The Vegas Golden Knights placed defenseman Nick Holden on waivers Monday, one of 10 players placed on the transaction wire designated for assignment.
Among the others listed were Dylan Sikura, Tomas Jurco, Patrick Brown, Carl Dahlstrom and goaltender Oscar Dansk. If the players clear waivers, they can be assigned to AHL Henderson or be assigned to the Golden Knights’ taxi squad. Teams can also put in claims prior to 9 a.m. PT Tuesday.
Holden’s appearance on this list comes at a minor surprise, given how he signed a two-year extension ($1.7 million AAV) at the trade deadline last February and played well as a third-pair option with Zach Whitecloud. The duo was one of the tops in the return to play in terms of possession and defensive play.
But the key is that $1.7 million cap hit attached to Holden, which would essentially eliminate the Golden Knights’ salary cap issues. Vegas is $974,104 over the cap, according to CapFriendly, and whether Holden stays with Vegas or is claimed, that will make the Knights cap compliant come opening night Thursday.
If Holden is not claimed, that will free up $1.125 million in cap space, whereas the full $1.7 million comes off the books.
Speaking of Thursday’s season opener against the Anaheim Ducks, this all but ensures Nicolas Hague has taken Holden’s place and will start with Whitecloud on the third pairing this week. Hague and Whitecloud were paired together all through training camp, with Holden and Dylan Coghlan working as the 7-8 pair. Hague and Whitecloud skated together while in AHL Chicago; the hope for Pete DeBoer is that chemistry carries over to the NHL level.
“I think chemistry is something that is important and you can’t really manufacture,” DeBoer said. “I think those guys played a whole season together, and I do believe their games complement each other. I think Holden and Whitecloud complemented each other, too, and I think [Whitecloud] would be the first to admit that Holden really helped establish him last year in the NHL. Definitely plays a factor and it’s nice to know that those guys are very comfortable with each other.”
One name to watch the next couple of days is Gage Quinney, who has looked impressive in camp to the point where he’s challenged for the 13th forward spot. The Las Vegas native, am told, also stood out during the Golden Knights’ two scrimmages at T-Mobile Arena last week. With Alex Tuch day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, Quinney could be in line to start Thursday should Tuch not be able to go for his third consecutive season opener as a member of the NHL roster.
Quinney is waivers exempt, so keep that in mind as we get closer to Thursday. If Holden is claimed, there would be enough cap space to have both Hague and Quinney on the roster.
Golden Knights players placed on waivers: