GM for a Day: Jason’s 2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights
Our hypothetical management week continues. Today is my (Jason) turn to play GM for a Day, and we’re going a little slower than Ken’s plan.
I have no choice, I’m going now. An order was given six seasons ago and I accepted. So, it’s time to deliver.
The current Vegas roster has enough talent in the roster, but they haven’t quite made it. However, under the right conditions, the Golden Knights can defeat almost any team on any night. Of course, changes will be made, but for the most part I’m going to use what I already have.
TRADE – Alec Martinez traded to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2022 4th round pick.
On Tuesday, I predicted that the Golden Knights front office would aggressively try to offload Alec Martinez’s contract. It’s rare, but I agree with VGK’s FO. Detroit is a maturing team that has cap space and could use some veteran leadership. Like the Golden Knights have done in the past with Brad Hunt, sending Martinez to Detroit would also mean watching the player. It will hurt some ability to lose the nearly 35-year-old, but Vegas opens up cap space and replenishes a 4th-round pick. It’s not ideal but I prefer to get rid of the defense to keep my offense intact. My only fear is that the management of the Red Wings asks for a sweetener.
Look, I’m no miracle worker, but my task is to win the Stanley Cup this year, not in 2028. With that in mind, immediately after trading Martinez, I pick up the phone and reassure Max Pacioretty that he won’t. will go nowhere. It’s time for a heart to heart. As Brad Pitt told the actor playing David Justice in the movie Moneyball, “I want to squeeze every last ounce of baseball out of you.” The same goes for Pacioretty. He has an expiring contract and is looking for another lucrative contract, and I need goals. I’m looking for 70+ games and 30+ goals from Pacioretty next season. In the end, it could work well for both parties.
It won’t be a secret the pressure is on Pacioretty, Mark Stone and yes, Jack Eichel. When a player signs a contract worth $10 million a year, he also accepts the pressure that comes with it. I predict Eichel to play as a ten million dollar center this season and expect him to get the most out of his teammates. He may not wear a C but it will be Eichel’s team. It’s just a matter of when. He wasn’t an original Misfit, but the Creator’s requirement to win a Cup in six seasons also applies to the top center. To keep the trio of Pacioretty, Mark Stone and Jack Eichel together, someone else will have to go.
TRADE – Laurent Brossoit and a 2022 7th round pick to the Dallas Stars for a 2023 5th round pick
Brossoit’s contract was another example of overspending for an unnecessary need. Vegas had backup Robin Lehner already overpaid for a disappointing and established goaltender. The Golden Knights didn’t get enough from Brossoit last season to continue to carry his salary. Since 2020, the Golden Knights have vastly overpaid their goaltenders and last offseason the club was forced to sell a Vezina winner for nothing. I will follow suit by shipping Brossoit, and like the Vegas front office, I am not concerned with the return.
I managed to get under the cape without tearing the team apart. Now it’s time to consider what I have left in the books.
RESIGN – Nic Hague ($1.5M), Nic Roy ($2.25M), Kolesar ($1M)
By trading Martinez, I can now focus on securing Nic Hague for an equally beneficial deal. New coach Bruce Cassidy shouldn’t have to deal with one of his tough everyday defenders. What if the blockage continues after Thanksgiving? It’s not ideal. So, I am ready to offer Hague a comparable AAV with some of its peers. Hague’s agent will ask what Henri Jokiharju received last summer from Buffalo. Both were drafted in 2017, have played over 140 games and totaled over 40 points. However, Jokiharju has a bigger role and plays for a team with a cap. The Hague will gladly accept my offer.
Roy got a multi-year contract and I’m ready to work with him, but I’m not ready to break the bank. St. Louis pays Ivan Barbashev $2.25 million a season and he’s had a lot more success. Barbashev had 60 points last season and averaged 16 minutes. Roy also skated 16 minutes per game, but had 21 fewer points. I’m ready to sign the 25-year-old for several years but less than $3 million AAV.
Kolesar won a raise, but if I still pay William Carrier, it won’t be much.
SIGNED TO A PTO – Ryan Dzingel
I expect the Golden Knights front office to invite a player or two to training camp without a contract. I suggested Ryan Dzingel on Tuesday and I’m sticking with it. Low risk and huge reward if Dzingel can ever find his way home.
My hands are really tied, so there’s not a lot of turnover compared to last season. If key players remain healthy, fans should expect a playoff spot. However, this is not a Stanley Cup winning roster. Colorado isn’t going anywhere and I can’t compare the two organizations. To be honest, I’d be willing to listen to offers from most Golden Knights players if it gets me closer to the Avalanche. If other GMs ask about William Karlsson or even Shea Theodore, I’ll take the call. Heck, I would consider moving Robin Lehner if Cassidy had full confidence in Thompson.
It doesn’t look much different than last year’s roster, but here’s what my roster will look like in October. Keep in mind that the plan is to add one or two players at the trade deadline using the inevitable LTIR space.
In fact, it comes down to the need to correct some of the past mistakes of the organization. I am forced to work with often injured players and long-term commitments. I’ll try to fix or tweak this summer, but I can’t keep kicking the road. Lost draft picks, selling assets and juggling the cap didn’t work.