The Vegas Golden Knights already surprised a few when they reached out and stole Paul Stastny away from Western Conference rival Winnipeg. However, the Golden Knights are apparently not done as The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Vegas is the front-runner for unrestricted free agent defenseman Nick Holden.
Holden, who spent time with both the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins last season, would be a solid depth defenseman that could add to Vegas’ core. he averaged 19:00 ATOI between both clubs, but only posted four goals and 17 points on the year. However, the 31-year-old may be starting to show a decline in skills as he was a 34-point player in 2016-17 with the Rangers.
Incidentally, Holden is being pursued by two teams as the Boston Bruins are also vying for the blueliner’s services, according to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. The Bruins, after all, gave up a third-round pick and low-end prospect Rob O’Gara at the deadline.
- LeBrun also mentions that while Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, who will be a unrestricted free agent in one year, can sign an extension as of today. However, the scribe writes that Nashville isn’t there yet. They intend to reignite talks with Ellis and his representatives within the next one to two weeks. Nashville wants to keep Ellis in the fold at all costs as the team has put major emphasis on having a dominant four defense. The team already has P.K. Subban ($9MM AAV) and Mattias Ekholm ($3.75MM AAV) locked up for four years, while Roman Josi ($4MM AAV) is signed for another two years.
- The New York Rangers can breathe easier after the agent for restricted free agent Vladislav Namestnikov, Dan Milstein, refuted rumors that the forward was leaving for the KHL. Namestnikov, who was acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, but saw his playing time drop once he arrived in New York. After averaging 17:30 of ATOI as a Lightning, his playing time dropped to 15:43, along with his offensive production. After potting 20 goals with Tampa Bay, he managed just four points in 19 games with the Rangers. However, Milstein insists the rumors are not true and that Namestnikov believes playing in the NHL is a privilege and honor and an extension is in the works with the New York Rangers.
- Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News reports the Buffalo Sabres are currently working on re-signing winger Scott Wilson. The 26-year-old was picked up in a December trade this last season from the Detroit Red Wings and played a regular role as a bottom-six forward. After not scoring a point in 17 games with Detroit, he tallied six goals and 14 points in 49 games in Buffalo.