It has been a very busy week for the Vegas Golden Knights front office and General Manager Kelly McCrimmon. And they may not be done shoring up the roster yet.
The NHL trade deadline is 12 noon Pacific Time tomorrow, Friday, March 3rd. Earlier this week, McCrimmon traded Golden Knights forward prospect Zach Dean to the St. Louis Blues for veteran forward Ivan Barbashev. That deal is intended to bring more grit and net-front presence to the lineup.
Then on Wednesday, March 1st, McCrimmon traded defenseman Peter DiLiberatore and a third round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Teddy Blueger. According to an article written by Vegas Golden Knights’ Insider Gary Lawless, Blueger is one of the best defensive centers in the league. He wins faceoffs in the defensive zone and he is an elite penalty killer. Here’s how Lawless sums up Blueger’s value: “Vegas hasn’t had a dominant defensive center of this caliber since the departure of Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare. Blueger is a young version. He retrieves pucks and stalls opposition offensive zone time.”
Today, McCrimmon finalized a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets to acquire veteran goaltender Jonathan Quick. Earlier this week, Quick was unceremoniously traded to Columbus by the Los Angeles Kings after playing 16 years for that team, winning two Stanley Cups with them, and capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy (most valuable player during the NHL Playoffs) during one of the championship runs.
The Vegas Golden Knights goaltending tandem of Logan Thompson and Adin Hill has been excellent this season, with Thompson earning a spot in the NHL All-Star Game. However, with Thompson and backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit injured, the depth at that position is getting thin. What if Hill suffered an injury heading into the stretch run and the playoffs? McCrimmon needed to add depth and playoff experience to the goaltending roster, and he gets plenty of it with Jonathan Quick.
In addition, the Golden Knights may be meeting the L.A. Kings in the playoffs. Imagine how much Quick would love to beat his former team after the way they treated him this week. He may be nearing the end of his career at 37-years-old, and he may not be as dominant as he once was, but according to another article by Gary Lawless about this trade: “Teammate Alec Martinez says he’s the most competitive player he’s ever been around. One can only imagine where the needle would get to on Quick’s compete meter if and when Vegas faces the Kings for regular and post-season games.”
Is Golden Knights’ GM Kelly McCrimmon done wheeling an dealing yet? Per Lawless’s article, he has approximately $3 million dollars in cap space left with just hours to go before the 12 noon NHL trade deadline on Friday. We’ll see what happens. It’s getting really interesting with all the moves being made by all the NHL teams this year.
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Larry Martino is the long-time Afternoon Drive personality on 96.3 KKLZ. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Larry Martino and not necessarily those of Beasley Media Group, LLC.
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