Will Ve­gas roll dice in free agency?

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - DON BREN­NAN dbren­nan@post­media.com

When their sto­ry­book sea­son does come to an end, the Ve­gas Golden Knights have a de­ci­sion to make.

Do they or do they not sprin­kle into their lineup some high­priced avail­able tal­ent?

It won’t be easy mak­ing the play­offs in the West­ern Con­fer­ence next sea­son, never mind mak­ing it to this point or be­yond. And the Golden Knights will have money to spend.

Ac­cord­ing to capfriendly.com, they are US$6,299,911 un­der the ceil­ing now.

Their list of un­re­stricted free agents in­cludes James Neal (cap hit: $5 mil­lion), David Per­ron ($3.75 mil), Ryan Reaves ($1.125 mil) Luca Sbisa ($3.6 mil), Clay­ton Stoner ($3.25 mil) plus the “in­jured” Mikhail Grabovski ($5 mil) and buried Ja­son Gar­ri­son ($3.575 mil).

New deals will have to be of­fered to William Karls­son, who led all NHL cen­tres in goals dur­ing the sea­son and has a cap hit of $1 mil­lion, as well as de­fence­men Shea Theodore ($863,333) and Colin Miller ($1 mil­lion). And they might want to sign Marc-An­dre Fleury ($5.75 mil) to an ex­ten­sion rather than have him play the sea­son with an ex­pir­ing con­tract.

But Ve­gas could get ag­gres­sive in any bid­ding war for UFAs John Tavares and John Carl­son. A trade pitch was made for Erik Karls­son dur­ing the sea­son and the Golden Knights could go knock­ing on that door. Or make over­tures on Drew Doughty, who like Karls­son has one year left on his deal and wouldn’t have far to move in leav­ing the Kings.

The­o­ret­i­cally, the Golden Knights should be able to at­tract what­ever play­ers they want. Theirs might be the most de­sir­able des­ti­na­tion in the NHL.

And now they’ve even got a win­ning tra­di­tion.

If it con­tin­ues to de­velop and in­cludes the Cup, stray­ing from what got them there will be tough to do for the Knights.

Marc-An­dre Fleury

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