The Vegas Golden Knights announced Thursday night that the team has traded forward Ryan Reaves to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick.
Reaves has been with the Golden Knights since the inaugural season; he was acquired back in February, 2018 in a three-team trade involving Pittsburgh and Ottawa.
Reaves played 209 regular-season games and 48 playoff games with the Golden Knights spanning four seasons. He recorded 18 goals and 42 points and added two goals and seven points in the postseason. Most notably, he scored the series-clinching goal in Game 5 against the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Final, launching Vegas into the Stanley Cup Final.
He has been a fan favorite in Sin City.
“His toughness, character and unique skill set will be missed here at the Golden Knights,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “We wish him and his family all the best moving forward. I am proud of the man he has become.”
He was originally brought in to provide a physical presence, though his forechecking and energy gave Vegas a formidable fourth line down the stretch. At the time, then-general manager George McPhee explained, “The tough guys in this league, many of them have been ruled obsolete and they can’t play, but this guy can play.”
More recently, however, his role had declined.
The 34-year-old recorded five points in 37 games in the 2020-21 campaign, adding one assist in 12 games during Vegas’ recent playoff push. He was suspended for two games following his actions in Game 1 against the Avalanche in the second round, though he served as a healthy scratch four times.
The move clears Reaves’ $1.75 million cap hit, which puts Vegas just over $37,000 over the upper limit, according to Cap Friendly. The Knights still need to sign Nolan Patrick and Dylan Coghlan, both restricted free agents.
The trade follows a series of moves the Knights have made over the last few days.
Vegas also traded Marc-Andre Fleury and his $7 million cap hit to Chicago earlier this week and then sent Nick Holden and a third-round pick to Ottawa in exchange for winger Evgenii Dadonov. The club signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit and Janmark via free agency on Wednesday.
Reaves was a fifth-round selection (No. 156 overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He has 49 goals and 101 points in 686 career games with the Blues, Penguins and Knights.
He will be reunited with head coach Gerard Gallant, now the Rangers’ bench boss, in the Big Apple.