The Vegas Golden Knights are showing no signs of waking up from what has been a dream season. The deeper their playoff run extends, the more it also fuels the possibility of certain fantasy player acquisitions becoming a reality.
Darren Dreger delved into that theoretical world during a Tuesday afternoon radio hit on Toronto’s TSN 1050.
The Insider was asked it’s time to start believing that Vegas is a Top 10 team right off the bat for 2018-19 as well, factoring in potential roster changes with some unrestricted free agents of their own with which they’ll need to deal.
“Well, you’re right. Obviously there’s going to be changes based on some of their pending unrestricted free agents,” noted Dreger. “But what if all of the sudden they become big game hunters in the offseason. What if George McPhee takes a swing at John Tavares. And I’m not so sure that John Tavares wouldn’t consider going to Vegas. Why wouldn’t he. I’ve heard Nashville. I don’t know how they make that work with their cap space. They’d have to move somebody out of Nashville to make room for Tavares. Maybe McPhee and company take another swing at Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.”
“Now if you were able, in this dream world, to land John Tavares as a free agent and then make a deal for Erik Karlsson,” chuckled Dreger, “I think that puts them in pretty good form again for contending for another Stanley Cup.
“But they’re not too worried about next year in the moment. I mean, they’re fixated on trying to get to the Stanley Cup Final through Winnipeg first. Then when the offseason arrives, whenever it arrives for McPhee and company, they’ll start looking at what they’ll have to do to build themselves back into another sound position.”
James Neal and David Perron will be the key UFAs for McPhee, while William Karlsson can become a restricted free agent and he also holds the arbitration hammer if needed. Pending RFA Shea Theodore will also need a new contract this summer, among others.
Considering the Golden Knights to potentially be in the mix for Tavares this summer might have been unthinkable in September, but now? Who knows. They’d arguable have more to bring to the table in a late-June interview period conversation with Tavares’ camp than would some of the teams we’ve heard regularly mentioned as likely Tavares suitors, and Nevada has the added favorable tax situation.
The Insiders also reported how George McPhee went hard after Erik Karlsson before the trade deadline, to the point where things seemed pretty close to getting done. The Golden Knights have the assets to land the superstar defenseman via trade (Karlsson has another year to go on his contract, and it seems likely Pierre Dorion will deal the rearguard this summer if Karlsson won’t commit to an extension), and they only need cap space and cash to fit Tavares in.
It’s shaping up to be an extremely interesting summer, and Vegas could once again be in the middle of the most exciting storylines.
In the meantime, the Golden Knights will attempt to stake themselves to a 2-1 series lead in their Western Conference Final tilt against the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday night.
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