Well! The first article of the Top Five Players the Vegas Golden Knights Should Not Trade For was so popular, I’ve decided to do a sequel with three more names to avoid at the NHL trade deadline.
Already we’ve seen a few names on the move as the New York Islanders have fired the first real shots by acquiring Kyle Plamieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils. It looks like the Florida Panthers are making more room under the cap in a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks this week. So I expect more out of the Panthers this weekend.
That said, the Golden Knights are in a place where they could stand pat, and they could make moves to try and spark a team that’s in the doldrums offensively right now. If VGK GM Kelly McCrimmon does decide to make moves, here are three more players I’d want to avoid.
Mike Hoffman – St. Louis Blues
Hoffman is the best pure goal scorer out there but it’s clear his time in St. Louis is at an end. A healthy scratch for the Blues, for whatever reason it just hasn’t worked out on a team that really does need goal scoring. I’m convinced the Golden Knights need more scoring too, but I’m out on Hoffman.
Remember that Hoffman was left out there this off-season for a pretty long time. Certainly, a one-year deal was not preferable but a few players had to settle for just that in a cap-strapped world, like Taylor Hall with the Buffalo Sabres.
What is more telling to me is that the Florida Panthers knew what his production was and still wanted to move on – and they got better once they did. The most talented players are not always the best teammates, and I’m not saying Hoffman is a bad egg. But it’s telling to see more of what happened in Florida this year than anything that has transpired with the Blues.
Nicklas Hjalmarsson – Arizona Coyotes
This is a tough guy to put on this list for me, because I think Hjalmarsson has been one of the more underrated defensemen in the game for ten years. But there are a lot of hard miles on his body from blocking shots and playing hard. He’s struggled to stay healthy this year (and isn’t right now). His game is what helps you win playoff series and he’s got three Stanely Cup rings to boot. I’d love it if he were healthy, but trading for an older player who plays the game hard and is now getting into the injury-susceptible portion of a career worries me too much. It would be like having another Alec Martinez and I’d absolutely love that. But I can’t trust Hjalmarsson’s health.
Ryan Dzingel – Ottaway Senators
When I look at Dzingel, his speed is tantalizing. Especially on a team like Vegas that plays with plenty of pace and could use that speed on the forecheck, he seems like a player that could flourish with the Golden Knights. His offensive numbers aren’t great but aren’t bad, especially on a team that has struggled like the Senators.
My problem with Dzingel is that he’s not a better piece than what’s already on the roster. His point production doesn’t fulfill my need for more scoring in the lineup unless you feel comfortable gambling that with a stronger supporting cast around him he ups that number. Vegas also has shown problems getting pucks in and recovering them, which the more I watch seems to be a systematic issue. Teams are simply ready for what Vegas is doing and if it does go to a 50-50 puck on the wall, the Golden Knights aren’t doing a great job coming out with those on a consistent basis.
I’d rather see a player added who may have the speed component but definitely brings more of an edge to his game and is willing to battle hard on the wall. Those players don’t grow on trees but sometimes you have to make big sacrifices to win.
Let us know in the comments who you think is on your list, or which one of the eight players I’ve mentioned so far that you’d trade for in a heartbeat.