With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching on Monday at 3 pm ET, there are a lot of names being thrown around the trade rumor mill. The Vegas Golden Knights are in a nice position with a very good team, but could always stand to improve if the offer is right. That said, here are the Top Five Players the VGK should avoid at all costs.
He’s being held out of games this week and it’s no secret his time in Buffalo is at an end. Anyone who acquires Hall is landing an expensive albatross (even if Buffalo retains half his salary) with two goals in 37 games this year. Please don’t sit here and tell me Hall is on a bad Sabres team. Hall has become a player who bounces around despite his talent and at age 29 is approaching journeyman status. His next team will be the fifth of his career and fourth in the last two seasons. While I can appreciate the pressure associated with being a top overall pick, Hall has never led any of his clubs anywhere in the playoffs (if they even got there).
Another thing that’s easy to see about Hall is how perimeter his game is. I’ve spent some time watching him this year, and he doesn’t appear to have an appetite to take the puck into traffic. This is a very important point for the Vegas Golden Knights who when held to the perimeter themselves all but disappear from the scoresheet. Adding Hall doesn’t give them more jam or drive to the front of the net. If anything, it’s one more guy to wait for the puck to find him on the wall and that’s not winning hockey.
Kessel is quietly having himself a really nice offensive year. In 39 games he’s at 15-13-28, a nice balanced total that has almost already surpassed his entire output from last season. Kessel is a shooter, a guy who is not afraid to unload the puck. He also might have a Top-10 set of NHL hands and is underrated in that department. Yet I’m not looking to add him to the VGK.
One thing that has followed Kessel around is his inability to blend in at times. Most recently there was much made of his lack of relationship with Sidney Crosby while with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In Arizona, he’s been mostly quiet but that’s also on a team that is largely forgotten in the NHL landscape. He’s a reason why the Coyotes are where they are, but I worry about bringing him into what is a pretty good locker room environment right now with the Vegas Golden Knights.
This one hurts because I really like Laine when he’s going. What’s not to like? Thirty-plus goals his first three seasons, 44 his sophomore year. A pure scorer who lit it up on a world stage at the WJC as well.
But now Laine has been labeled a malcontent, shipped out of Winnipeg along with fellow pouter Jack Roslovic. The Columbus Blue Jackets rolled the dice and dealt their own curmudgeon Pierre-Luc DuBois to the Jets and ended up with both Roslovic and Laine. For a time, Roslovic appeared to be the better deal as at least he produced at first. But Laine has been terrible, hasn’t scored since March 11th (a power-play goal) and hasn’t scored at even strength since February 23. CBJ head coach John Tortorella has tried his usual motivational tactics of benching and calling him out to no effect. Laine is a bust in Columbus and the Blue Jackets are likely looking to move on.
It’s a shame. Laine’s potential is massive. He’s already shown some of it in his first three years. But at this point, I can’t justify the risk of bringing in a player who could destroy a team with his attitude.
Nope. No way. Hard pass. DeAngelo is a very talented offensive defenseman who had a career year and parlayed it into a nice deal over the off-season. Unfortunately, his off-ice issues got in the way.
DeAngelo is a guy I’ve seen up close and personal in the Coyotes system. First of all, if Arizona gets rid of you that says something. Second, with DeAngelo it’s all offense and no defense. While his rushing style would fit the VGK’s attacking mode, his lack of attention to his own end would be frustrating at best. He’s also prone to taking a bad or lazy penalty because he wasn’t hustling in the first place.
Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo are two really solid defensemen with great offensive instincts. Even if DeAngelo costs a ham sandwich and a bag of pucks, I’m out.
Now you probably think I’ve gone way off the deep end here. Why wouldn’t you want Ekholm? He is solid in his own end, likely has more offensive upside, and flies so far under the radar even in Nashville that going anywhere else would probably be an improvement.
This one has nothing to do with the player, and everything to do with the cost. Getting Ekholm out of Nashville, especially now that they believe they’re buyers again, would be absurd. Nashville would have to find a way to replace his minutes and would probably want a player and a pick at this point. When I look at the Golden Knights defense, I’m more interested in shoring up the 5-6 pair with a guy who could slide up in case of injury. I think adding Ekholm for the cost wouldn’t be worth it for the VGK, and anyone who does manage to pry him away from David Poile will pay a king’s ransom to do so.
What do you think? Which players should the Vegas Golden Knights not touch with a ten-foot hockey stick? Let us know in the comments. Also don’t miss our new NHL trade deadline series “Why Not?” taking a look at players who might help the VGK in pursuit of the team’s first Stanley Cup.