The Vegas Golden Knights entered the NHL trade deadline as the second-best team in the Honda West division. Entering the deadline, Vegas did not have much money to shop around with. Luckily for them, they only needed one area to address on their roster. They accomplished this by acquiring Mattias Janmark from the Chicago Blackhawks to bolster their third line. With the help of their Northern Californian rivals, the Golden Knights were able to address their needs at a minimal price.
The restraint the Golden Knights showed at the trade deadline was refreshing. In recent memory, the team has been known to make a large splash to acquire a big-name player. This aggressive nature was shown last year when the team brought in Robin Lehner to help backstop the Golden Knights throughout the playoffs and during free agency when the team spent good money to bring in Alex Pietrangelo. Winning four out of their last five games before the deadline, it was evident that there was not much that needed to be changed, and the front office was smart to keep the roster and prospects intact as many players are starting to heat up for the final stretch of the season.
The Golden Knights have been a dangerous team throughout the entire season, but not all of the production has been evenly spread. Players such as Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty have been caring a lot of the weight offensively. However, players such as Tomas Nosek and Keegan Kolesar have been heating up in the last 10 games. Over this period, Nosek has scored four goals and registered six points. Of his four goals, two of them were game-winning goals. Kolesar recorded one goal and has 4 assists in this span. He also registered his first career multi-point game in the lead-up to the deadline.
The growing confidence in the bottom six of Vegas is coming at the right time of the season. With only 15 games remaining in the 2020-21 season, this level of play should carry over into the playoffs. This will presumably alleviate some pressure off of Stone and Pacioretty. The Golden Knights’ success in their existence has been heavily dependent on the strength of their depth players, and it is looking like this year will be no different.
No Need to Trade Away the Future
In the past, the Golden Knights have not been afraid to trade some of their top prospects in order to be competitive down the stretch and into the playoffs. Some key examples of this would be when they traded away Nick Suzuki as part of a deal to acquire Pacioretty or when they traded Erik Brannstrom as part of a package for Stone. Both of these players were first-round draft picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
There were some rumors around whether or not Cody Glass will fall to this fate as well. He has not lived up to some of the expectations this season and has spent the year between the AHL, taxi squad, and NHL. The Golden Knights made the right decision to hold on to him because he still has the potential to be the first-line center for the future. He has already proven himself to score on the power play and be an effective playmaker when he has the puck. Center is one of the hardest positions for a young player to adapt to in the NHL due to the increase in the speed at which the game is played and a large amount of defensive responsibility that comes with the position.
In addition to Glass, Vegas’ other top prospect, Peyton Krebs, has been filling the scoresheet in the WHL. Krebs is currently leading the WHL in points and making a strong case for himself to make the NHL roster next season. In previous years, these two players might not have been safe if Vegas believed they could have made a Stanley Cup run. However, it seems that the Golden Knights have matured as an organization and are looking towards their future while actively trying to win the cup.
Despite not having an eventful trade deadline, the Golden Knights are seemingly leaving it with their Stanley Cup hopes and future intact. The organization has seemingly matured as they did not throw around top prospects in an attempt to land bigger name players. Even with the salary cap limitations, Vegas was smart at the deadline and allowed themselves to make a run in the 2021 playoffs.
I am a former Jr. A hockey player that is currently attending school at San Diego State University. At SDSU, I study Journalism and Public Relations while also playing on the school’s rugby team. Hockey has been a big part of my life, as I have been playing since I was three years old. Other than hockey, I enjoy watching and playing all kinds of sports.