Much has been made of the Vegas Golden Knights’ salary cap management, with the team playing with fire ever since acquiring Jack Eichel. Now, with the team potentially in a bind if they don’t have enough room to activate healthy players off long-term injured reserve prior to the playoffs, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger suggests a post-Trade Deadline cap-clearing move could potentially be in play. The return dates of Alec Martinez and Mark Stone aren’t certain, and it’s possible both could be healthy before May. If that’s the case, the Golden Knights could potentially move a player after the deadline to a non-playoff team in order to become cap-compliant. There’s no rule preventing this, as the Trade Deadline is legally only relevant because players moved after that date aren’t eligible for playoff games. However, as Granger notes, this could likely significantly reduce the trade value of any player Vegas is looking to move out, considering they’d have no other option to become compliant.
Other rumblings from the Wild West:
- Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland reports that he’s hearing the Nashville Predators are “actively shopping” Filip Forsberg ahead of the deadline. While the team is a likely playoff lock in the Western Conference at this point, they’re likely not in the Stanley Cup conversation, and Forsberg is a free agent at season’s end. The NHL’s leader in even-strength goals would likely become the deadline’s biggest prize, and any Forsberg deal could reap considerable rewards for Nashville’s future and help replenish a prospect pool that, while it has some nice names, isn’t the strongest. He’s carrying an extremely reasonable $6MM cap hit that most contenders can stomach with some retention.
- According to Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus at The Athletic, if the Chicago Blackhawks and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury agree on a trade, it could potentially net the team a first-round pick. While they do say a second- or third-round selection is probably more realistic, some do believe teams will pay up for last year’s Vezina winner. The team does not have their first-round pick this year after including it in the Seth Jones trade.