Vegas Golden Knights: Schmidt the sacrificial lamb, dealt to Canucks

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) skates against the Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) skates against the Calgary Flames. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vegas Golden Knights have traded Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks.

Today was the day the long wait finally came to an end as the Vegas Golden Knights finally announced the blockbuster arrival of elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

The former St. Louis Blues Captain signed a seven-year $61.6 million contract with the Golden Knights, taking him through the 2026-27 season.

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However, there was one negative consequence with popular defenseman Nate Schmidt being dealt immediately after.

The Golden Knights traded Schmidt to Pacific Division rivals Vancouver for a Third-Round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

Darren Dreger of TSN was first to report the news.

It was a trade that had to happen given Vegas’ cap constraints, with the Golden Knights being pushed $6.07 million over the $81.5 million salary cap.

However, by trading Schmidt the Golden Knights have shed $5.95 million in salary with the team now over the salary cap by $124,000, according to CapFriendly.

Another caveat to this is the fact that the Knights have gift-wrapped a very good top-four defenseman to a team in their own division, a team that made huge strides in 2019-20.

A Third-Round pick in 2020 also isn’t much of a return but, again, it is the price of doing business after the Golden Knights shelled out for Pietrangelo.

However, this franchise has now lost another member of its core and another Original Golden Misfit, leaving them with just nine original Golden Misfits that were selected at the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

Schmidt regressed somewhat in 2019-20 with 31 points (7 G, 24 A) in 59 regular season games with 39 Giveaways and a 4.5 Goals Above Replacement (via Evolving Wild). He also struggled in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a number of costly turnovers in his own zone.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (88)
Vegas Golden Knights celebrate the goal scored by defenseman Nate Schmidt (88). Mandatory Credit: Gerry Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

However, Schmidt is still a very, very good top-four defenseman in the National Hockey League and he was a key cog on this Vegas team.

He recorded 97 points (21 G, 76 A) in 196 career regular season games with the Golden Knights, in addition to five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in 47 career Stanley Cup Playoff games for the franchise.

Schmidt was arguably at his best during the 2017-18 season, putting up a career-high 36 points (5 G, 31 A) in 76 regular season contests, and a further seven points (3 G, 4 A) in 20 postseason games as the Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year, averaging 24:25 minutes of ice time in the Playoffs.

Schmidt was also an Alternate Captain for the Golden Knights and his presence will be missed by this franchise.

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It also remains to be seen if the Vegas Golden Knights make any further moves but, allowed to go 10 percent over the cap during the off-season, they certainly have time to get cap compliant before the start of the 2020-21 season and $124,000 is certainly a manageable number.