Golden Knights Rumors: 3 Defenseman Becoming Trade Candidates

As the NHL trade winds continue to swirl around eliminated teams, the focus turns to the Vegas Golden Knights' defensive lineup, where Nicholas Hague, Zach Whitecloud, and Brayden McNabb are emerging as potential trade candidates, as noted by Jesse Granger of The Athletic and Kevin Allen of Vegas Hockey Now.

These three defensemen, each with distinct strengths and significant potential, are drawing attention from teams across the league looking to bolster their defensive corps.

Hague, the 6-foot-6, 230lbs defenseman known for his imposing stature and offensive capabilities, and Whitecloud, praised for his reliability and all-around play, offer appealing options for teams needing to strengthen their blue line. Meanwhile, McNabb's veteran presence and physical style make him a prime target for contenders seeking experienced defensive depth.

Over his five-year career, spent entirely with Vegas, the 25-year-old Hague has recorded 15 goals, 56 assists, 71 total points, a +22 plus/minus rating, 415 blocked shots, and 490 hits across 296 games played.

The 27-year-old Whitecloud has also spent his entire six-year NHL career with Vegas, putting up 17 goals, 41 assists, 58 total points, a +43 plus/minus rating, 409 blocked shots, and 412 hits across 247 games played.

Meanwhile, McNabb is more of a veteran, having played seven years with Vegas and 12 years in the NHL. However, the 33-year-old's best seasons have come with the Golden Knights, where he's recorded 21 goals, 88 assists, 109 total points, a +93 plus/minus rating, 1,107 blocked shots, and 1,228 hits across 502 games played. He would draw interest in the trade market.

The Golden Knights face cap constraints and upcoming free agency decisions, particularly around key forward Jonathan Marchessault, which complicates roster management. GM Kelly McCrimmon might consider moving one or more of these defensemen to free up space and secure financial flexibility.

Hague and Whitecloud, both on reasonably priced contracts, and McNabb, with his modest cap hit, are viewed as viable options to potentially trade away in order to achieve better cap balance and address other roster needs.

Hague has one more year remaining on his 3-year, $6.88M contract ($2.29M AAV), while Whitecloud is entering the third year of his 6-year, $16.5M contract ($2.75M AAV). McNabb is also entering the final year of his 3-year, $8.55M contract ($2.85M AAV), signed back in 2022.

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