The Vegas Golden Knights have had an incredible start to the season. They have played eight games thus far in the early season and won seven of them. To put that into context, the Capitals won just eight games total in their first season as an expansion franchise.
But there's a problem. Vegas has lost not one, but two goalies to injury already.
Marc-Andre Fleury is out due to a concussion and is still “days away” from rejoining the team. In response, Vegas snagged goalie Malcolm Subban off of waivers from the Boston Bruins and named him the starter. Now he is on IR and is expected to miss the next four weeks with a lower-body injury.
So a Vegas team loaded with defensemen is in need of a goalie. The Capitals, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a defenseman and just so happen to have a budding starter currently serving as their backup in Philipp Grubauer.
Sounds like a match made in Heaven.
So a deal has to be in the works, right? Well, not so fast.
For anyone holding out hope that this could lead to the possible return of Schmidt to Washington, that’s just not going to happen. Here's why.
Vegas values Schmidt very highly
Vegas could have taken Grubauer in the expansion draft, but elected to go with Schmidt. The Caps tried not to lose him, but general manager George McPhee’s asking price was apparently far too high.
There’s no reason to think Vegas values Schmidt any less considering he has one goal and three assists in eight games and leads the team in time on ice per game by over two minutes.
Yes, they may be in need of a goalie, but they are not going to trade away the player they view as their best defenseman to get one.
Both Hershey goalies are injured
Let’s make one thing clear, the Caps are not going to trade Grubauer if they don’t have a backup in place and that backup is Pheonix Copley. An impressive preseason by Copley made a Grubauer trade seem like a real possibility, but he is currently dealing with an injury.
If the Caps are interested in trading Grubauer, no deal is going to be made until Copley is healthy. Period.
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What are Vegas’ expectations for the season, really?
It’s really hard for expansion franchises to be good in their first season. McPhee knew that and that’s why he was willing to trade away a lot of good players after the expansion draft in order to obtain more draft picks.
When you end up with three first round draft picks, it’s not because your team is in a “win now” mode.
Yes, the Golden Knights have had an incredible start to the season, but management’s expectations for this season should not change based on just eight games. The Philadelphia Flyers won 10-straight games last season and didn’t even make the playoffs.
While I am sure McPhee would be open to a trade discussion for Grubauer, he is not going to be desperate to make a deal because he doesn’t need to be. Vegas was never expected to make the playoffs this season so he is not going to sell the farm for a goalie. That’s why if your solution to the money problem above was to make Vegas retain salary of one of their defensemen, that seems really unlikely.
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