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Golden Knights Free Agency

Help At Wing: What About Evan Rodrigues?

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Evan Rodrigues Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Free Agent Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

The recent news involving Robin Lehner has distracted me from talking about one final player I want to mention as a possible option for the Vegas Golden Knights. We have already talked about both Phil Kessel and Sonny Milano; now, let’s turn our attention toward Evan Rodrigues.

With the Golden Knights still being in desperate need of wingers and the similarities between Milano and Rodrigues being high, I won’t bother repeating myself here with some of the pros of signing E-Rod.

Like Milano and even Kessel, Rodrigues is a young winger who can score, perform on the powerplay, and will likely not cost much to sign. With that out of the way, let’s see what separates him from the pack.

Evan Rodrigues

Evan Rodrigues is an undrafted 29-year-old right-shot Canadian forward who can play all three forward positions. He is coming off a 19-goal, 24-assist season with the Pittsburgh Penguins for 43 points in 82 games. This makes him the fourth-highest point producer out of the remaining NHL free agents.

PROS

Eichel

Rodrigues attended the University of Boston for four years and was a key member of BU’s Hockey East 2015 Championship. One of his teammates is someone you might have heard of, and that’s Jack Eichel.

Eichel and Rodrigues worked well together at BU, and after Eichel entered the league, the Sabres gave the undrafted Rodrigues a chance to do it again. At the NHL level, the duo was far less successful, and Rodrigues was traded to the Penguins. But he has carved out a nice career for himself since then.

Center

Another upside that is unique to Rodrigues is his ability to play center. The Golden Knight’s center depth is strong, but their winger depth might cause someone like Chandler Stephenson or Nicolas Roy to move over to the wing. If needed, Rodrigues can play center, which is an added benefit to signing him.

Similar Upsides

Again like Milano, Rodrigues adds scoring to the Golden Knights, depth on the powerplay is young, and will likely be signed to a cheap contract given how long he has sat in NHL free agency.

CONS

Consistency

Again, a big reason why guys like Milano, Kessel, and Rodrigues are not signed is due to their inconsistency when scoring at the NHL level. Rodrigues set a career-high in points with the Penguins last season but did so with multiple scoring droughts. He had two eight-game scoreless streaks.

Still A Contract

The argument that any additional contract is a bad contract to the Golden Knights still applies here as it did with Milano and Kessel. However, recent developments with Lehner have freed up $5 million in cap space for the Golden Knights this upcoming season, which they could use to buy a winger or goalie.

VHN’s Offer: 1 year, $1 million

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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