The Vegas Golden Knights are one of the few NHL teams who are currently over the salary cap. That is still the case even after they traded Max Pacioretty, Dylan Coghlan, and Evgenii Dadonov this offseason alone. As a result of this and the team needing to re-sign key restricted free agents (RFA), more trades are expected to be on the way. The Chicago Blackhawks should consider calling them because of this. Let’s take a look at three specific players that they should think about pursuing.
The Golden Knights are hoping to re-sign RFA Nicolas Hague, but they still do not have the cap space to do so. Due to this, there are some concerns that the 23-year-old defenseman will receive an offer sheet this summer at some point. To avoid that, the Golden Knights could look to trade him, and he’s a player who should grab the attention of the Blackhawks.
Yes, the Blackhawks are embracing a full-on rebuild, but Hague is still young enough that he would be a valuable asset to it. It also doesn’t hurt that the Kitchener native just put together another solid campaign for the Golden Knights, too. In 52 games on the year, he scored four goals and recorded 14 points. Although those offensive totals may not be too dominant, his defense-first style of play is what makes him valuable. Thus, if acquired, he would work quite well on the Blackhawks’ penalty kill. Along with that, he would also have the opportunity to take on a bigger role than he had in Vegas.
Although Hague is viewed as having the potential to blossom into a top-four defenseman, his trade value isn’t at its highest because of the Golden Knights’ salary cap troubles. Perhaps the 2023 second-round pick they received from the Tampa Bay Lightning would get a deal done. That wouldn’t be too large of a price to pay for a young defenseman of his skill level.
Laurent Brossoit struggled immensely in his first season with the Golden Knights, as evidenced by his 10-9-3 record, 2.90 goals-against average (GAA), and .895 save percentage (SV%) in 24 appearances. Due to this and the emergence of goaltender Logan Thompson, his placement on the team’s depth chart has fallen. The Golden Knights are now likely trying to move him and his $2.35 million cap hit because of this. This is something that the Blackhawks should keep a close eye on.
Earlier this offseason, the Blackhawks took on Petr Mrazek’s bad contract to land themselves a first-round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs. With both the Golden Knights needing to clear cap space and Brossoit coming off of a bad season, they would easily get a sweetener or two in any move centering around the 29-year-old. If the Golden Knights added a second-round pick and prospect, the Blackhawks would likely be willing to add Brossoit to their roster.
It wouldn’t hurt for the Blackhawks to bring in another goaltender, either. At this juncture, they are heading into the 2022-23 season with Mrazek and Alex Stalock as their tandem. Even if they are rebuilding, it would be wise to add a bit more insurance in goal. This is especially true when noting that Brossoit is a potential bounce-back candidate. During the 2020-21 season with the Winnipeg Jets, he had a 2.42 GAA and .918 SV%. If he can get back to that form, he would also be a solid rental candidate for the Blackhawks at the 2023 Trade Deadline.
Nolan Patrick is another player currently under contract who the Golden Knights could look to part ways with. The 2017 second-overall pick carries a $1.2 million cap hit and isn’t even guaranteed a spot in their bottom six next season. The Winnipeg native’s first season with the team was also disappointing. Due to injury, he was limited to just 25 games, where he had only two goals and five assists. Every penny counts for the Golden Knights, and they have more important players to re-sign like Nicolas Roy and Keegan Kolesar.
Although Patrick may never become the star that many scouts believed he would when he was drafted, the Blackhawks should consider taking a chance on him. When looking at their depth chart, the 23-year-old center could be a fit in their middle six. That, in turn, could help him find his scoring touch at the NHL level. Furthermore, he is still young enough that he would fit in nicely with their rebuild.
With the Golden Knights needing to free up salary, the cost to acquire Patrick and his $1.2 million cap hit should be very low. This could be another situation where Vegas receives only future considerations, as they are desperate to move money out. Keep in mind, that is all they got back from the Carolina Hurricanes for Pacioretty and Coghlan. Both of those players had much more of an impact for the Golden Knights last season, too.
It will be intriguing to see if the Blackhawks and Golden Knights end up making a trade this summer. Out of the trio, Hague would be the biggest splash, but it still wouldn’t hurt to take a look at Brossoit and Patrick. Alas, we will have to wait and see if any of these players are Blackhawks for the 2022-23 campaign.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.