For the second time this week, general manager Kelly McCrimmon put the kibosh on any more potential big trades involving the Golden Knights.
McCrimmon said Friday he doesn’t expect to make any more additions to the roster, signaling little to no interest in acquiring all-star center Jack Eichel from Buffalo. He made a similar statement Wednesday after the opening of free agency.
“Where we are now, I would say we’re going to go into training camp with this roster,” McCrimmon said. “I think what you’re going to see across the NHL is it’ll get pretty quiet probably for the month of August and even maybe the first week of September. You can’t say there won’t be a move. … But what I was trying to speak to was there wouldn’t be more players coming in.”
The Knights made a series of trades this week, none bigger than Tuesday’s deal that sent goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to Chicago. Defenseman Nick Holden was moved to Ottawa for forward Evgenii Dadonov on Wednesday, and popular forward Ryan Reaves went to the New York Rangers on Thursday.
But they appear to have dropped out of the Eichel sweepstakes for the time being and are content to go into next season with Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson, Nolan Patrick, Nicolas Roy and Brett Howden at center.
McCrimmon also was effusive in his praise for forward Peyton Krebs, the team’s first-round pick in 2019, who could work his way into the mix.
Patrick and defenseman Dylan Coghlanare restricted free agents and in need of new contracts. That’s the next order of business for McCrimmon.
Once those deals get done, the Knights will be salary cap compliant with Alex Tuch on long-term injured reserve following shoulder surgery that is expected to sideline him for six months.
“We’ve got real good options in terms of guys that can come up and play real well at the NHL level,” McCrimmon said. “These are all objectives that you have in the offseason as you try to hand your team over to the coaches for training camp. I believe we’re in a pretty good spot, which is where we want to be, and that’s no disrespect to the people that are moving on.”
Locker room chemistry
In the span of three days, the Knights shipped out three of their most popular players and locker room characters.
Fleury is famous for his upbeat nature and practical jokes, while Reaves was one of the loudest figures on the bench. Holden was a founding member of the “Fun Committee” during the postseason bubble in 2020.
McCrimmon bristled at the assertion that the current leadership group led by captain Mark Stone was missing someone to keep the team loose.
“I believe very strongly in the players that we have in our dressing room, the experience, the leadership, the professionalism, the determination, the willingness to win,” McCrimmon said. “All of those things we’ve got in spades. Are we going to miss those attributes from those players? Yes we are. I think the world of all three of those players. But I do think that we’re going to be able to move forward with a real good hockey team.”
No staff changes
McCrimmon confirmed the Knights coaching staff will remain intact.
Assistant Steve Spott, who came under fire for the team’s struggling power play, will return for his third season. Ryan Craig and Ryan McGill will each enter their fifth season with the team.
Remaining Golden Misfits