After losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the 3rd round of the playoffs, the Vegas Golden Knights have some major decisions to make in the offseason before free agency because they really need to address some weaknesses on the team.
Heading into the offseason, the Vegas Golden Knights have a little over 6 million in cap space to spend in free agency, so they will need to make some moves to free up some cap space.
Before the Draft, Vegas need to trade one of their starting goalies.
The most logical thing to do is to trade Marc-Andre Fleury because he is the more established goalie and is coming off a Vezina Caliber year. Fleury's value has never been higher and if they don't trade him now, his value could drop off a cliff next year, so it is best to trade him before his play starts to decline.
Vegas Golden Knights make a 3 team trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers.
The Toronto Maple Leafs get Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Chiasson (who is a pending UFA),
Edmonton Oilers get Fredrik Andersen and Tomas Nosek (both pending UFAs)
Vegas Golden Knights get Timothy Liljegren, Travis Dermott, Alex Galchenyuk, Mike Smith, Kyle Turris, 2nd round pick '21 (from TOR).
This trade has a lot of parts but most importantly are the two goalies involved in the trade: Marc-Andre Fleury (Traded to Toronto) and Fredrik Andersen (Traded to Edmonton). Vegas gets a top Defensive prospect in Timothy Liljegren, Travis Dermott, Alex Galchenyuk, Mike Smith (to back up Robin Lehner), Kyle Turris, and a 2nd round pick.
Overall, this trade helps out all parties involved and addresses the immediate issues on all three teams.
Vegas makes another trade before the draft:
Vegas Golden Knights trade Brayden McNabb, Mattias Janmark, Kyle Turris to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Emil Benstrom, 3rd round pick '21, 6th round pick '22.
This is a cap dump for the Golden Knights, and they get a nice young winger in Emil Benstrom as well as a few draft picks.
69-Ethan Del Mastro
The Vegas Golden Knights drafted three reliable two-way forwards with the additions of Svechkov, Roulette, and Duke. Del Mastro as muscle on the Back end of Vegas and Gaudreau adds depth in goal for Vegas.
After the Draft, the Golden Knights make a minor trade:
Ryan Reaves is traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for 5th round pick '22.
The Flyers add more muscle on their fourth line, while Golden Knights free up some cap space.
After the trades made, the Golden Knights have 18.08 million in cap space left.
Alec Martinez is one player who needs to be re-signed; Martinez is a cagey veteran defenseman with Cup experience, so he is a player who must be re-signed.
Alec Martinez is re-signed to a 5 yr deal worth 5 million per season.
Mike Smith should be brought back for one year to back up Robin Lehner; Smith had a great year with the Edmonton Oilers last season, he should okay playing 25-30 games next season.
Mike Smith is re-signed to a 1 yr deal worth 1.5 million.
Travis Dermott also needs to be re-signed, he was used as a depth defenseman in Toronto, he could see a greater role with Vegas.
Travis Dermott is re-signed to a 2 yr deal worth 1.5 million per season.
After re-signed Martinez and Smith, the Golden Knights have 11.58 million left in cap space to spend in free agency.
Vegas Golden Knights need a top-line center between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone; Chandler Stephenson did a good job this season, in the postseason it wasn't enough to get them to the Finals.
Vegas Golden Knights sign Philip Danault to a 7-year deal worth 5.75 million per season.
Danault is the perfect center to play with Stone and Pacioretty and is a better defensive center than Stephenson. By signing Danault, it pushes Stephenson to the third line with Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch, this gives the Golden Knights more depth in the lineup.
This is how the Vegas Golden Knights look like in the 2021-22 season:
2021-22 Vegas Golden Knights
Top prospects: C.Glass, N.Hague
The Vegas Golden Knights used the cap space freed up from the trades to sign Philip Danault and also retooled their defense a bit; this allows Vegas to be a contender for the Stanley Cup once again next season.