Vegas Golden Knights: 2020 NHL Free Agency primer

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Let us get you set for 2020 NHL Free Agency and what could be a busy day for the Vegas Golden Knights.

The madness starts at noon ET today with teams across the National Hockey League then able to start making moves to bolster their rosters, and the Vegas Golden Knights are expected to be at the heart of it.

In the midst of trying to clear some cap space, and we’ll have more on that shortly, the Golden Knights are reported to be in the running for Alex Pietrangelo should he indeed decide to test the open market rather than re-sign with the St. Louis Blues.

More from Vegas Hockey Knight

Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug could be another high-profile option, while the Knights may also need a backup goalie in what is simply a crazy market for netminders this year. Corey Crawford, Henrik Lundqvist, Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin are just some of the goalies that will be available today.

There will also be some key role players hitting the open market but it will be interesting to see what impact a flat cap has on Free Agency, with a lot of teams including the Golden Knights already pressed right up against the cap or even over it.

We will strive to keep you updated throughout the day on any moves made by the Golden Knights, big or small, so let’s get you in the mood for Free Agency with some important notes…

What to expect

This could either be a crazy day for the Vegas Golden Knights or a highly frustrating one, depending on what moves the front office can make.

General Manager Kelly McCrimmon is thought to be one of the busiest guys in the NHL right now, and there will be a lot to keep an eye on throughout today.

As already mentioned, the Golden Knights should be one of the teams in on elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who will now officially hit the open market today after the St. Louis Blues didn’t sign their Captain to an eight-year deal before the deadline last night.

The Blues can still bring Pietrangelo back, of course, but they are now on an even playing field given that they can only offer a seven-year contract like the rest of the league.

If Pietrangelo re-signs with the Blues or heads elsewhere, the Golden Knights could look towards Torey Krug as a backup option given that he seems destined to sign elsewhere, or Tyson Barrie is an offensive defenseman that could work in the Vegas system.

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

There will be a load of depth options out there too if the Knights wanted to go a different route, while it will be fascinating to see what they do between the pipes in terms of looking for a backup.

From Thomas Greiss to Craig Anderson, there are a plethora of options out there for the Golden Knights if they need a cheap replacement for Marc-Andre Fleury.

Veteran forward Joe Thornton could be an intriguing option if Vegas feels as though they need a cheap bottom-six center, while winger Bobby Ryan could be a name to keep an eye out for too following his Buyout from the Ottawa Senators.

Before we move on, a couple of things to remember: The Golden Knights are currently over the $81.5 cap although teams are allowed to go over by 10 percent during the off-season, so they do have some flexibility heading into today.

Bottom-six forward Nick Cousins wasn’t extended a Qualifying Offer and will hit the open market today, but he could be brought back at the right price if the Golden Knights aren’t able to achieve what they want.

Paul Stastny #26, Vegas Golden Knights.
Paul Stastny #26 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates during a training camp practice. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Saying Goodbye

A lot of what could happen today will depend on what salary the Golden Knights can move out of the door first. It is no secret that they are desperately trying to get rid of some salary, with a number of high-profile pieces in play.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be a name to watch all day with the face of the franchise being shopped by the Knights, who could have to part with a couple of high draft picks in order to move the goalie.

It remains to be see whether Vegas would have to retain some of Fleury’s $7 million salary, although the less the better given what they hope to achieve today in terms of going after another big-hitter in Free Agency.

Nate Schmidt and Jonathan Marchessault could also be moved if the right trade offer comes up, while some interesting information emerged regarding center Paul Stastny late last night.

According to Scott Billeck of The Winnipeg Sun, the Knights are on the cusp of sending Stastny and picks back to the Winnipeg Jets, a team the forward recorded 13 points (4 G, 9 A) in 19 games for after being dealt to the Jets at the 2017-18 Trade Deadline.

That would be a huge help to the Golden Knights given that it would remove Stastny’s $6.5 million cap hit in 2020-21, getting them under the cap and also presenting the option to go and get something done in Free Agency.

Jimmy Schuldt (L) #4, Peyton Krebs #18, Vegas Golden Knights.
Jimmy Schuldt (L) #4 and Peyton Krebs #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights skate during a training camp practice. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /


Let’s finish with some contract news. After extending Qualifying Offers to the pair, defenseman Jimmy Schuldt and forward Reid Duke both signed one-year contracts with the Golden Knights, each carrying a value of $700k.

Schuldt was an unsigned free agent and has played in one NHL game for the Golden Knights, while Duke was the first signing in the history of this franchise.

That comes after forward and Nevada native Gage Quinney signed a one-year, $700,000 extension and versatile forward Chandler Stephenson agreed terms on a four-year, $11 million deal with an AAV of $2,750,000.

Next. A recap of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. dark

Overall, it looks set to be a chaotic day for the Vegas Golden Knights who could be among the busiest teams on the first day of Free Agency, and we’ll keep you updated on every move made no matter how big or small.