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Why the Golden Knights Forward May Be Gone This Offseason

Why the Golden Knights Forward May Be Gone This Offseason

Vegas Golden Knights logo with the words trade rumor below the logoVegas Golden Knights logo with the words trade rumor below the logo
Could Chandler Stephenson be leaving Vegas? Here’s why the Golden Knights may have to trade their versatile forward this offseason.

The Vegas Golden Knights have once again found themselves in a familiar position: salary cap hell. They’ve had to navigate this landscape before, but this summer it could mean the departure of a valuable piece, forward Chandler Stephenson.

Stephenson, an integral part of the Golden Knights’ 2023 Stanley Cup run, is set to become an unrestricted free agent. If the Knights hope to retain some of their other free agents (like Jonathan Marchessault), the numbers might not add up for Stephenson to stay in Vegas.

Here are three reasons we may see Chandler Stephenson wearing a different jersey next season:

1. Vegas’ Salary Cap Woes

The Vegas Golden Knights have repeatedly pushed right up against the salary cap ceiling. Unless Mark Stone is placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) again, they won’t have the room to re-sign Stephenson. With other valuable players also reaching free agency, someone will need to go to make the numbers work.

2. Stephenson’s Versatility and Skill

Stephenson is the type of player every team covets. He’s a skilled center who can shift to the wing effortlessly, he’s an excellent penalty killer, and he’s a proven leader with playoff success. Teams looking to improve their middle-six forward group will be all over Stephenson in free agency.

3. The Market Will be Hot for Stephenson

Top-six forwards with Stanley Cup experience don’t come cheap on the open market. With several teams needing reliable secondary scoring, Stephenson is likely to command a much higher salary than the Golden Knights can afford within their cap constraints.

It’s a bittersweet situation for the Golden Knights. They adore Stephenson and know how valuable he is, but sometimes the realities of the salary cap force tough decisions. For a contending team in need of a player like Stephenson, this offseason could be the perfect time to swoop in.

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