Ahead of their game on Monday night, the Vegas Golden Knights swapped out a pair of young players from their active roster. After starting only five defensemen to begin the season, the team has recalled Nic Hague to serve as their sixth defenseman. In a corresponding move, Cody Glass has been assigned to the taxi squad. For the time being, it’s a move that the Golden Knights have to make.
Although Vegas would like to have both young standouts in the lineup, they do not have the cap space to fit both. Even with both on entry-level contracts, the Knights’ $294K in cap space (even with the more affordable Hague on the roster) is not enough for an additional player. Vegas is stuck with the minimum roster of 20 players. That 20-man group cannot include both Hague and Glass, either. They are the only members of the Knights that are waivers-exempt, meaning opening up space for both would require subjecting another player to the waiver wire. The deep, veteran roster of the Golden Knights does not offer many safe waiver options and those that might clear, such as Keegan Kolesar or Zach Whitecloud, make even less than Glass or Hague would still put the team in a difficult salary cap spot.
Barring an injury and LTIR placement to open up space, the Knights will either need to continue this careful balancing act or make a move. While Glass and Hague are both ready for full-time NHL roles, the Knights could decide that keeping their roster together this season is more important than the development of either prospect in a shortened season. However, if they feel that their best chance at a Stanley Cup is to ice a lineup with both Glass and Hague during the regular season, something has to give.