Golden Knights aren’t at top of class with offseason moves

Updated July 28, 2018 - 7:49 pm

The Golden Knights’ inaugural season saw the NHL franchise ace every test, quiz and assignment with unexpected ease.

Summer school has been far more of a grind.

General manager George McPhee’s first true offseason in Las Vegas failed to yield the type of acquisition that could send shock waves through the Western Conference despite an enviable amount of cap space.

While there were rumors they would make a big push to win the heart of prized free agent John Tavares, the Knights barely made it through the first rose ceremony.

Then again, the young roster McPhee assembled was already good enough to hang a conference championship banner inside T-Mobile Arena, so perhaps not much needed to be done.

“We have them at the same odds now (10-1 to win the 2019 Stanley Cup) as we did when we first put the futures up during the playoffs,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “We didn’t make any changes, because we think it’s been pretty static.”

Only the Tampa Bay Lightning (7-1) and Toronto Maple Leafs (8-1), who signed Tavares, have shorter odds. Evan Sporer of Sporting News has the Knights No. 8 in his updated power ratings.

The losses of forwards James Neal and David Perron and defenseman Luca Sbisa sting, particularly from an emotional standpoint. Adding productive center Paul Stastny, 32, eases some of that pain.

Otherwise, the classroom seating chart will look largely the same when sophomore year officially begins in October, even if some of the students might be dressed a little nicer thanks to the extra cash they picked up.

Physical forward Ryan Reaves got a somewhat unexpected new deal to stay with the Knights, as did restricted free agents Tomas Nosek and Colin Miller. William Karlsson and Shea Theodore are in line for potentially significant raises in the coming days, with Karlsson scheduled for an arbitration hearing Saturday if a new deal isn’t reached.

Then there was the three-year, $21 million contract extension given to 33-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury that will make him one of the highest-paid goaltenders deep into his 30s.

“That Fleury extension has potential to look terrible,” wrote CBS’s Pete Blackburn in giving the Knights a C+ for their offseason. “He’ll be 35 years old when it kicks in, and he projects to be the third-highest-paid goalie in the league at that point. That’s putting a lot of faith in an aging goalie with a career save percentage of .913.”

Blackburn wasn’t alone in his harsh critique among national media grading the Knights’ moves.

Matt Porter of the Boston Globe was baffled by the money given to Reaves, as he listed the Knights in the middle of the pack among teams that were “reading the green” as opposed to nailing a birdie putt or trying to get out of the bunker.

“(They paid) $2.775 million for a player who contributes little else but body checks,” Porter wrote.

ESPN personality Linda Cohn, who wasn’t shy about expressing her affinity for the Knights last season, called the terms of the Fleury deal “dicey” before pointing out if there’s any player worth gambling on, it’s him.

“I was even more surprised by the Paul Stastny deal,” she said. “The guy’s not a youngster. He better come in ready to go. He’s a quality player with a lot to give, but he’s holding an important role. The Vegas Golden Knights expect huge things out of him even at his age, so he’s one of the guys I’m watching. He’s in my top 10 of players to watch in new places because I want to see how he adapts to this team.”

Of course, the offseason grades still are incomplete. The Knights have a chance to earn a massive amount of extra credit if they win the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes. Of course, to land the star defenseman from the Ottawa Senators, they’ll have to give up a lot.

Sherman said that’s the kind of acquisition that could lower the odds on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup title.

Cohn agrees.

“You’ve got to get Erik Karlsson,” she said. “Make the splash there. I like Erik Karlsson as a Vegas Golden Knight with the speed and that hair flowing, he’s young, great on the power play. He does it all. He’s right there with (the Los Angeles Kings’) Drew Doughty as the best in the league.”

That could totally throw off the curve.

