NHL trade rumors: Vegas Golden Knights shopping Nate Schmidt

Nate Schmidt #88 of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)
Nate Schmidt #88 of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images) /

According to the latest NHL trade rumors, the Vegas Golden Knights are working on dealing defenseman Nate Schmidt.

The Vegas Golden Knights are working very hard to clear cap space so they can sign their top free agent prize, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. They’ll have to move some money off their roster to stay under the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling. According to the latest NHL trade rumors, the Golden Knights will most likely trade defenseman Nate Schmidt if they sign Pietrangelo.

This report comes from The Fourth Period. The Golden Knights have reportedly been planning on this because they’ve been shopping Schmidt for several days. He’s likely the odd man out on what should be a very crowded defense if they sign Pietrangelo.

Schmidt has five years left on his contract with a $5.95 million cap hit. Here’s what his salary looks like in each season.

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Salary By Season

  • 2020-21: $6,100,000
  • 2021-22: $6,000,000
  • 2022-23: $5,000,000
  • 2023-24: $4,950,000
  • 2024-25: $4,850,000

Contract data via CapFriendly

Schmidt had a down year in 2019-20, struggling as far as production and his underlying results. However, given his past results, he is still an effective defenseman and shouldn’t be written off just because of one bad year. And to be fair, Schmidt was hardly the only defenseman on the Golden Knights to struggle in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That said, his recent decline should be considered by any team that trades for him. Here’s a look at his relative xGF% (expected goals for percentage) in each season from 2017-18 through 2019-20.

Expected Goals For Percentage (at 5v5)

  • 2017-18: +0.39%
  • 2018-19: – 3.62%
  • 2019-20: -5.78%

Expected goals data via Natural Stat Trick

Schmidt has done very well in a second pairing role, but has struggled on the Golden Knights top defensive pairing. Teams might be willing to gamble on him bouncing back, though obviously, his contract could prove to be a bit problematic given these troubling times.

Potential Trade Suitors

The New Jersey Devils have been active on the trade market. Could they take on yet another salary cap dump? The Boston Bruins might be interested after losing Torey Krug and with captain Zdeno Chara resuming his playing career not a certainty. Both teams have the cap space necessary to take on his deal.

Next. Top 5 Trade Candidates This Offseason. dark

Want a dark horse? How about the Philadelphia Flyers, who need a Matt Niskanen replacement? They might have to move out some money to make it work, but keep in mind teams can go over the cap ceiling during the offseason. Schmidt is left-handed, but has experience playing on the right side. Or how about the Florida Panthers?