One of the common themes swirling around the Golden Knights in recent seasons is the concept of loyalty. In fact, in the case of VGK, it’s a lack of loyalty, but you understand.
In a shameless quest to improve the team at all costs, the Golden Knights had to make tough decisions along the way. It’s easy to applaud them for the enthusiasm that many league offices lack, but the seething tone of walking the unwritten line between hockey business and the mistreatment of people becomes unmistakable.
Vegas treats you good until they don’t. They went from the Opportunity Team, the “Golden Misfits” or whatever, to the “Evil Empire”. I think as long as they win they will avoid problems, but if they have a losing season, be careful. –Anonymous NHL agent for The Athletic
Unfortunately, the Golden Knights stopped winning last year and a not-so-anonymous agent thinks it could start to bite them in the future.
In Vegas, no player is immune. Several players have made the comment now that no player is safe. At any time, the rug can be pulled out from under you and if it happens to Marc-Andre Fleury, believe me, it can happen to anyone. Some players will ultimately decide to play in this environment and don’t care, but other players will appreciate being in a place where there is a sense of loyalty, stability and appreciation that goes both ways. . –Allan Walsh on the Agent Provocateur podcast
Now that the Golden Knights have officially gotten rid of all of Walsh’s clients, he isn’t shy about publicly sharing his feelings about how Vegas works.
There are many players to whom owners, GMs have made promises, you know “you will retire here, you are family, I love you like a son”. And then a year later, I got traded and it’s like “well, I didn’t want to do this, it’s a business”. Go on. –Walsh on the Agent Provocateur podcast
Of course, Reilly Smith re-signed to a long contract with the Golden Knights this offseason, and Alec Martinez, Robin Lehner and Alex Pietrangelo have also done so in the last 24 months, indicating that the tough nature of the Vegas’ winning attitude hasn’t changed. dissuaded players from sticking to this point.
The question remains, however, about the future.
Will the Golden Knights continue to attract top free agents as they have in the past? And if so, will they be forced to continue handing out debilitating no-move/no-trade clauses in the process?
The new head coach signed a five-year contract, the longest in VGK history, likely largely due to the team’s willingness to quit coaching in the blink of an eye. However, he won’t publicly admit it when pressed during his introductory press conference.
This is a topic that is not going away anytime soon, and certainly not if the GM continues to talk about it without provocation in the pressers.
It’s hard to say it’s affected the Golden Knights so far, but when powerful voices continue to push the narrative, it’s impossible to believe it won’t happen at some point in the near future.