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The Vegas Golden Knights may be an expansion team, but they have a chance to make a few moves before the start of their first season that could help them play somewhat competitive hockey.
General manager George McPhee has a plethora of defensemen on his roster, and he may be able to move one or two of them prior to the start of the season.
The Knights recently signed free agent Nate Schmidt, and that means they have 11 defensemen under contract. That’s obviously too many, and McPhee will either have to work a trade or two or send some of his defensemen through the waiver process.
Jared Clinton of the Hockey News said that Jon Merrill, Griffin Reinhart and Brad Hunt are the defensemen most likely to go through waivers. McPhee has already traded Marc Methot, Alexei Emelin, David Schlemko and Trevor van Riemsdyk, and those were solid moves.
However, McPhee has more work to do in order to get maximum value for the players he has selected for his roster, and that means completing trades with teams that need defensemen. Those trades need to be completed as long as the Knights get reasonable value in return.
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The Detroit Red Wings are also likely to make some moves either prior to the start of the season or shortly after the puck drops in October. Even though the Red Wings did not make the playoffs last year, they are likely to be slightly over the cap at the start of the season, according MLive’s Ansar Khan.
Names like Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan and Mike Green have been mentioned in trade scenarios, but Khan believes they are more likely to waive a player or two to get under the cap.
If a trade of Green is going to come, it would be more likely to occur closer to the trade deadline if the Wings are out of playoff contention.
The Chicago Blackhawks are going to have options once the regular season starts. That’s when veteran Marian Hossa will go on long-term injured reserve, and his $5.25 million salary will no longer count against the salary cap.
Dan Rosen of NHL.com points out that Chicago general manager Stan Bowman does not have to do anything immediately because the Blackhawks have a strong roster and are once again expected to be a contending team. However, Bowman will have the option of making a trade later in the year—possibly as late as the trade deadline—because he will have the cap space needed to bring in assets that could help the team.
Patience is one of Bowman’s greatest attributes, so don’t expect him to make any early moves unless the Blackhawks get out of the gate slowly. They still have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and goalie Corey Crawford, so it would be a surprise if the Blackhawks are not in a strong playoff position early in the season.