In this edition of Vegas Golden Knights news & rumors, there appears to be a real possibility that Nicolas Hague could get traded this offseason. In other news, Pete DeBoer recently admitted he was quite frustrated over being fired by general manager Kelly McCrimmon, as he believes he and the rest of his coaching staff did what they could. Meanwhile, it was announced earlier this week that John Stevens would join new head coach Bruce Cassidy’s staff for the 2022-23 campaign, while Sean Burke has been hired as their director of goaltending.
Hague Could Be Moved This Offseason
Heading into this offseason, one thing that was extremely apparent for this Golden Knights team was that they needed to free up some cap space. The 2021-22 season was a complete disaster in that regard, as there were multiple occasions that they had to dress just 17 players in order to remain cap compliant.
With the rumored re-signing of Reilly Smith, that cap space appears to be even more of an issue, though it appears that management may be making some decisions on how to try and fix it. One of those solutions may be to trade Hague, a player whose name has popped up in trade rumors plenty over the past week.
According to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, at least two Eastern Conference teams have expressed their interest in the 23-year-old rearguard. At this time, Hague is a restricted free agent and should see a significant raise from his past season’s cap hit of $791,667. While by no means a superstar, he has improved in each of his first three NHL seasons. In 2021-22, he had four goals and 14 points in 52 outings while averaging nearly 19 minutes in ice time per game.
DeBoer Admits Golden Knights Firing Rattled Him
No one expects that a coach would ever be anything other than frustrated after getting fired. For the most part, however, the firings of coaches seem rather justified, meaning that while the individual losing his job is upset, they don’t usually go on record saying so as they would likely get dragged by the public. DeBoer’s case, however, is entirely different.
Heading into the 2021-22 campaign, the Golden Knights were considered one of the league’s favorites for the Stanley Cup, only to miss the playoffs completely. That in itself would make it seem like Deboer’s firing was justified, but that isn’t exactly the case. Not only did he have to deal with poor management decisions that led to their salary cap debacle, but his roster also had a ridiculous number of injuries throughout the entirety of the season. Because of that, he recently admitted that he was quite angry at the time he learned of his firing.
“Every time you lose a job, you have different reactions,” DeBoer said. “The Vegas one rattled me because I thought as a coaching staff we worked as hard as we could with the situation handed to us this year.
“I thought getting 94 points out of a team that lost 500-man games in injuries – I thought our coaching staff really worked hard to get that. I’m not going to lie to you, it rattled me for a little bit.”
While some in the Golden Knights fanbase grew tired of DeBoer due to the team’s struggles this season, even his harshest critics would surely admit a lot of the team’s struggles were out of his control. Nevertheless, he has moved on to the Dallas Stars, while the Golden Knights chose to replace him with Cassidy. Whether or not that will prove to be the right call remains to be seen.
Golden Knights Added Stevens & Burke to Staff
Earlier this week, the Golden Knights announced two hirings to their staff in Stevens and Burke. For Stevens, he was named an assistant coach and will be a part of Cassidy’s staff for the 2022-23 season. The 56-year-old had a lengthy playing career that included 53 games at the NHL level. He began his coaching career immediately after retiring with stints as a head coach for both the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings.
Burke, who has served as a goaltending coach at the NHL level for a number of years, has been hired as the director of goaltending. The 55-year-old is coming in from a similar role with the Montreal Canadiens and has been renowned throughout the league for some of the great work he has done with goaltenders. He himself played in 820 games in the position at the NHL level.
Looking Ahead for the Golden Knights
With their coaching staff now set, the next steps for the Golden Knights will be to round out their roster via free agency and/or trades while also trying to move a contract or two to get some cap space. Hague, as mentioned above, appears to be one candidate who may be on the way out, while another in William Karlsson continues to see his name pop up in the rumor mill. Expect to hear more in regards to possible moves before free agency, which begins on July 13.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.