The Vegas Golden Knights were a big name in the trade rumor mill from the time the 2019-20 season ended until now. Indeed the team did make some major moves in its quest to win a Stanley Cup in 2021. Let’s take a look.
Defense: Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Dahlstrom
Forward: Dylan Sikura
Surprisingly, this column doesn’t have as many names as you might expect. Of course, Alex Pietrangelo is front and center here. The biggest free-agent prize of 2020 will wear Vegas gold this season and instantly gives the team more defensive depth with offensive upside. Outside of Pietrangelo, however, the Golden Knights didn’t bring in a whole lot.
For the record, I don’t consider something like signing Robin Lehner to a contract extension an addition.
Defense: Nate Schmidt, Deryk Engelland
Forward: Paul Stastny, Brandon Pirri, Nick Cousins
If you didn’t know the names on this list or the one above it, you might say Vegas had a quiet off-season. A few guys in, a few guys out. But it’s the quality of those names that make the difference. The Golden Knights traded away a second-pair defenseman and the team’s second-line center to make room for Pietrangelo (and they’re not quite cap compliant yet).
Clearly, Vegas believes it has the successor to Stastny in-house already in Cody Glass. If Glass isn’t ready to make the jump this season, Chandler Stephenson will likely start in that role, and Glass could see time centering the third unit. It’s not bad either way as Vegas is extremely deep on the wings and really does have a top-nine that can do some damage.
On defense, Pietrangelo will slot in the top pairing, dropping Shea Theodore to the 3-4 duo where Schmidt was. This is actually helpful to Theodore, protecting him from top opposing matchups and offensively allowing him more freedom. On a pairing with the veteran Alec Martinez, I can see Theodore being allowed to create almost without fear knowing Martinez has his back.
While the number of moves was low, the impact will be high for Vegas. Expect plenty of eyes on this team as training camp begins for 2021.