How the Vegas Golden Knights Are Building Up for the 2025 Season

On the surface, it appears the Vegas Golden Knights are all-in this season. However, there's a bigger picture that Kelly McCrimmon and co. want to achieve.

Detroit Red Wings v Vegas Golden Knights
Detroit Red Wings v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages

With the trade deadline passing, it's easy to say the Vegas Golden Knights hit a home run. Acquiring big names like Noah Hanifin and Tomas Hertl made the Golden Knights a bigger threat. It's safe to say Vegas is closer to repeating as Stanley Cup champions than before.

But there's a bigger picture that general manager Kelly McCrimmon and company want to achieve. The Golden Knights are building up for the 2025 season and beyond. But how are they achieving this? Here's how the Vegas Golden Knights look to compete in 2025 and beyond.

The Vegas Golden Knights Are Getting Younger

In a sense, this is true with Noah Hanifin. The 27-year-old was working on an extension with the Vegas Golden Knights, keeping him in Vegas for the long term. With the Boston native in the fold, the Golden Knights get younger at the defenseman position.

This was partly why the Golden Knights traded forward Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2024 third-round draft pick. The 32-year-old wasn't getting younger, so the Golden Knights kept Ivan Barbashev. The 28-year-old Russian got a five-year, $25 million extension to stay in Vegas, giving the Vegas Golden Knights more youth.

Getting younger by parting with veteran pieces has been how the Golden Knights have done business. It happened with Marc-Andre Fleury (albeit not on the best terms) and it's likely to happen with Alec Martinez. The defenseman is in the last year of his three-year, $15.75 million deal and is 36 years old.

That might also be why Jonathan Marchessault goes, too. Tomas Hertl is three years younger than the winger, making him more valuable on paper. However, Marchessault has proven his worth, raising the cries for him to receive an extension from the Golden Knights.

Better Deals for the Vegas Golden Knights

There were talks of the Golden Knights possibly acquiring Frank Vatrano. These talks made sense, with the Anaheim Ducks forward being under control for an additional year. All Vegas would do is pay the maximum cap hit of $3.65 million (or less, depending on how much salary Anaheim would retain) and the Golden Knights would be set.

But why go for Vatrano when you could go for Tomas Hertl and keep him under control until 2029-2030? The native of the Czech Republic fits perfectly into Bruce Cassidy's system. He's big, strong, and has a superior two-way game. Hertl makes the Vegas Golden Knights stronger in the middle, giving them another premier center.

Going back to Noah Hanifin, the Golden Knights want to get the defenseman's services for a long time. McCrimmon isn't just planning for 2025; he's playing the long game and keeping the core intact. That starts with building the team offensively, which will go a long way in making the Golden Knights sustainable.