The Vegas Golden Knights have acquired forward Ivan Barbashev from the St. Louis Blues. The Blues will receive prospect Zach Dean in return. Barbashev is a pending unrestricted free agent with a $2.25MM cap hit.
This move takes another quality name off the trade board in advance of Friday’s deadline and is the third trade the Blues have made this month, following the departures of Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly.
Worth noting is that this deal is not expected to take to the Golden Knights out of the running for San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier, whose trade saga was reported today to be down to just two teams: Vegas and the New Jersey Devils.
Adding Barbashev gives Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy a talented, versatile option to plug into his forward corps. Injuries have forced Vegas to play Michael Amadio as a top-six winger as of late, and has forced top scorer Chandler Stephenson into the third-line center role in between Phil Kessel and William Carrier.
Barbashev can play center and the wing, so Cassidy could choose to play him in Amadio’s spot or even shift him to third-line center, allowing Stephenson to return to a role as a top-six winger. Barbashev has had success in both roles, scoring 26 goals and 60 points last season playing quite often as a winger alongside other scoring forwards.
He’s also had success playing as a two-way center, and is able to play on both special teams units. While Barbashev’s production is down from last season (he has 10 goals and 29 points in 59 games this year) he remains a valuable, versatile two-way player who can help fill needs as they pop up in Vegas’ lineup.
His jack-of-all-trades abilities should help Vegas as they seek to return to the playoffs, and as they get healthier, his value to their team will only grow.
For St. Louis, nabbing Dean for an expiring contract is a nice cherry on top of what was already a successful trade season. The 20-year-old forward was selected 30th overall in 2021, and was recently showcased as a member of the Canadian World Junior team. He ended up with 33 penalty minutes in the short tournament because of an illegal check to the head as he played his signature brand of physical, high-energy hockey. Dean has recorded 49 points in 38 games for the Gatineau Olympiques this season.
Vegas continues to trade away top prospects for players they believe can get them closer to a Stanley Cup in the short term. Dean joins Peyton Krebs, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Erik Brannstrom as first-round selections that have been traded since the team’s expansion. Only Brendan Brisson remains from the six players they’ve selected in the first round, and one would expect he is likely involved in any Meier talks.
TSN’s Darren Dreger first broke the trade on Twitter.