After two years of heavy turnover and maneuvering to get their franchise off to a hot start, it looks like the Vegas Golden Knights will be taking a back seat when free agency opens on July 1. While most people weren’t expecting Vegas to be active this offseason, with their cap room already used up, Ken Boehlke of SinBin.vegas writes that President of Hockey Operations George McPhee admitted the team will be inactive:
Well we’re in pretty good shape with our core group. We have basically everyone signed up and we are close on some other things. So I don’t imagine we’re going to be out looking at free agents this summer. We like the team the way it is and we like the young guys that we have coming along.
What McPhee meant when he said the team was close on some other things could be very interesting, although it could range anywhere from a potential long-term deal with restricted free agent William Karlsson, to potential deals for fellow RFA’s Nikita Gusev, Tomas Nosek, Jimmy Schuldt or veteran UFA Deryk Engelland, or even a trade to free up cap space to sign any of them.
- The Athletic’s Jonathan Willis (subscription required) looks at the potential compatibility between the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets, wondering if the two teams might be a perfect match for solving each of their problems. The scribe suggests the Jets could use Edmonton to help unload some of their less-significant contracts, such as Mathieu Perreault or Dmitry Kulikov, or if the Jets are more motivated, they could consider sending winger Nikolaj Ehlers, who is coming off a disappointing season, to Edmonton for a package that could include a defenseman such as Darnell Nurse or Andrej Sekera and some of Edmonton’s youth that could help bolster the team’s depth.
- Allan Mitchell of the Athletic (subscription required) writes that the Oilers are in need of an inexpensive third-line center option, one that can kill penalties, suggesting the team look via the trade market to find that player. He writes that the Oilers should consider trying to pry Montreal Canadiens’ center Phillip Danault, as well as look at Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Detroit’s Luke Glendening, or Dallas’ Radek Faksa. The scribe adds that the most likely candidate that Edmonton would be able to steal away could be Pageau.
- The Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Johnston writes that the Vancouver Canucks should seriously consider trying to convince Toronto Maple Leafs unrestricted free agent Jake Gardiner to sign with them this offseason. While there have been rumors that Toronto wants to unload other contracts in hopes of keeping Gardiner in the fold, Johnston writes that Gardiner would be the perfect puck-carrying defenseman that the team hasn’t had since Alexander Edler was in his prime. However, he wonders whether the U.S.-born blue liner might prefer to avoid playing in Canada after a taking a lot of heat from Toronto fans over the years.