By Aj Maiorana (@ExtraSauce_)
Not that there was a realistic chance that the Vegas Golden Knights would make all of our dreams come true anyway, but the odds just got a little bit worse.
The Golden Knights aren’t waiting for the upcoming expansion draft to start building their team. Back in March, Vegas made their first player transaction by signing Reid Duke, a Junior free agent from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Unfortunately, Duke hasn’t been able to start building chemistry with his teammates.
Vegas Gets Shipachyov
The Knights now have two forwards with the addition of highly coveted KHL Center Vadim Shipachyov. There have been rumors about Shipachyov’s NHL landing spot for a few months. The Montreal Canadiens were the supposed frontrunners to sign Shipachyov until they announced that he was seeking a contract that was too big for them to consider. There were a few teams still trying to persuade Shipachyov up until Vegas announced on twitter that they had signed the Russian.
Shipachyov’s contract will be for two years with an average annual salary of $4.5 million.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 5, 2017
The 30-year-old has been producing in the KHL for years scoring over 50 points a season since the 2014-15 season. He might be a bit old to be transitioning over and adjusting to the NHL, but all reports are that he can be a capable top six forward for the Knights. A solid piece of their roster foundation.
One less bad contract needed.
As the Knights build the rest of their team through the expansion draft, they will have to spend $43.8 million, or 60% of the NHL’s salary cap. To do that, a lot of fans hope that Vegas will take a bad contract off their team’s hands. The Shipachyov signing just dropped their remaining budget to $39.3million. That lowers the chances of Vegas looking for a $5million dollar filler.
It may be a stretch to think that the Flyers would even risk exposing Andrew MacDonald for Vegas to take away, but it seems like that dream is less likely to become a reality now. Vegas will still have to take on some sizeable contracts, but there are probably enough decent players who will be left unprotected for them to ignore bad ones. No matter how many times the Flyers organization tries to make the rest of the hockey world believe that Andrew MacDonald is good, there are obviously better options that will be available to Vegas.
The incentive to draft garbage salaries dwindles as a result. You want them to take your junk? You’re going to have to throw something in.
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) May 5, 2017
No matter how good of a mentor some people say he is –Sam Carchidi– there’s still not a compelling enough reason for Vegas to take MacDonald in the expansion draft. With the Flyers lucking into the 2nd overall pick in this upcoming draft, maybe they can afford to sweeten the pot for Vegas with a pick or maybe even a player that could be useful like, Jordan Weal. With both Hextall and Hakstol’s perception of the defender and his cemented spot next to the Flyers actual best defenseman, it doesn’t seem likely that the organization is willing to part with MacDonald. Weal maybe, but definitely not MacDonald.