The Decisions the Vegas Golden Knights Have to Make?

Jake Leschyshyn is warming up for the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Jake Leschyshyn is warming up for the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Vegas Golden Knights have recently started to turn their season around after a rough first five games to start the season. After starting the season 1-4, they are now 6-6 heading into tonight’s game against pacific division rival, the Seattle Kraken.

Since the Vegas Golden Knights traded for superstar center, Jack Eichel, they have not only won two of their three games, but have looked like the team that we all know and love. Seeing the Knights put up 12 goals in the matter of three games, really does give the fans some hope moving forward. But, there are two major problem with that.

The Vegas Golden Knights have found a way to produce wins even while dealing with multiple injuries. Now getting wins is great, but it makes the questions that you’re going to have to ask that much harder. What are those question’s you may ask? Well here we go.

Who Has Earned a Spot on the Knights When They Get Healthy?

The Vegas Golden Knights have had to play in mid-season form right out the gate this season. After having only one game this season where you can say that they were healthy, it’s been hard to gauge where this team stands compared to some of the other competitors in the NHL.

After the Vegas Golden Knights lost Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty against the Los Angeles Kings, they’ve had to rely heavily on the play of some of their younger prospects. Which is good for the prospects who’ve gotten the call, but when the Knights get healthy have they done enough to stay apart of the Knights roster? And this is where the conundrum kicks in.

They’ve called up quite a few prospects in order to fill some of the void’s left on the Vegas Golden Knights roster. To this date they called up: Jake Leschyshyn, Jonas Rondbjerg, Daniil Miromanov, Pavel Dorofeyev, Jack Dugan, Kaedan Korczak, and Paul Cotter.

As you can see, they’ve utilized their farm system greatly this season, which isn’t surprising given they need to have 23 players on their roster, and they’ve had to deal with multiple injuries. However, when they come back, and the team is healthy again, who’s done enough to keep a roster spot up on the Knights NHL roster.

This one here is hard to answer given the fact that I don’t have the same detail that the coaches have, but I’m basing it off of their performances so far this season and what I’ve noticed.

Jake Leschyshyn

Personally, I don’t think that Jake Leschyshyn has gotten near enough credit for how well he’s performed so far. Now, when compared to former Knight, Peyton Krebs, it’s understandable. But, Krebs is a budding superstar, and I don’t expect him to take long in getting there, Leschyshyn is not. But, that’s no disrespect towards Leschyshyn by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just unfair to compare a guy of Krebs’ talent to Leschyshyn.

Jake Leschyshyn who’s the son of former NHL defenseman, Craig Leschyshyn, was a second-round pick made by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. Which, by the way, made him the second pick made in Vegas Golden Knights franchise history.

Although it did take Leschyshyn four years before he got his shot with the Knights, he’s made the most of the opportunity. Not necessarily in the productive standpoint but what he’s shown on the ice.

He’s showed that he is a terrific skater, has made some very good plays with the puck on his stick, and has done a very good job in the forechecking game. He’s done everything right since getting the call, and I don’t expect him to be sent down anytime soon if he continues to play as well as he is.

How To Get Under the Cap When The Knights Get Healthy

There are a couple different ways that the Vegas Golden Knights can get under the cap, but none of them are ideal. After trading for Jack Eichel, the Knights have become extremely tight on the cap space front which also isn’t the most ideal situation.

A lot of people weren’t exactly thrilled to get Jack Eichel, but I’m sure are starting to come around on it. I mean, Eichel has already started doing things for the Vegas community, has embraced the city of Las Vegas, and has shared his gratitude for everyone being so welcoming to him. It’s hard not to root for him.

Regardless, the Vegas Golden Knights are now in quite the blind trying to work around the salary cap. So now it’s time to answer the question with Mark Stone close to returning: How can the Knights get under the salary cap?

So in order to answer this, I need to just state that your probably not going to like what I’m about to say. All I ask is you just hear me out.

Trade Jonathan Marchessault Away

The Vegas Golden Knights are in need to clear some cap and the easiest way to do that is to make a trade. However, you have to make make sure that you are taking both, the value of return and how much cap you are clearing, into account. The guy who could check both of those boxes: Jonathan Marchessault.

Trading Jonathan Marchessault away isn’t exactly going to be easy, but it could be the most beneficial to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Marchessault is an experienced veteran player who has been very productive throughout most of his career. Since coming to the Vegas Golden Knights, Marchessault has played in 355 total games. In those 355 games played he has scored 122 goals, and he has also totaled 154 assists for 276 points. Which, in hindsight is pretty great.

The problem then becomes, is he worth trading away given how productive he’s been. In my opinion, yes. The other option to trade would’ve been Reilly Smith in my opinion due to the fact they are both making $5,000,000 per year. But, at the end of the day, you are going to be able to get more value from Jonathan Marchessault than you would for Reilly Smith. That’s where, in my eyes, trading Marchessault is the more logical play.