Golden Knights 2023 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After Stanley Cup Win

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    The Vegas Golden Knights are 2023 Stanley Cup Champions, defeating the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 to capture their first title in franchise history, and while many celebrations are in store, it’s also time for the organization to begin planning for the 2023-24 campaign.

    The Golden Knights finished first in the Pacific Division and their deep playoff run under new head coach Bruce Cassidy was widely expected, but winning a Stanley Cup title in just their sixth NHL season is quite impressive and speaks volumes of what the organization has built.

    General manager Kelly McCrimmon will have his work cut out for him this summer as Vegas hopes to repeat next year, so let’s take a look at the Golden Knights’ free agents, some draft targets and what to expect this summer.

Free Agents

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    Unrestricted free agents: Ivan Barbashev, Teddy Blueger, Phil Kessel, Jonathan Quick, Laurent Brossoit, Adin Hill

    Restricted free agents: Brett Howden, Pavel Dorofeyev, Brayden Pachal, Nolan Patrick

    While the Golden Knights have some notable unrestricted free agents this summer, one of the only players who might be worth re-signing is Ivan Barbashev.

    Vegas acquired Barbashev from the St. Louis Blues at the 2022-23 season’s trade deadline. In 23 regular-season games with the franchise, he tallied six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, adding seven goals in 22 postseason games.

    Barbashev also fit nicely on a line alongside Chandler Stephenson and Phil Kessel, and he demonstrated the ability to be inserted just about anywhere into the lineup, which is a valuable asset for any team.

    While it’s unlikely the Golden Knights re-sign Jonathan Quick, they are expecting Robin Lehner to return in goal next season, so there’s not much of a need for the team to extend any of its free-agent goaltenders.

    If they do extend a netminder, it will likely be Laurent Brossoit, who posted a 7-0-3 record, 2.17 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 2022-23.

2023 Draft Targets

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    The Golden Knights have some solid draft picks to work with this summer, which means they’ll be able to continue building for what should be a bright future.

    Here’s a look at the franchise’s current selections in the 2023 draft:

    • One first-round pick
    • Two third-round picks
    • One sixth-round pick
    • One seventh-round pick

    With the Golden Knights’ first-place finish in the Pacific Division, they’ll receive a late first-round draft choice, which means they’ll be out of the Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli sweepstakes.

    Still, there are many talented prospects available, and it’s reasonable to believe the Golden Knights will select a forward with their first-round selection, such as Ethan Gauthier, Otto Stenberg or Gabe Perreault.

Free-Agent Targets

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    Considering the Golden Knights don’t have any free agents on defense, it’s reasonable to believe they’ll place more of a focus on the forward market in free agency, and it’s possible they’ll take a look at Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko and even Tyler Bertuzzi.

    Kane, who was traded to the New York Rangers during the 2022-23 season, will be one of the most sought-after free agents on the market this summer, but there’s no reason to rule Vegas out of the sweepstakes for the winger.

    The 34-year-old continues to produce at a high level, notching 21 goals and 36 assists for 57 points in 73 games, and he also added one goal and five assists in seven postseason games.

    Adding Kane to a line alongside Jack Eichel and perhaps Mark Stone would make the Golden Knights offense nearly unstoppable in 2023-24.

    The same could be said for Tarasenko, who was also traded to the Rangers during the 2022-23 campaign. The 31-year-old tallied 18 goals and 32 assists for 50 points in 69 games and added three goals and one assist in seven playoff games.

    If the Golden Knights strike out on both players, going after Bertuzzi would be a great fallback plan.

    While the 28-year-old had a down year by his standards, tallying eight goals and 22 assists in 50 games with the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings, there’s reason to believe he can return to the 20-plus goalscorer he once was.

    Bertuzzi was also electric for the Bruins in the 2023 playoffs, notching five goals and five assists in seven games, proving that he can compete on the biggest stage.

    Additionally, the Canadian is far younger than Kane and Tarasenko and could stick around on a long-term deal.

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