The Vegas Golden Knights might disagree and be upset over their defenseman Nate Schmidt's suspension, they need to take the next step and do something about his 20-game absence. The 27-year-old blue liner received a 20-game suspension from the National Hockey League on Sunday for violating its policies on performance-enhancing drugs.
While the team might want to focus on the fact that the league and a conspiracy theory, seeing that it was discovered in a quantity so minute - seven billionths of a milligram per milliliter - Vegas needs to move on and focus on the important stuff: the start of their second season.
Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro of Sportsnet wondered if the recent Schmidt's massive suspension might push the Golden Knights toward acquiring Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. They believe the Golden Knights must do something to replace Schmidt, who led the club in in ice-time per game last year last season.
It is not the first time the Knights have been linked to the all-star defenseman, and Seixeiro feels if this doesn’t bring Karlsson to Vegas than nothing ever will. He adds that now’s the time to make that move with Ottawa. The blueliner is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status and it is almost clear as day that Karlsson will not re-sign with the Senators, who can’t afford to lose their best trade asset for nothing.
"If this does not facilitate some type of deal for a defenseman, I don't know if it's Karlsson, I kind of hope it is Karlsson, but if George McPhee does not do it at this point, he never will," said Seixeiro.
At the trade deadline, it was said that the Golden Knights were minutes away from completing a deal with Ottawa for Karlsson. They have the cap space to absorb Karlsson’s $6.5-million salary-cap hit and enough to re-sign him, but the issue remains the same: the Senators are looking to unload unload winger Bobby Ryan’s contract ($7.25-million annually through 2021-22) in the transaction.
When last of the trade chatter was heard on Karlsson, it was believed five to six teams, including the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks, remain interested in Karlsson.
If Karlsson is not the piece coming to Vegas to help bolster their blue line in the first quarter of the season, Micallef and Seixerio believe they do need to find a replacement, especially now that young defender Shea Theodore has yet to sign a contract extension with the club.