Come July 1st many pending free agents will be in need of a contract. This comes in the wake of the many movements of contracts and assets around the league.
The influx of trades prior to July first is unprecedented, as the expansion made teams wary to deal assets. Many owners were apprehensive to make trades unless it benefitted their expansion outlook going forward. Now that the draft has passed, owners are aware of the assets they possess. Expect further dealings to commence, as teams have become more concrete.
As it currently stands, Vegas has been holding the cards. That will no longer be the case come July 1st. George Mcphee has a limited window in which his players will fulfill the needs of teams and serve his own purposes. As stated in several articles, the Golden Knights have yet to play a game and are already nearing cap trouble. While this won’t be a long term problem (as many contracts they possess will be diverted to long term IR spots, or simply won’t be renewed come their expiration) but the Golden Knights are losing leverage by the day.
When July 1st arrives, teams will begin to renew players and lose cap space. The teams Mcphee is likely going to be dealing to are likely contenders, or fringe playoff teams. These players like Methot, Emelin, and Sbisa are players who have been rumored to be on the block. Their cap hits (4.9, 4.1 and 3.6) make their potential landing spots limited. Methot also has a ‘no trade list’ assembled in his contract which further complicates potential transactions.
Pierre Lebrun has been active on Twitter the past few days spouting similar notions on Vegas’s limited leverage window
‘From talking to some teams, they know full well that VGK can’t bring all those players to Camp. Pressure is on to flip those guys ASAP…’
The fact that owners and GM’s alike know what Mcphee wants to do with his older core, means Mcphee is losing his window. The pressure for owners to buy is being replaced by Mcphee’s pressure to sell. Frankly I think teams would be relishing at the opportunity for Mcphee to be calling them about losing contracts as opposed to vice versa, ala the Expansion Draft
This season the Vegas Golden Knights also needs to award contracts to young guns like Nate Schmidt, Griffin Reinhart, and standout Oscar Lindbergh, limiting his cap space further. AT MINIMUM, he will end up paying these players 5 Million in total between the three players. An average of 1.6 Million per season is not unreasonable at all. Unless some witchcraft of bridge deals arises, but I don’t see that happening. This subsequent influx of contracts means that Vegas will be on the brink of the cap ceiling, similar to Chicago.
In terms of UFA’s this season, Chris Thorburn (age 34) will need a contract. I don’t believe he will be resigned by Vegas, simply for cap purposes. Berube (age 25) will also need a contract as well. As the third goaltender in the Vegas system, expect him to receive a similar contract as Pickard. He likely will receive around 1 Million and have 2 way capabilities.
As it stands, the Golden Knights have a cap hit at $71,200,833, leaving just over 3 million dollars of leeway. As a team not expected to even smell a playoff spot this is way too much money to spend, and some short term assets must be flipped for future prospects and cap room. Keep in mind, Vegas has a tonne of young talent on the way, and they need the room to spend to keep these players.
As Free Agent Frency approaches, we will get a more definitive version of the team that will step out onto the T Mobile Arena ice this October.