The Vegas Golden Knights have had a quiet offseason so far this year after a busy couple of years. Many were shocked to see the expansion team already being capped out, loaded down with plenty of talented veterans on what was supposed to be a young roster. Instead, Vegas has built a team that can contend immediately and many have projected Vegas to capture the Western Conference. Despite having little maneuvering room in which they had to cast off a number of players, including Erik Haula, Colin Miller and Nikita Gusev, next season could be a whole different story.
Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson writes that Vegas should have quite a bit of cap room next season once again once several contracts are off the books, including Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves and Nick Holden amongst others. With a number of prospects ready to move into the Golden Knights’ lineup in a year, the team might have quite a bit of cap available, upwards of $6-9MM of available cap room (depending on moves made from now until July 1, 2020). That could free up enough room to acquire a significant free agent next season to target a number of free agents, especially on defense, including players like Tyson Barrie, Jared Spurgeon, Justin Schultz or Justin Faulk.
- In his Sunday column, Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes that he doubts that the Edmonton Oilers will go after Russian forward Anton Burdasov who has expressed recent interest in coming to the NHL this season with Edmonton supposedly being one of the three primary suitors for the 28-year-old. Burdasov is coming off a career-high 19 goals and tied his career-high in points in the KHL last season. However, Leavins adds that Burdasov is neither a playmaker or a good skater, which likely wouldn’t interest the Oilers too much as Edmonton is looking for players to increase their speed and are able to play next to their top two centers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
- Sticking with the Oilers, Edmonton Journal’s David Staples writes that the Edmonton Oilers intend to shift defenseman Kris Russell back to his natural left side next season. Russell has been playing on the right side with the team as a top-four option, but assistant coach Jim Playfair said he wants Russell to move back to the left, while the team wants Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson to pair together this year. Russell likely will be asked to take a third-pairing role, which should allow a one of the team’s younger players to step into the open top-four role on the right side. Several players are likely expected to battle for the open spot, including Matt Benning, Joel Persson, Ethan Bear and Evan Bouchard.
- In his quest to get back to full health, Vancouver Canucks veteran forward Brandon Sutter is trying to use Pilates for the first time in his 11-year career to get back into shape. “I started doing Pilates this summer which was awesome,” the 30-year-old Sutter said Wednesday following an off-season skills and conditioning skate. “A whole different thing than I’ve done before and now that I’ve started it, I wish I would have done it 10 years ago because it has helped a lot,” said the 30-year-old Sutter. “It’s all functional movement and based on the inner thigh and core. It’s just very specific for exactly what I need and now that I’ve done it, in the future I’ll do it more and spend less time lifting weights.” Sutter was expected to play a significant role for the team last season, but injuries derailed his season and he appeared in just 26 games, scoring just four goals. The hope is that using Pilates might keep him healthy for a full season and he can play a big role as a bottom-line leader this year.