The NHL trade deadline has come and gone for the 2021 season, and the Vegas Golden Knights added forward depth in the form of Mattias Janmark from the Chicago Blackhawks and minor league defenseman Nick DeSimone. Vegas Hockey Now breaks down the move and what it means to the VGK going forward.
For those seeking a major splash from GM Kelly McCrimmon at the trade deadline, this wasn’t your year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the top teams didn’t reach for a big name or take a flyer on a player who could make a major impact, instead choosing to focus on making themselves better where they could without giving up too much.
In addition, consideration has to be given to the salary cap situation of the Vegas Golden Knights. The team really did not have room to make a deal if there wasn’t a third team in the transaction which would retain even more salary after the first team. In this case, the San Jose Sharks became the intermediary in the deal and earned a 5th round pick in 2022 from the VGK in exchange for helping reduce the salary burden of acquiring Janmark.
Cap gymnastics actually drove a lot of decisions across the league this season, as many teams that could or would look to make a move instead stayed on the sidelines, unable to make the math work. So that definitely limited the action this year.
As far as the actual player, Janmark is a solid pickup for the Golden Knights. He’s listed as a center but Pete DeBoer will likely put him on the wing to start. He comes in at an important time when both Ryan Reaves and Keegan Kolesar are battling injuries and the VGK have shuffled the bottom six. Janmark is a guy who can play with some jam which is perfect in that role. He also brings energy and as a natural center perhaps a bit more defensive responsibility even when on the wing.
This isn’t a move that lights the league on fire, but it does shore up a very good hockey team with one more NHL-caliber forward for the playoff push. Colorado is really the benchmark for Vegas, and vice versa. Barring upset these two teams will be battling it out to get to the final four in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Overall Trade Deadline Grade: B-
Keep in mind, C is average for me. By making a depth acquisition GM Kelly McCrimmon did make the Golden Knights a slightly better team without giving up tangible assets. My concerns about the Vegas Golden Knights lack of secondary and power play scoring weren’t really answered at the deadline. I still think the team might need one more roster shift in the off-season, but as assembled the Golden Knights are better today than they were prior to the trade and that’s what matters most.
The real question will be was it enough? We will have our answer in the playoffs.