Golden Knights: Grading Vegas’ trade deadline acquisitions

Do you approve of the moves Vegas made?

It’s been an eventful week for the Vegas Golden Knights. In total, the Golden Knights have made three separate trades since Friday. Let’s review those moves:

  • Golden Knights acquire Ryan Reaves and a fourth-round pick from Pittsburgh Penguins for Tobias Lindberg and a portion of Derick Brassard’s contract
  • Golden Knights acquire Philip Holm from Vancouver Canucks for Brendan Leipsic
  • Golden Knights acquire Tomas Tatar from Detroit Red Wings for 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick and 2021 third-round pick/

There’s obviously a lot to unpack here, so let’s go through each of these trades individually and grade them as we see fit. We’ll start with Friday’s trade.

Golden Knights eat Brassard salary and send Lindberg to Pittsburgh for Reaves and a fourth-round pick

Many see this trade as a negative simply due to the addition of Reaves. And that makes sense. Reaves is a career fourth-liner who offers very little other than physical play and fighting skills.

But let’s look at the bigger picture.

All it took to acquire Reaves and the fourth-round pick was Lindberg, who has played just six career NHL games (none of which with Vegas), and a portion of Brassard’s contract ($2 million against the cap this season and next season). In other words, the Golden Knights essentially bought a draft pick while trading an AHL player for an NHL player. Granted, he’s not a great NHL player, but he’s an NHL player nevertheless.

No, this isn’t a trade that will blow anyone’s minds, but it certainly isn’t a trade that negatively impacts the Golden Knights short-term or long-term.

Grade this trade.


Vegas trades Leipsic for Holm

This one was a bit of a head-scratcher. Leipsic’s inability to put the puck in the net has been well documented, but he still served as a quality bottom-six winger when in the Golden Knights’ lineup. Believe it or not, Leipsic’s 50.32 Expected Goals For percentage ranks higher than the likes of Erik Haula, David Perron and even James Neal.

Even more surprising? In the 17 games Leipsic didn’t play this season, the Golden Knights had a record of 8-9-1. With Leipsic in the lineup, they were 33-7-3. For whatever reason, the Golden Knights were far more likely to win with Leipsic than without him.

In return for Leipsic, the Golden Knights received Holm, a 26-year-old defenseman who has played in exactly one (1) NHL game. He’s spent the overwhelming majority of this season playing for the AHL’s Utica Comets, with 11 goals and 29 points through 42 games. To his credit, though, he did spend several years playing in the SHL, one of the best hockey leagues on the planet, prior to signing with the Canucks as an undrafted free agent.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how good a player Holm can be at this level of play. Leipsic, on the other hand, at least has the potential to be an impactful bottom-six forward in the NHL.

Grade this trade.


Golden Knights send three draft picks to Detroit for Tatar

This one’s a bit tricky. Tatar is just a few seasons removed from a sensational 29-goal campaign with the Red Wings. As of late, though, he’s been playing far short of his potential. This season, he’s scored 16 goals (eight of which were scored on the man advantage) and totals just 28 points through 62 games.

This is without a doubt Tatar’s worst campaign since breaking out during the 2014-15 season.

However, the Red Wings haven’t exactly been that great a team over the last couple years. This will likely be the second year in a row in which Detroit falls short of making the postseason, and Tatar, along with just about all of the Red Wings’ star players, are suffering for it.

Regardless of how bad Tatar’s teams have been, though, The Golden Knights gave up a lot to get him. Probably more than necessary. This year’s first-round pick, next year’s second round pick and 2021’s third-round pick is a bit much, and it’s fair to wonder if the 27-year-old is worth such a haul.

Grade this trade.


Now that we’ve graded each of the Golden Knights’ trades individually, let’s get one final thing out of the way — how did George McPhee do? After all, he was the maestro behind each of these moves. Are you happy with the direction the Golden Knights went in at the trade deadline?

Do you approve of the moves George McPhee made prior to the trade deadline?