After a brief and rare holiday, it’s time to get back in the swing of things in this most unusual of off-seasons. Typically, we’d be underway with a whole new NHL season and all sorts of new opportunities.
But with the Stanley Cup just rewarded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the NHL’s free agency period just a few days old, things are decidedly unique.
That goes for the Vegas Golden Knights, who’re coming off an impressive playoff run and making a run of a different kind by signing the hottest free agent out there. The Golden Knights placed their bet for next season by inking defenceman Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year deal worth $8.8 million a year.
You could say a lot of things about this deal and it seems pretty obvious that Vegas will be ponying up some serious green for the latter half of Pietrangelo’s career in his late 30s – not exactly the glory years.
But Vegas wants to win and they want to win now. They’ve proven their mettle with relative success in the post-season thus far and Pietrangelo will allow them to push the proverbial envelop a little further next time, whenever that might be.
In order to snag Pietrangelo, the Golden Knights had to drop Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks. They only got a third-rounder in return, but it was all about the cash.
Other players were rolling through the rumour mill just a few days ago, in fact, but most recently Marc-Andre Fleury was taken off the block. That sticks Vegas with a tandem of Robin Lehner and Fleury, which may or may not light up Allan Walsh’s Twitter feed again with all manner of sword memes.
Vegas traded Paul Stastny back to the Winnipeg Jets for defenceman Carl Dahlstrom, a deal that will help the Jets replace Bryan Little at centre for the next season.
As far as the Golden Knights go, you could argue that the club overpaid and you could suggest Vegas is a little stuck with a pricey and potentially problematic goalie tandem. But this is all by design, as general manager Kelly McCrimmon has his eyes on the prize and is all-in on hoisting that Stanley Cup as soon as possible.
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