After an offseason where navigating a tricky salary cap situation dominated the headlines for the Vegas Golden Knights, the team is down to their last remaining restricted free agent, and one who we documented earlier today: defenseman Nicolas Hague. Although the organization has done a good job thus far of working within their restraints, they’re left in a bit of a tough spot with their remaining cap and one of their bright young defensemen. At the moment, Vegas sits just around $10.24MM over the upper limit of the NHL’s $82.5MM. salary cap. Somewhat fortunately, they will be able to cancel out around $12.86MM in cap hit by placing defenseman Shea Weber and goaltender Robin Lehner on LTIR, leaving them with $2.64MM in available space. The issue there is whether it will be enough to get Hague signed.
Of concern, it sounds like it may not. As Fox 5 Vegas’s Vince Sapienza reports, things apparently are not progressing between team and player, who apparently have had “very little dialogue since early July.” Sapienza adds that though Hague is in Las Vegas and ready to join the team for the start of training camp on September 21st, he and his representatives are becoming concerned with the lack of communication. Sapienza also notes that if no deal is reached by the start of training camp, Hague is expected not to report and will instead train elsewhere in the interim.
Seeing that the two sides have apparently had very little communication since the early parts of the offseason is absolutely worrisome for those following the Golden Knights. The organization has made its moves to stay below the salary cap and get creative doing so, but those tough decisions, like the one to move Max Pacioretty to the Carolina Hurricanes for merely future considerations, were seemingly meant to allow the team to extend key players like Hague. Should Hague hold out by not attending Golden Knights training camp, that itself wouldn’t be a concern, the practice happening regularly for unsigned RFAs.
If Vegas were to be without Hague into the regular season, they could field a complete roster, having six defenseman signed and on the NHL roster right now (not counting Weber, who won’t play), with several depth options available to close the gaps, but none as good, and experienced, as Hague. Looking closer at the numbers, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Vegas be able to sign Hague for less than the $2.64MM they will have available after utilizing LTIR, but the 23-year-old Kitchener, ON native has shown an ability to play reliable minutes in his own zone with his offensive ability still progressing, so an affordable deal may not be easily found. But, with the possibility of forward Nolan Patrick also landing on LTIR, Vegas could increase its available space to $3.84MM, likely enough to bring back the hulking defenseman.
Last year, Hague had four goals and 10 assists in 52 games while averaging 18:40 per night, and sports a respectable 10 goals and 32 assists in 142 career NHL games. A 2017 second-round pick of the Golden Knights, Hague just finished the final year of his ELC.
Welcome to New York!
Walman + Blues 2nd for Hague or Maata + Blues 2nd
I think Walman is a better option for LV because he skates better than Maata and an added benefit of only a $1.05M cap hit
Vegas- Pilut (signed already for $750k) & their 2023 2nd back
Hague should accept an offer sheet from Ottawa and join a young club with some future
Vegas has shown to be a disloyal franchise with no love for any players…
Vegas has signed several players to long term deals over the last 2 years. Many have NTCs.
If only he shot right. They already have four LHD on the roster and I don’t think DJ Smith likes using any on their off-side too much.
Ottawa & their future cap space is getting tight with the upcoming extensions, having to resign DeBrincat & replacing or extending some defenseman.
Yappers like you always babbling about the lack of loyalty among teams are also the first in line to yell about getting rid of a player when he doesn’t meet your standards. The loyalty shown to players by teams is in the large contracts that they sign. No franchise is more or less loyal than any other. It’s a business.
Vegas clearly has their house in order… (eye roll)
Blue line is the one spot where Vegas is in a pretty good spot. Given that Vegas probably isn’t in a hurry to re-complciate their cap situation, and their need to restock their draft capital, they’re probably content to wait Hague out, or let him walk/trade him for some picks or forward prospects.
This is the type of D Yzerman covets! He can offer 2 LD’s for Hague and LVGK would be cap compliant.
Walman, a fast-skating D that will not slow the transitional offence, and a one of number of LD’s that are in Grand Rapids now not named Simon.
I wish the Bruins would jump on this guy but he isn’t an under sized puck mover so there’s zero chance of that.