With the trade deadline growing closer and closer, teams are getting ready to buy or sell. One big domino has fallen off the cliff as Bo Horvat is on to greener pastures. Contenders and those on the outside looking in are gearing up for the final stretch. A Vegas Golden Knights trade could be on the horizon.
A Vegas Golden Knights Trade Could Be Coming
Given the way things are falling, a Vegas Golden Knights trade is looming. The team is in a slump and is 2-6-2 over their last ten games. In addition, they dropped the final four games before the break and all on the road. It’s uncharacteristic given how well they perform on the road, but nothing is going right for the team right now.
With key players still out with injuries, General Manager Kelly McCrimmon could turn to the deadline to acquire players to give the club a boost. They are tight against the salary cap, so a big fish on the market may be out of price. However, two names have popped up as fits for the team.
The Trade Targets
On the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliote Friedman has discussed potential names that could be on the radar. Both players currently play for the St Louis Blues and they are Noel Acciari and Ivan Barbashev. Friedman went on to say, “I think Edmonton is in on Acciari too, but that Vegas thing, they are really struggling and I think they are going to do something the question is just when,” said Friedman. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy previously coached Accirai in Boston and got a good glimpse of Barbashev in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
There is a case to be made for both players. Depth on this team lies down the middle and weakness lies on the wings. With the departure of Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, and Evgenii Dadonov replacements have not been there. How do these guys fit the bill?
The Case For Each Trade Candidate
Last season was a career year for the winger. He scored 26 goals, 34 assists, for 60 points. It has been a tough season for the Blues, and he has nine goals and 24 points. The big physical winger would be a nice piece on the third line as Vegas is missing production there. He ranks seventh in points overall on the team and his 105 is ranked second. He would make the perfect third-line winger for this team. It also helps he has played with assistant captain Alex Pietrangelo.
Acciari is not a stranger to Cassidy. He coached him in Boston before he signed a deal with the Florida Panthers. He had a career year in his first season in Florida as he scored 20 goals and 27 points. Like Barbashev, he plays a physical game while adding a bit of speed. He is having a nice year, having 10 goals and 18 points. His 158 hits rank first on the team. It’s an element the Golden Knights need and would boost the lineup.
Why These Trades Make Sense
When at full strength, the Golden Knights have lines that contribute and are deep. As mentioned above with the top line, the line of Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and William Karlsson is just as lethal. They rank 18th in expected goals percentage (58.3%), and lead the team in xGF as a line with 19. The other great line for them is the impactful fourth line. Not only are they big and physical, but as a line, they have an XG% of 53.8%. Both the second and fourth lines have accounted for 14 goals together, and depth matters as the games get tougher.
This Vegas Golden Knights trade makes sense because they need an impactful third line. Bringing in guys that can play a good checking game and also contribute on the scoreboard. The two players above fit the bill. In addition, they fit the bill financially. Acciari has a cap hit of $1.25 million and is a pending UFA, and Barbashev has a $2.25 million cap hit and is also a UFA. For a team like the Golden Knights that are tight against the cap, these two players can provide a boost.
As much as they would love to get the biggest fish in the ocean, everything hinges on the health of captain Mark Stone.
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