
- Trade — Mark Stone (Ottawa)
The Golden Knights acquired their future captain on the trade deadline in the team’s second season.
Vegas sent defenseman Erik Brannstrom and forward Oscar Lindberg along with a 2020 second-round pick to Ottawa in exchange for forward Tobias Lindberg and Stone. The prize piece of the deal later agreed to terms on an eight-year extension that carried an AAV of $9.5 million.
Year 3 — February 24, 2020
- Trade 1 — Nick Cousins (Montreal)
After acquiring Alec Martinez and moving Cody Eakin in the days leading up to the deadline, Vegas added a depth forward in Nick Cousins.
It cost the Knights their 2021 fourth-round pick (used on Dylan Duke at No. 126). Cousins scored one goal and three points in seven regular-season games with the Knights, later adding five assists in 17 postseason contests.
- Trade 2 — Robin Lehner (Chicago, Toronto)
But the true surprise was when Vegas announced it had traded for Lehner. With Fleury between the pipes, it was a shocking move, and it became even stranger as time wore on, especially as DeBoer and the organization slowly altered the message.
It was another three-team trade, this time involving the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs. Chicago moved Lehner to Toronto; the Leafs retained 50 percent ($2.5 million) of Lehner’s cap hit before sending him over to Vegas. The Leafs also traded the rights to forward prospect Martins Dzierkals to Vegas and received Vegas’ 2020 fifth-round pick (used on Kasper Puutio at No. 153).
In exchange for Lehner, Vegas sent two players and a draft pick to Chicago: Malcolm Subban, prospect defenseman Slava Demin and Pittsburgh’s 2020 second-round pick (used on Drew Commesso at No. 46).
Year 4 — April 12, 2021
- Trade — Mattias Janmark (Chicago, San Jose)
The Golden Knights made another three-way deal on last year’s trade deadline in order to acquire Janmark from Chicago.
The Blackhawks also sent Nick DeSimone (whom Vegas ultimately used in the Brett Howden deal) as well as Chicago’s 2022 fifth-round pick.
The Blackhawks got Vegas’ 2021 second-round pick (used on Colton Dach at No. 62) as well as Vegas’ 2022 third-round selection.
San Jose retained 50 percent ($1.125 million) of Janmark’s cap hit; the Knights rewarded them with Buffalo’s 2022 fifth-round pick.