The Vegas Golden Knights now have a roster, and it’s not void of notable players.

CHICAGO – After the Nashville Predators marched to the Stanley Cup Final on the strength of elite defense and savvy goaltending it’s easy to understand why the Calgary Flames surrendered a 2018 first-round pick and two second-round picks to land defenseman Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders on Saturday.

The Flames’ top four defensemen – Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton and Hamonic – now rank in the top three in the Western Conference. 


“We feel like we have two pairings we can put out against anyone,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “We really like the player, love the character of this kid.”

That’s why the Flames didn’t blink at the price for acquiring Hamonic, a 26-year-old who has appeared in 444 games for the Islanders.

In addition, Treliving appreciates the value of having Hamonic tied up for three seasons at the below-market cap hit of $3.8 million per year.

Now that the draft is over, here is some unfinished business as the free-agency period bares down on July 1.

Rangers need puck-moving defenseman

With Derek Stepan traded to Arizona and Dan Girardi bought out, the New York Rangers have $20 million in cap space to sign restricted free agents Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast and to find a backup goalie.

But before assuming the Rangers are in position to sign unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, remember they were up against the salary cap because of overpaying on lengthy contracts.

They don’t want to go there again. Going after defenseman Brendan Smith and pursuing another puck-moving defenseman in a trade might be a more prudent course of action.

Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, acquired from Arizona, has offensive abilities and becomes a candidate for playing time next season. But he’s not going to solve the Rangers’ problems on defense.

Avalanche must makes changes

While it is fine if the Colorado Avalanche don’t trade center Matt Duchene because the offers are not good enough, it’s not acceptable for them to stand pat after a 48-point season.

The Avalanche registered 21 fewer points than the second-to-last team. They gave up 122 more goals than they scored.

The team owes it to its fans to make moves, such as bringing in a new goalie and acquiring two defenseman, perhaps from Vegas, which has a few to spare after last week’s expansion draft.

More work for Golden Knights

Speaking of the Golden Knights, GM George McPhee claimed 13 defensemen in the expansion draft, and he’s already traded David Schlemko and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

It’s safe to assume McPhee will move other defensemen, especially after free agency begins and teams miss out on their targets.

Colin Miller should draw considerable interest. Luca Sbisa, with his 465 NHL games, should probably be dealt. It would make sense to trade Jon Merrill for a young forward.

Flyers search for netminder

Michal Neuvirth isn’t going to play 60 games this season.

The Flyers have to add a true No. 1 or someone to share the load with Neuvirth. Options include free agent Brian Elliott or talking to Detroit about Petr Mrazek. Would Ryan Miller come east on a one-year deal?

There’s also veteran Cam Ward sitting in Carolina with one season remaining on a $3.3 million deal.

A coach for Arizona

The simplest solution for the Coyotes would be to promote associat head coach Jim Playfair.

The time of Dave Tippett’s departure on Thursday isn’t ideal. But there are intriguing options, such as veteran Lindy Ruff or Denver University coach Jim Montgomery, who was in the race for the Florida job, or Todd Nelson, who just won the American League’s Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids.

Reach a decision on Alex Galchenyuk

He’s only 23 and his name has been in the rumor mill this year.

It’s unfair for a player of his age to be so unsettled. It would be best for the Montreal Canadiens and Galchenyuk if they dealt him in the next week or two.

There is considerable interest, and what the Canadiens want in return may depend on whether they can re-sign winger Alexander Radulov.


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