The Vegas Golden Knights are in a particularly interesting spot. Although they sport a 26-16-3 record and are at the top of the Pacific Division, they are inevitably going to trade away some of their players. This is because they will not be cap compliant once players like Alec Martinez and more notably Jack Eichel return from injury. Therefore, teams like the Boston Bruins should take advantage of this and at least consider some of their potentially available players.
The Golden Knights signed three players to extensions on Sunday, but defenseman Brayden McNabb is the most interesting of the bunch. This is because he could have been one of the players they would have moved, as he was a pending unrestricted free agent before signing it. However, he now will not be available for the taking – meaning we have a better idea of who they may have to end up trading. Let’s look at a few players the Bruins should target.
Reilly Smith is another original Golden Knight who we could see dealt. The 30-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season, and it’s unlikely that they would be able to sign him to an extension given their current cap situation. The winger’s name has come up in the rumor mill because of this. When seeing as how he can produce offensively quite well, there should be plenty of interest in him around the league. The Bruins should consider the idea of a reunion with him, as they need help at right wing.
Smith is having another very good season with the Golden Knights this year. In 43 games, he has 11 goals to go along with 18 assists. With statistics like that, he could immediately replace the struggling Craig Smith in the team’s top six. Although the need for a second-line center is there, the Bruins would truly benefit from adding a second-line winger, too. Even if he’d be a rental, he would provide the Bruins with more scoring – which is a clear necessity for them.
The Bruins have another potential top-six option from the Golden Knights in Evgenii Dadonov. In 43 games this season, he has 10 goals to go along with 11 assists. Overall, he’s been producing fairly, but he showed in the past that he is capable of doing even more. During the 2018-19 season, he scored 28 goals and recorded 70 points in 82 games with the Florida Panthers. He then had an impressive 25 goals to go along with 22 assists in 69 games during the 2019-20 season. Thus, the potential for him to be a bigger offensive threat is there.
Unlike Smith, Dadonov would be more than a rental. The 32-year-old winger carries a $5 million cap hit until the end of next season, so he would be a bit of a gamble. However, when looking at the kind of numbers he put up not too long ago, he may be someone to consider. This is especially true if his trade value is lower due to Vegas’ current situation.
William Carrier is an intriguing bottom-six option from the Golden Knights. The 27-year-old forward has an affordable $1.4 million cap hit until the completion of the 2023-24 season. With the Bruins having some injury trouble at left wing, he could be a player worth considering. Furthermore, he’d arguably be an upgrade over Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh, too.
Carrier has quietly been having a very solid season. In 36 games, he has five goals, eight assists, and a plus-9 rating. Yet, the big aspect of his game that would be great to add to the lineup is his immense degree of physicality. He already has 83 hits this season, and notably had 277 of them during the 2018-19 campaign. The Bruins have been criticized for being too weak to play against, and this season is only adding fuel to that fire. Perhaps acquiring the Quebec native could help change that narrative.
Mattias Janmark could be a nice versatile player for the Bruins. The 29-year-old is capable of playing all three forward positions – similarly to the Bruins’ 2019 deadline acquisition, Marcus Johansson. He’s probably best classified as a third-line forward, but with Jake DeBrusk requesting a trade, they may end up needing another one of those. He only carries a $2 million cap hit for the remainder of the season, too. Thus, he’d be easier to afford than players like Smith or Dadonov.
In 40 games this season, Janmark has seven goals, 10 helpers, and a plus-2 rating. That kind of production from a third-liner is exactly what the Bruins would benefit from at this juncture of the campaign. Secondary scoring has been an ongoing issue this season, so it should be something that the team tries to fix at the deadline. He is one of many potential players who could help with that.
Although the Golden Knights are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, they will be forced to be sellers at the deadline once Eichel is ready to go. Thus, they will be one of the most entertaining teams to pay attention to during it. All four of these players could be interesting additions for the Bruins, but time will tell if they strike their first-ever deal with the NHL’s second-youngest franchise.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings 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 NHL Trade Rumors.