weather icon Clear

Facing cap issues, Golden Knights’ window to win Stanley Cup is now

Updated June 25, 2019 - 9:03 pm

The window is not eight years. Not with this particular group.

It’s open at this point farther than anyone within the Golden Knights organization imagined when the franchise began play in 2017— come on, farther than anyone alive imagined — but not immeasurably.

More like two years.

William Karlsson said Tuesday that his No. 1 goal is to win a Stanley Cup with those he currently calls teammates, part of the center’s comments when speaking about the eight-year, $47.2 million contract extension he signed this week.

It’s a standard objective of all NHL players and certainly not an impractical one when it comes to the Knights and their roster, which is definitely good enough to contend.

But things change fast and windows often slam shut overnight in the world of pro sports and salary caps, all of which could be impacted by what decisions George McPhee makes in the next several weeks.

“We are going to have to make a few moves, and we have planned for that,” said McPhee, incoming president of hockey operations. “We are going through that exercise right now, and when we’re done, we’ll talk about it and explain it. … We’ll be tight this year on the cap.”

Some moves would be much easier to explain than others.

Here’s one possibility: McPhee shifts enough salary to bring the Knights in line with the $81.5 million cap for this season while keeping the team’s top six forwards together and hoping goalie Marc-Andre Fleury doesn’t show any level of serious decline at age 34.

Such a scenario could potentially deliver a Cup over the next few seasons and earn McPhee a hero’s standing in the history of Las Vegas sports. That’s the uncomplicated version of things.

This is the other version: In order to shed enough cap space — the Knights are reportedly $7.5 million over after Karlsson’s deal — the team could trade a top-six forward such as Max Pacioretty and his $7 million annual salary, signaling that those hamstrung contracts McPhee insists his team doesn’t have actually exist.

Pacioretty has been reported as one who could be moved, and the player carries the sort of cap hit that could immediately solve a chunk of those issues.

But it’s a tough one.

Pacioretty has a modified no-trade clause, and in dealing with Montreal for him and then immediately signing him to a four-year extension last season, the Knights gave up Tomas Tatar (a guy they traded three draft picks for, including a first-rounder) and a top No. 3 prospect in Nick Suzuki.

There is zero chance they would see a similar return if they traded Pacioretty, especially given his production (22 goals and 18 assists in 66 games) last season, injured at times and streaky as all heck for a forward who will be 31 in November.

They might never see a similar return.

I’m not sure any of that matters. Other teams know of the Vegas cap situation, so I can’t imagine there will be many proposed deals this summer when McPhee has the lion’s share of leverage.

It doesn’t mean you totally dismiss the idea of trading Pacioretty or another top-six forward. You do what is needed to get in line with the cap and remain as competitive as possible. Beyond what appears an obvious core — Karlsson, Fleury, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Tuch — I would imagine nobody is totally safe from trades that are obviously coming.

“We believe we’re making the right decisions on these players,” McPhee said. “It’s not easy putting a team together and keeping it together, but the (Karlsson signing) is a major step in doing that. We have a good group, and we’ll work around the edges a little bit.

“Typically, like every year, there are four to five changes on your roster. … For the most part, we want to keep this group together. They’re at the right ages. We think we have timed it well.”

They have cap issues that need solving and a fairly clear window to make a Cup run with this roster, so if he’s going to jump right through and go for it, you would think McPhee emerges from the summer with his top six forwards intact and a whole lot of hope that Fleury still can play at an elite level.

That’s the uncomplicated version of things.

Of which nobody, anywhere, ever, has used to describe a team over the salary cap.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon Gets Promoted to Golden Knight General Manager - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights have announced that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to General Manager of the team, effective September 1, 2019. Regarding his new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the NHL's General Managers Meetings and will be the point of contact for other league GMs.
Golden Knights Say an "Awful Call" Cost Them the Series - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault believe that an "awful call" by the officials cost them game 7.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 7 at T-Mobile - VIDEO
Golden Knights went through a roller coaster in game 7 which lead to the Knights loss 5-4 in overtime.
Golden Knights prepare for Game 7 in San Jose - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knigths players and the head coach talk about their mindset ahead of facing the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 on the road at the SAP Center. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' Gallant Calls DeBoer a "clown" - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant calls Sharks coach Pete DeBoer a "clown" and says his comments are a little "unclassy" for him in response to being called the master chirper for the Knights. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans father outside T-Mobile Arena waiting for game 6 against the Sharks
Golden Knights gather outside the T-Mobile Arena ready to watch game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Knights aim to close out Sharks series at home - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights players and head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about what needs to be done ahead of Game 6 at the T-Mobile Arena to clinch the series. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV’s Tony Sanchez embraces new Fertitta Football Complex

Already, the new UNLV football complex has paid off with several commitments for the 2020 recruiting class, pledges from the sorts of players who likely would have never considered the Rebels if not for such dedication to an on-campus facility.