A Quality NHL Trade Deadline For The Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights had a rather impactful NHL trade deadline, even without making a blockbuster trade of any sort in the midst of it. Vegas acquired forward Nick Cousins and goaltender Robin Lehner from Montreal and Chicago. On paper, that isn’t much, but a depth forward and especially a high quality backup goaltender is exactly what they needed.

In the now three seasons Vegas has existed, they’ve yet to have a good back-up goaltender. Malcom Subban is a decent backup, but 30-21-7 with a 2.92 goals against and .901 save percentage in sixty-three games isn’t getting it done. The other backup options haven’t worked out either.

Calvin Pickard didn’t play a single game for the Golden Knights and Oscar Dansk and Garret Sparks can’t seem to break onto the roster. Acquiring a guy in Robin Lehner who’s been a starter is the best case scenario.

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Let’s start off with Nick Cousins, a former Coyote that I’m very familiar with. To start last season, I didn’t like Nick Cousins. He reminded me of Mike York as a Coyote.

All he did was skate up and down the ice. Unlike York, however, throughout the year, Cousins put forth effort to improve. He’s established himself as a good bottom-six forward at the NHL level.

He’s a good skater, he can set up plays and also adds depth scoring to the Golden Knights roster. He proved this in just his first game as a Knight where he scored a goal against the Edmonton Oilers. In his first three games in Vegas, Cousins has a goal and an assist.

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Two points in three games is very good for a depth player like Cousins. Already paying off for the low price of a fourth-round draft pick.

Next up is the player Vegas acquired a bit before the deadline, defenseman Alec Martinez. Vegas lacks defensive depth, unfortunately mainly because of the amount they spent on their top-six core. Martinez is a good defensive defensemen that adds physicality and some depth points as well. The cost of two second round picks is a little steep, but Vegas needed the defensive depth.

Finally, the most important move of them all, acquiring goaltender Robin Lehner from the Blackhawks. Vegas dealt goalie Malcom Subban, a prospect and a second-round pick for another prospect and Lehner. As mentioned previously, Subban is a decent goalie, but Robin Lehner is starting caliber.

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On a struggling Blackhawks team this year, Lehner has posted a 16-10-5 record with a 3.01 goals against and a .918 save percentage. So far in one game played for Vegas, Lehner recorded a win with thirty-two saves and only two goals against. Just for the lack of stress, on Fleury alone, this was well worth the price.

The Golden Knights took a good long look at what it is they lacked and made moves to improve things. Vegas was already on pace to make the playoffs, but their current roster can very realistically make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just how far can they go? I guess we’ll have to wait and see to find out the answer.

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