Golden Knights: Thompson and Cotter Traded, Time Running Out for Marchessault

Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP

Saturday saw a trade that nobody saw coming. The Vegas Golden Knights traded goaltender Logan Thompson to the Washington Capitals for a pair of third-round draft picks. Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon flipped one of those third round picks and Paul Cotter in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for Akira Schmid and Alexander Holtz.

The Golden Knights drafted goaltender Pavel Moysevich from the KHL with one of the picks acquired from the Capitals.

It was a busy day for McCrimmon that left Golden Knights fans wondering why Thompson was traded for what seemed like a low return.

Breaking Down the Thompson Trade

Okay. This is not how Golden Knights fans expected their Saturday to start as they drank their morning coffee. Once the reality that Thompson was traded settled in, fans started to question the lack of return in the trade. A 27-year-old goaltender with a career 2.66 GAA and .912 SV% that has one year remaining at an AAV of $766,667 should yield a greater return.

Sidenote, the Capitals have the best goaltending tandem in the NHL from a value perspective. The tandem of Charlie Lindgren and Thompson combine for an AAV of $1.86 million.

Back to the return in the Thompson trade. McCrimmon confirmed that Thompson requested the trade from the Golden Knights which removed all leverage the Golden Knights had when shopping him.

Remember when the Golden Knights traded Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks for Mikael Hakkarainen before the 2021-22 season? The entire league knew the Golden Knights needed to trade Fleury to create salary cap space. The Blackhawks flipped Fleury to the Minnesota Wild later that season for conditional second-round pick.

The Golden Knights lacked leverage in the Fleury and Thompson trades, and the returns suffered. Why would anyone offer a first or second-round pick for Thompson, knowing the Golden Knights needed to trade him?

Credit Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan for swooping in at the right time.

Breaking Down the Cotter Trade

It was not a doom and gloom day for the Golden Knights. McCrimmon traded forward Paul Cotter and the third-round pick acquired from the Capitals in exchange for forward Alexander Holtz and goaltender Akira Schmid from the New Jersey Devils.

Here is a trade that helps the Golden Knights in the present and future. Cotter failed to establish an identity during his time with the Golden Knights. Holtz is an immediate scoring upgrade (16 goals, 28 points last season). The 22-year-old has strong upside and will have a team friendly salary cap hit for years to come.

Schmid is an upgrade over Jiri Patera and is likely to serve as the organization’s third goalie, per McCrimmon. The 24-year-old had a breakout 2022-23 season, going 9-5-2 with a 2.60 GAA and .922 SV%. Schmid’s numbers fell off in the 2023-24 season as he went 9-8-5 with a 3.06 GAA and .895 SV%.

Schmid’s decline can be attached to a poor season by the Devils as they finished seventh place in the Pacific Division with 81 points.

What Does, Or Will, The Goaltending Situation Look Like?

There is concern over the net in Vegas, and rightfully so. Adin Hill will enter the season as the undisputed starter. But Hill has failed to appear in greater than 35 regular season games in his career and lost the starting job in last season’s playoffs.

Hill needs to find a path to 50 appearances and return to his 2022-23 playoff form.

We know Schmid will most likely start the season as the third goalie per McCrimmon, so who backs up Hill?

McCrimmon said the backup goaltender will be addressed in through free agency. Look for the McCrimmon to target a goaltender with experience and durability. Ilya Samsonov could top the list. Samsonov has appeared in 40 or more regular season games in each of the last three seasons. Alex Nedeljkovic has 59 appearances in the 2021-22 season and 38 appearances for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. Kaapo Kahkonen has 31 or greater regular season appearances in each of his last three seasons.

This is where the Schmid acquisition could pay dividends. The Golden Knights were hesitant to give Jiri Patera starts at the NHL level. Having three goaltenders seems to be a necessity in Vegas.

Marchessault Latest

No news is not good news. As of writing, we are less than 24 hours from Jonathan Marchessault hitting free agency. The Golden Knights have ~$6.9 million in salary cap space available. $2 million of that could be earmarked for a backup goaltender.

McCrimmon will need to make a deal quickly if he intends on extending Marchessault. Chances are less likely with every minute that passes that Marchessault will receive an extension in Vegas.

McCrimmon has had nearly a year to make an extension happen for Marchessault, what is he waiting for?

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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