George Mcphee is already up to his neck in salaries. But don’t worry Vegas Fans there is a plan. As stated before, Mcphee was using his unique cap friendly ‘blank sheet’ in order to shoulder larger contracts in order to leverage young prospects and picks. As of now Las Vegas holds 3 picks in the top 15 this year in the draft, and about half a dozen highly touted prospects.
While Vegas may currently be in the older percentage of teams , ranked 13th from oldest in the league
This likely will not be a permenant position, as Vegas will likely shed a few of these contracts over the summer, and free up a few dollars for the young skilled players coming up their pipeline.
In terms of contracts, they have a number of veterans that carry a large premium to begin the season. That being said, a player like James Neal, or a Marc Methot could warrant a first round pick from a contender playoff team looking to increase their depth at Trade Deadline.
Expect Vegas to continually shed salaries over the summer and regular season, culminating at several moves over the Deadline Period.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the only team with a larger Cap Hit in the NHL than Vegas. The New York Islanders possess the third highest Cap Hit after acquiring a 6 million dollar contract in Jordan Eberle. As analyzed in this article, this is a huge move for the former fringe playoff franchise.
Another significant factor in the Golden Knights huge budget, is their acquisition of David Clarkson and Mikhail Grabovski (from Columbus and the Islanders respectively) as both will be placed on the Long Term IR.
Combined they earn $10,250,000 in the NHL while not filling up a roster spot. This accounts for nearly 15% of their rosters cap space for this season.
Other standouts in their budget are former Penguin Marc Andre Fleury, James Neal, Rielly Smith, and Marc Methot. As of now I’d expect both Neal and Methot to have a short tenure with the Golden Knights as demand for both players would be high. Fleury earns 5.75 Million per year, with Neal and Smith earning 5 Million Per Year. Methot earns slightly less with 4.9 Million.
These players account for almost 30% of the Golden Knights fresh budget.
Long term Vegas will not be on the hook for a number of contracts after this season. Garrison, Emelin, Sbisa, Stoner and Mcnabb, will all be UFA’s at the end of this season. Emelin and Garrison are older pieces on the team and are unlikely to be long term members of the franchise.
These players total to over 20 Million Dollars alone, and will not all be resigned after their contracts expire. They could also qualify as a few players that could be traded prior to the Deadline.
Don’t expect the Golden Knights to be as expensive as they are currently. Building a core of youth, along with a plethora of draft picks means that the Golden Knights will be extremely active this season. Trading expensive veterans to contending teams in order to leverage future talent with likely be the game plan from here on out.
As of now Vegas will continue to operate at over $70,000,000 per year.