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Golden Knights Offseason

Bruins, Maple Leafs May Battle for Golden Knights’ Stephenson

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Chandler Stephenson, Vegas Golden Knights

There’s a line forming to bid for Chandler Stephenson’s services. That’s not good news for the Vegas Golden Knights’ hopes of retaining him at a discounted rate.

Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman has linked the Boston Bruins to Stephenson if he becomes available. They have been looking for a productive center since Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired from the NHL.

Meanwhile, David Pagnotta of Fourth Period has the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators among a growing list of teams interested in Stephenson. He has averaged 60 points a season for the past  three seasons.

Stephenson’s representative  is expected to talk to Golden Knights soon about what he would need to stay with the Golden Knights.

AFP Analytics is projecting Stephenson, 30, could get a five-year deal worth $5.6 million per season on the open market. If he has several suitors bidding aggressively, he could reach $6-plus million.

All of that is problematic for Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon.  He officially has about $900,000 in cap space for next season with 20 players signed. However, he expects to have an additional $5 million from Robin Lehner having one more season on Long-Term Injured Reserve.

Don’t forget he has Jonathan Marchessault also unsigned and he can probably get $6 million on the open market.

With his current cap space, McCrimmon may not be able to sign either one of them. He could look at trading some players.

NHL teams are allowed to have a 10% overage on their cap during that offseason. That would allow them to sign Marchessault and Stephenson and then work on making them fit over the summer.

The Golden Knights appear to have no chance to re-sign Anthony Mantha, Alec Martinez, William Carrier and Michael Amadio.