Why the Vegas Golden Knights Should Look Into Getting a Defenseman

A major part of the Golden Knights's woes has been an underachieving forecheck. Here's why they should consider acquiring a solid defenseman.
Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

Everything wrong is happening to the Vegas Golden Knights right now. It's the epitome of Murphy's Law, only in hockey form. There's a lack of defense, a lack of scoring, a lack of puck handling. You can say the defending Stanley Cup champions are lacking in... well, everything.

But one particular category sticks out like a sore thumb. The Vegas Golden Knights have allowed 1,919 shots on goal, 11th-most in the NHL. The porous amount of shots on goal has raised concerns about the pressure generated by the Golden Knights. They're not physical and they're losing their bite. Just look at their last three games, where Vegas has been outhit, 88-82.

With the Golden Knights sliding down the standings, the panic button's been hit. Vegas hockey fans want something to spark the team before the bottom completely falls out. But here's a wild proposal, dear reader: acquiring a defenseman. Why should the Golden Knights acquire one at the trade deadline?

The Current Unit Needs a Shakeup

Alec Martinez has looked sluggish in the past couple of months. He's still blocking shots at a high volume (7th in the NHL with 152). In fact, he's part of why the Vegas Golden Knights lead the NHL in this category (1,175). However, the 36-year-old is getting caught by Father Time.

There are also other good shot-blockers for the six defensemen. Brayden McNabb (4th in the NHL with 168) and Alex Pietrangelo (tied for 16th with 138) are sufficient enough to cover the Golden Knights on this front.

But it hasn't just been Martinez that's slowed down. Zach Whitecloud has been completely absent from the Golden Knights. Whether it's taking untimely penalties or not playing back, the defenseman hasn't lived up to expectations, hurting Vegas in the process.

What Should the Vegas Golden Knights Do?

While it'll be easier to move on from Martinez, Whitecloud is set to stay in Las Vegas for a while. The defenseman is signed through 2027-2028, earning $2.75 million per season. So what can the Vegas Golden Knights do to remedy their situation?

For one, a couple of Henderson Silver Knights are waiting in the wings. Kaedan Korczak looks to take on a bigger responsibility for the Golden Knights in the future. The same can be said for Lukas Cormier. But as of right now, they're not ready to be regulars yet.

Which leaves us with the trade deadline. The Golden Knights can pursue names such as David Savard and Joel Edmundson. With these acquisitions, you can slot them in the lineup instantly. While Savard would be the better pick considering he's signed for next season, Edmundson has a big frame.

Whatever the case is, Kelly McCrimmon must consider all options. What the Golden Knights do at the trade deadline will determine their direction in the next few seasons. Currently, Vegas is trending in the wrong direction and needs a shake-up. That's what makes this trade deadline the most crucial in the Vegas Golden Knights's history.