The Vegas Golden Knights have six unrestricted free agents and three restricted free agents that decisions will need to be made on. Unrestricted free agents hit the open market Saturday, July 1, at 9 a.m. Pacific.
It is rare for a deal not to get worked out with a restricted free agent. Another team has the right to make an offer to a restricted free agent and the current team can match that offer. Teams making offers on restricted free agents is kind of like counting cards in Vegas; it’s not illegal, but it’s highly frowned upon. It took the Golden Knights an extended period of time to get a deal in place for restricted free agent Nicolas Hague prior to the start of the 2022-23 season.
The Golden Knights are set to enter the free agency period with between $3.4 million and $8.4 million to work with. The health and contract status of Robin Lehner plays a big part in how much money the Golden Knights have to work with.
Notable unrestricted free agents and the importance level of re-signing them
Ivan Barbashev; on one hand we have a player who scored 60 points in the regular season just once in his career. On the other hand, we have the missing link to the Jack Eichel / Jonathan Marchessault line and a two-time Stanley Cup winner.
Barbashev is the priority of the Golden Knights unrestricted free agents, but will the market be too high? The Golden Knights have internal options ready in the likely event Barbashev can’t be re-signed. It’s extremally important for the Golden Knights to bring back Barbashev, but not if it is going to chew up a cap hit of $4 million per year or greater.
Adin Hill; similar to Barbashev, there are two opposites to consider as the free agency period opens. On one hand, we have a career backup goalie who has never started over 27 regular season games in a season. On the other hand, Adin Hill had a brilliant postseason for the Golden Knights and became a legend. Hill should not be a top priority to re-sign, not at the estimated market value of a $4 million cap hit at least. The Golden Knights can get another Adin Hill via free agency. Logan Thompson figures to be the starter for the 2023-24 season. The Golden Knights shouldn’t pay Hill $4 million to back up or split the net.
Laurent Brossoit; a healthy Brossoit would be great to have. Health issues have limited Broissoit to just 35 regular-season starts over the past two seasons for the Golden Knights. There is too much uncertainty surrounding Brossoit and it will be better to explore other options via free agency.
Restricted free agents
It might be interesting to see if Dorofeyev can take on an expanded role for the 2023-24 season. There’s a possibility that Dorofeyev can slot into the top line if Barbashev is not re-signed.
Howden is a modern day misfit as he’s on his third team in three years. He brings a nice blend of physicality and skill that slots him well in the bottom six forwards.
Pachal has logged 12 regular-season and one playoff game for the Golden Knights in the past years. He is developing well with the Henderson Silver Knights and could earn an expanded role with the Golden Knights in the coming years.
General Manager Kelly McCrimmon has done a great job at bringing in the right players who fill specific voids while bringing a positive element to the locker room.