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Golden Knights trade Cotter, third-round pick to Devils for Alexander Holtz and Akira Schmid

The Vegas Golden Knights traded forward Paul Cotter and a 2025 third-round draft pick to the New Jersey Devils in exchange forward Alexander Holtz and goaltender Akira Schmid.

It was one of three trades Vegas completed on the second day of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, and it followed the announcement that Logan Thompson had been shipped to Washington for two third-round picks.

Cotter, originally drafted in the fourth round (No. 115 overall) of the 2018 draft, scored seven goals and 25 points in 76 games last year. He has 22 goals and 45 points in 138 career regular-season games, all with the Golden Knights.

He showed flashes of high-end skill and played with physicality as a versatile option for Bruce Cassidy and the Golden Knights. Cotter was a member of the Stanley Cup run despite not suiting up in the 2023 postseason.

The third-round pick is Vegas’ own selection in the 2025 draft. The Golden Knights still have two third-round picks, including San Jose’s (acquired in the Tomas Hertl deal) and Washington’s (acquired in the Thompson deal).

The Golden Knights have five forwards on expiring contracts who are set to hit free agency on Monday, which was part of the impetus behind acquiring Holtz, whom the Golden Knights have valued since before he was drafted seventh overall in 2020.

The 22-year-old native of Stockholm has one year remaining on a deal with a cap hit of $894,167. Holtz scored 16 goals and 28 points in 82 games last year, his first full NHL campaign. He has 19 goals and 34 points in 110 career regular-season games.

“Holtz is a player that we had tremendous regard for as an amateur,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “We’re taking a swing at his upside and what a change can do sometimes for young players, which we’ve seen with different players that have been brought into Vegas.”

McCrimmon said Holtz’s skill was enticing, citing his shot and offensive creativity.

“We think that Alexander Holtz has got untapped potential that we feel we can unlock here to some degree with the opportunity,” McCrimmon said.

Also included in the deal was 24-year-old Schmid, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound netminder from Bern, Switzerland.

Schmid, who is a restricted free agent, went 5-9-1 with a 3.15 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in 15 starts last year. It was an underwhelming follow-up after posting a 9-5-2 record with a 2.13 GAA, .922 save percentage and one shutout in 2022-23. He then took over for Vitek Vanecek in New Jersey’s 2023 playoff run, helping the Devils bounce back from an 0-2 hole against the Rangers; he finished the postseason 4-4 with a 2.35 GAA, .921 save percentage and two shutouts.

But Schmid is not the intended replacement for Thompson despite the timing of the two deals.

McCrimmon said it’s likely that Schmid, who is waiver-exempt, will be Vegas’ third-string goalie and will play with the Henderson Silver Knights next season. The Golden Knights will look to pursue a backup for Adin Hill through free agency.

“That’ll give us, we think, real good depth at that position,” McCrimmon said. “[We] have a real good handle on what [the goalie] market is, what that landscape is, what it looks like, and we’ll make our decisions accordingly.”

Vegas swaps late picks

The Golden Knights made a third trade near the end of the draft, moving their seventh-round pick (No. 212 overall) to the Capitals in exchange for Washington’s 2025 sixth-round pick.

The Capitals used No. 212 to draft Miroslav Satan, the son of the former NHL forward of the same name, who recorded 735 points in 1,050 NHL games.

2024 draft picks

The Golden Knights came away away from the 2024 draft with four new prospects.

After selecting Trevor Connelly with the 19th overall pick in the first round, Vegas added a goaltender, a left winger and a center in the third, sixth and seventh rounds, respectively.

Round 1 (No. 19): Trevor Connelly, LW, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Round 3 (No. 83): Pavel Moysevich, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
Round 6 (No. 180): Trent Swick, LW, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Round 7 (No. 197): Lucas Van Vliet, C, USNDTP (USHL)

(Photo of Paul Cotter: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)