Ryan S ClarkNHL Reporter3 minutes to read
the The St. Louis Blues traded winger Ivan Barbashev to the Vegas Golden Knights in a move involving two teams going in different directions.
In contrast, the Blues capture potential Zak Dean. In the Golden Knights first round in 2021, El Center scored 24 goals and 49 points in 50 games in the QMJHL this season.
Possibly finding two-way forwards, the top nine forward became a priority when the Golden Knights announced on February 1 that captain and left winger Mark Stone had undergone a second surgery on his back in less than a year. Stone, who was injured on January 12, was initially ruled out indefinitely, and the team later moved him to long-term injured reserve.
Stone’s $9.5 million cap send to LTIR plus Shea Weber’s contract trade last week gave the Golden Knights the cover space to make a move. Vegas has gone 7-5-4 since Stone’s exit from the lineup, but they’ve won six of their past eight games.
Enter Barbashev. The 27-year-old has 10 goals and 29 points in 59 games this season. He is expected to finish this season with 14 goals and 40 points after scoring 26 goals and 60 points in 2021-22. Barbashev also scored nine points in 50 playoff games. He is also an unrestricted free agent pending his latest two-year, $2.25 million deal.
Barbashev’s arrival gives the Golden Knights a winger who can take penalties and play power. He also provides depth for a team that entered Sunday with the best record in the Western Conference. Vegas hold a two-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings and are one of four Pacific teams six points apart at the top of the standings. They are also two points ahead of the central Dallas Stars.
Barbashev was one of the few players left from the Blues’ Stanley Cup squad in 2018-19, and his departure is the latest sign that St. Louis is a team in transition from one that made the playoffs in four straight seasons. The match began on February 9, when the Blues traded All-Star winger Vladimir Tarasenko and defender Niko Mikkola to the New York Rangers for forward Sammy Place, prospect Hunter Skinner, a conditional first-round pick 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick 2024.
On February 18, the Blues sent captain Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-team deal. St. Louis also traded forward Noel Aciari away in the deal, and in exchange received forward Adam Godet, prospect Mikhail Abramov, a 2023 Leafs first-round pick, a 2023 Ottawa Senators third-round pick, and a 2024 Leafs second-round pick.
It gives the Blues, who entered Sunday more than 12 points out of place in last place, a great deal of capital. Prior to Barbashev’s trade, the Blues had nine draft picks this year (three in the first round) as well as nine draft picks for 2024.
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