Golden Knights Trade Van Riemsdyk to Hurricanes

The Vegas Golden Knights are wasting no time in making trades with some of their newly acquired pieces. After drafting 30 players and getting additional assets, picks and players through side deals, the Golden Knights are moving defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for the 62nd pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft pick going back to the Golden Knights.

The 25-year-old blueliner was originally signed by the Blackhawks in 2014 and played his first 158 games of his career with Chicago before being selected by the Golden Knights. The younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward James Van Riemsdyk didn’t ever get a chance to wear the Golden Knight’s jersey before hearing his name thrown into another trade, sending him to Carolina. The deal was reported by TSN’s Frank Seravalli on Thursday and was later confirmed by the Hurricanes.

Van Riemsdyk is a solid young blueliner with a very bright future. The question that this trade leads to, however, it’s unclear why would the Carolina Hurricanes be interested in a young blueliner with potential?

A team that is already loaded with young defensive players like Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, Ryan Murphy and Jaccob Slavin, the Hurricanes aren’t necessarily in the market for another young defender with a high ceiling. Hurricanes’ general manager Ron Francis did give one reason for the choice in the team’s official statement:

“As a right-handed defenseman, Trevor fills an immediate need in our lineup,” Francis said. “He has obviously already experienced success in Chicago, and now will be another good, young piece on our blueline.”

There is potential that this deal could lead to an even bigger one for the Hurricanes down the line as they look for a legitimate top-six forward to help their offensive production.

Trevor Van Riemsdyk (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While Van Riemsdyk has only scored eight goals and 31 points in 158 games to date, he was never asked to play too significant of a role on a Blackhawks team that features Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Alternating between top-four and bottom-pairing usage, Van Riemsdyk has shown that he’s versatile and able to play wherever a team needs him. He’s also shown that he can be a valuable commodity with his solid puck-moving ability despite making the regular error that is expected from a budding defender

Blackhawks Kruger Situation

An interesting factor that led to Van Riemsdyk being picked by the Golden Knights was the fact that the team was also expected to secure center Marcus Kruger from the Blackhawks in the process. The deal was intended to save the Blackhawks some salary while not impacting their core.

With the news of Marian Hossa being out for the entire 2017-18 season, though, the Expansion Draft came and went without Kruger hearing his name called by the Golden Knights as part of a trade. It isn’t clear if Kruger will remain with the Blackhawks or if he’ll still be moved at some point, but for now, he remains on the team with his $3.083 million cap hit.

Marcus Kruger (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Blackhawks won’t have access to the cap space saved from Hossa’s salary until after the season starts when they are able to place him on the LTIR. Until then, the Blackhawks could still look to free up cap space and Kruger’s contract makes the most sense to move on from given his usage as a bottom-six forward. As it stands, the team will be without Hossa and Van Riemsdyk with the potential to also be without Kruger by the time the regular season rolls around.