The Golden Knights have given permission for Vadim Shipachyov’s representatives to pursue a trade for the center, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link). However, they have yet to find the right fit for a deal. TSN’s Darren Dreger adds (via Twitter) that the permission was granted Tuesday morning.
Shipachyov was the top free agent signing for Vegas as he inked a two-year, $9MM contract back in May. He was coming off of a dominant season with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL where he finished second on the team in scoring (third in the league) with 26 goals and 50 assists in 50 games (plus 16 points in 15 postseason contests). As a result, many expected him to be the top line center to start the season.
However, that has not been the case. Shipachyov was among the players who fell victim to a numbers game when it came to waiver exemption. In an effort to keep as much talent as possible without risking running players through waivers, the 30-year-old was sent to Chicago of the AHL to start the season (along with winger Alex Tuch and defenseman Shea Theodore). That has allowed them to keep nine defensemen on the active roster and GM George McPhee is believed to be seeking a trade for one of his surplus defenders (including Griffin Reinhart, Brad Hunt, and Jon Merrill) but nothing has come to fruition just yet.
Shipachyov was told he didn’t have to report to the minors and wound up being recalled back on October 14th as injuries started to strike. He got into three games with the Golden Knights, recording a goal but he averaged just 10:35 per night in ice time. The team had to make a roster move yesterday to activate Jonathan Marchessault off IR and it was Shipachyov who lost his spot as he was sent back to the minors.
Shipachyov had interest from NHL teams dating back to two years ago but he was under contract in Russia through 2016-17 so he wasn’t able to make the jump initially. However, teams were hesitant to commit multiple years to him which played a role in him choosing to go to Vegas in the first place. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels notes (Twitter link) that Montreal (who had interest in the past on a one-year deal) was contacted but they are not interested in pursuing him now. With just three NHL regular season games plus four preseason contests under his belt though, he hasn’t really had the opportunity to showcase himself enough to the point where another team might be more confident to take a chance on him.
With his agent having less than 48 hours to secure a possible trade partner, there’s still plenty of time to get something done. In the meantime, it will be worth watching to see if Shipachyov reports to the AHL’s Wolves this time around. If he doesn’t, the Golden Knights will be able to suspend him without pay if they so desire. With the trade market not being particularly robust at this time, his name is likely to come up in plenty of speculation in the days to come.
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