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Burke Bashes Broken Golden Knights Business Model, Players Upset

Is the business model in Vegas broken? With rumblings players are getting upset about trade rumors, how long can this approach last?

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Understandably, there are some rumblings regarding Vegas players being upset their names have been rumored in trades. That’s what happens when the team you play for is constantly going after big-ticket free agents.

The Golden Knights are currently in pursuit of this year’s high-profiled free agent star Alex Pietrangelo. As a result, they’re going to be forced to move contracts to fit him into the mix. Paul Statsny was already traded and buzz is that Nate Schmidt could be on the move. But, names like Alec Martinez, Jonathan Marchessault and, of course, Marc-Andre Fleury have been thrown around in trade talks recently.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli notes:

Fair to say the core of Vegas Golden Knights is unnerved as the Pietrangelo Watch hits Day 4. They saw Paul Stastny shipped out. They’ve heard all of their names in play – Fleury, Schmidt, Smith, Pacioretty, Martinez and Marchessault – as they now wait for the other shoe to drop.

Former GM and now Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke suggests it’s a broken business model. He said during a recent interview about free agency, “Part of the problem in Vegas is that they can’t keep bringing guys in, giving them long-terms and then quitting on them after two years. This is going to get very old.” He added, “This is almost the cycle of a junior team, where you come in, you build for two years and then you replace everybody. This is not how it works in the NHL.”

Burke added that guys will stop going to Vegas is they “know they’re going to get chopped after two seasons.”

Robin Lehner Vegas Golden Knights
Robin Lehner Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights Are In a Unique Situation

Because there’s no state tax in Nevada and because the team was competitive right out of the gate, players may continue to seek out Vegas as a destination. Even if it’s just to take home the most money possible and live in a nice city with great weather for a couple of seasons. If Vegas continues the high turnover, that may or may not change.

The Golden Knights also know that NHL players look at them every year. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said, “We’ve had discussions with lots of different people over the last few days and weeks. I won’t get into specifics with individual players but it’s safe to say around the NHL it’s a busy time.

Is this really an issue? We’ve yet to see if affect the Golden Knights, but there are rumblings players are starting to feel unappreciated. If there’s an underlying feeling that no player is safe and that anyone can be replaced by the next shiny new toy, how long before players look to teams where they feel they have more stability?

Or, how long before players demand in their contracts that they have no-move and no-trade clauses worked in? If Vegas starts to hand those deals out, things could really go sour in a hurry since they can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to spending big money.

Next: Blackhawks Veteran Core “Pissed” At Management, Slams Team Direction

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