Connect with us

Vegas Golden Knights

Golden Knights Trade Smith, Extend Barbashev



Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

The Golden Knights made two big moves on Wednesday. Forward and original misfit, Reilly Smith, was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2024 third-round draft pick. Moments after the Smith trade was announced, it was announced that Ivan Barbashev was extended for five years at $5 million per year.

“Our objective has been to try to keep as much as our roster together as we can. I think we will be able to almost return our team almost intact, which is pretty uncommon for a Stanley Cup winner,” Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said from Nashville.

The remaining Golden Knights unrestricted free agents are Teddy Bluegar, Phil Kessel, Laurent Brossoit, Adin Hill, and Jonathan Quick. News broke over the weekend that a deal to extend Hill was close.

“Internally we never made it a decision about one vs. the other (Barbashev and Smith). I think what we did talk a lot about was Barbashev’s impact on our roster when we acquired him from St. Louis, his ability to fit in so seamlessly with Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault. That gave us a really good top line. We’ve been looking for a player like this for quite some time, he’s in the prime of his career,” McCrimmon said.

Even though McCrimmon said it wasn’t about Barbashev vs. Smith, it was fully Barbashev vs. Smith. Both players carry an equal salary at $5 million per. Smith is 32 years old and Barbashev is 27 years old. Two Stanley Cups for Barbashev and one Stanley Cup for Smith.

The side-by-side stats comparison favors Smith slightly. In Smith’s 12 NHL regular seasons, he’s scored 40 or more points in seven seasons. Barbashev has scored 40 or more points in two of his seven seasons. The Golden Knights would rather utilize $5 million of cap space for the player Barbashev can become vs. the player that Smith is.

There was a plan in place on Day One for Barbashev. Upon arrival, he was inserted into the top line with Eichel and Marchessault. That was the moment the Golden Knights’ playoff identity was born. The Golden Knights had finally found the right person to put alongside Eichel and Marchessault. After Barbashev was acquired, Eichel led all NHL players in playoff scoring, Marchessault won the Conn Smythe, and the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup.

Would the Golden Knights have won the Stanley Cup if Barbashev was not acquired? Can the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup without Smith on the roster?


Get VHN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

VHN on Facebook

Vegas Team & Cap Info