As the 2019 Trade Deadline approaches, the Vegas Golden Knights find themselves in a difficult position. While they sit firmly in playoff position, they don’t look like the magical team that went to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Throughout the season, they have struggled to find consistent offense, oftentimes riding a scoring hot streak to a few wins then floundering their way to a string of losses, unable to put pucks in the net.
Given that their first-round opponent will likely be either the San Jose Sharks or Calgary Flames, the Golden Knights will be facing an opponent with a top-five offense. On the other hand, Vegas has the 15th-ranked offense, meaning that with their current roster, there’s little reason to believe they will be able to match their opponent’s level of offensive firepower with their inconsistent scoring.
However, with the trade deadline less than a week away, there’s still time for a fix to be made. Given their needs and the rumored available players, Golden Knights general manager George McPhee should be in constant contact with the Ottawa Senators in order to hammer out a trade for one of their veteran scoring forwards.
Stone Could Solve Golden Knights Woes
Despite having a talented top-line consisting of Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, the Golden Knights could use a big, smart, offensively gifted right winger like Mark Stone. With 27 goals and 59 points, Stone would be the top scorer on the Golden Knights and would inject an immediate scoring touch to the top line.
Even as a rental, Stone would be worth the likely high-cost Ottawa will be demanding. He is the kind of player that makes any lineup better with his size and skill. Also, as a free agent in the offseason, the Golden Knights could use this playoff run as a trial to see if he has a future with the franchise. If things go well, they could make a bid to re-sign him, maximizing their trade.
There’s a reason why the Senators are rumored to want to keep Stone, though. He is relatively young, has consistently great statistics and is every bit as good on defense as he is on offense. He is a complete package who will be in demand for any playoff bound team. While this may inflate his trade value, he would be the one player worth breaking the bank on for Vegas.
Senators Have a Surplus of Offensive Rentals
Besides Stone, Ottawa also has two centermen potentially on the market in Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene. As natural centers, overpaying for either player may be a bit overkill for the Golden Knights, as they are fairly deep at that position already. However, if they felt confident that they could flex either player to the wing, they could bring a scoring touch to the top-six on either the first or second line.
Of the two, Dzingel should interest Vegas most, since he would likely cost less as a rental when compared to Duchene. With 22 goals and 43 points this season, though, he is no scoring slouch. On a team with an anemic offense like the Golden Knights, that kind of scoring potential could be exactly what they need to put them over the top against a team like San Jose or Calgary.
Golden Knights Should Make a Trade With Senators
While the Golden Knights learned that making a large deadline trade just for the sake of making a trade can be a mistake, this season they have a serious offensive hole in need of patching before the playoffs.
While there’s no guarantee that a trade will make a team better, McPhee has three chances in Ottawa to get it right. Anyone of Stone, Dzingel or Duchene could be the exact piece that the Golden Knights need to go from a first-round exit to another run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.