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Las Vegas–With the summer hiatus for the Vegas Golden Knights in full swing, business decisions within the organization continue in how they can make their roster better for year 2.
With the Golden Knights experiencing their first ever offseason in club history and being eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals this gives them the opportunity to regroup after the loss.
One the things that was pretty apparent in the finals is that the Golden Knights were beat by the better team in the Capitals who were slightly deeper than they were particularly on the wing.
In the five game series, Washington’s wingers made their contributions felt in a way that the Golden Knights wingers just could not counter.
Capital Wingers (RW and LW)
Alexander Ovechkin: 3 goals and 2 assists
Devante Smith-Pelly: 3 goals
Tom Wilson: 2 goals and 1 assist
Brett Connolly: 2 goals and 1 assist
T.J. Oshie: 1 goal and 5 assists
Jakub Vrana: 1 goal and 1 assist
Andre Burakovsky: 4 assists
Jay Beagle: 2 assists
Golden Knights Wingers (RW and LW)
Reilly Smith: 3 goals and 3 assists
James Neal: 2 goals
David Perron: 1 goal and 1 assist
Ryan Reaves: 1 goal
Erik Haula: 2 assists
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: 2 assists
Alex Tuch: 1 assist
With the offensive comparison between the to two clubs in the finals very evident, the Capitals wingers outperformed the Golden Knights wingers in both the goal and assist departments.
Going forward for Vegas, this is an area where the team will need to be improve upon for the 2018-19 campaign.
As the NHL 2018 Free Agent Frenzy approaches we take a look in how the Golden Knights can get better at.
Both James Neal and David Perron are notable UFA’s that the Golden Knights have to decide on if they are going to be a part of the upcoming season.
Neal is finishing his current 6-year deal that he originally signed when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. That contract was inked back on February 19, 2012 at $30 million total with an AAV of $5 mil per season.
Perron’s 2-year deal that he on ends before July 1 and was worth $7,500,000 and had an AAV of $3.75 mil per year.
Neal and Perron are both 30-years of age so Vegas would probably want to get a little bit younger in the top 6 so allowing them to test free agency is not going to be a loss.
In the 2018 NHL Free Agent class the most sought after player available is Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk which should be on Vegas’s radar.
JVR had himself a career season with the Leafs in goals at 36 besting his previous high of 30 back in the 2013-14 campaign.
van Riemsdyk also led Toronto in goals and beat Auston Matthews who had 34 himself last year.
He just 29-years of age so that is a plus for the Golden Knights and has cap hit of $4.25 million from the previous campaign.
With van Riemsdyk he could provide that spark in scoring for Vegas looking to bolster their current top 6 group. He also a proven goal scorer with 5 seasons under his belt of scoring 20 goals or mare and two of them with 30 or more.
Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee knows JVR very well when he was the GM with the Capitals. So this is something for him to consider that can improve his top 6 forward group.
Our next piece will look at adding a depth scorer and what option(s) are best and makes sense of the Golden Knights.
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