More Golden Knights: Follow Golden Knights coverage at and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Knights In Flames After Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights fall to 7-2 to the Calgary Flames. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights loss before heading to Arizona to play against the Coyotes.
Golden Knights Forward Reilly Smith On 7-2 Loss
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith talks to media about loss to the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after their 7-2 loss against Calgary.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Have Stellar Second Period Against Oilers
Golden Knights have stellar second period against the Edmonton Oilers on the road. Review-Journal sports writers Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney break down the Knights 6-3 win over the Oilers.
Golden Knights Assistant Coach On Win In Edmonton
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt On Win Against Oilers
Knights coach welcomes Schmidt back to lineup
Coach Gerard Gallant looks for contributions from Nate Schmidt as the defenseman returns to the Golden Knights lineup to start a road trip at Edmonton.
Nate Schmidt talks about his return after the morning skate
Nate Schmidt, returning to the Golden Knights lineup after serving a 20-game suspension, talks about his return after Sunday's morning skate. (Ed Graney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Knights Singing The Blues After Loss To St. Louis
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen and Adam Hill go over the Knights loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Golden Knights Gallant on the team's 4-1 loss to the Blues
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues and says what kind of impact he expects Nate Schmidt to make upon his return.
Coach Gerard Gallant Speaks After Morning Skate
Before playing the St. Louis Blues tonight Gerard Gallant speaks with the media after the Golden Knights morning skate at City National Arena | November 16, 2018.
Coach Gallant Speaks with the Media After Practice
City National Arena | November 15, 2018.
Golden Edge: Fleury Shuts Out Anaheim
Vegas Golden Knights beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. Marc-Andre Fleury gets his third shutout on the season in his shiny new pads. Adam Hill, Dave Schoen, and Ben Gotz report from T-Mobile Arena.
Gallant on the Golden Knights win over the Ducks
Gerard Gallant discusses how key the home victory over the Anaheim Ducks was for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Knights after their 5-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks
Vegas Golden Knights players talk about the 5-0 win on their home ice over the Anaheim Ducks.
Gerard Gallant On Haula And Stastny Status
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallants speaks after practice about the status of Erik Haula and Paul Stastny.
Golden Edge: Alex Tuch Interview
Adam Hill and Ben Gotz interview Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch.
Golden Edge Mailbag With Alex Tuch
Golden Knights' Alex Tuch is LIVE in-studio for our VGK Mailbag with reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill!
Golden Edge: November 12 Practice
Ben Gotz and David Schoen discuss Nate Schmidt's return to practice, Gallant's absence, and Erik Haula's injury.
Nate Schmidt On Suspension
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt talks about his suspension.
Golden Edge: Knights Coming Home After Loss To Boston
Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen goes over the Knights loss to the Boston Bruins.
Golden Edge: Pacioretty makes his return to Montreal
Max Pacioretty makes his return to Montreal, but it is former Golden Knight Tomas Tatar who scores the game winner for the Canadiens defeating the Knights 5-4. David Schoen reports from Montreal.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Senators On The Road
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights win against the Senators.
Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt discusses his suspension
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt discusses his suspension after practice in Ottawa (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Toronto loss
Gallant on Pacioretty
Gallant on how season has gone
Pacioretty on possible return
Golden Edge: Knights Shutout the Hurricanes
The Golden Knights defeat Carolina 3-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury marking his 50th career shutout. Adam Hill and Ed Graney report from T-Mobile Arena.
Marc-Andre Fleury and William Carrier on the Knights Win Over Carolina
November 3, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena.
Coach Gallant Presser
Gerard Gallant speaks after the Knights defeat Carolina 3-0 at T-Mobile Arena November 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Knights Feeling Blue After Loss In St. Louis
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Gallant and Marchessault on Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault comment on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marchessault on Perron
Gallant on consistency after a loss to the Nashville Predators
Coach Gerard Gallant says the Golden Knights are playing well in stretches, but consistency has been a problem. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fleury on commercial
Marc-Andre Fleury talks about a commercial that features him in disguise as Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like