The Vegas Golden Knights selected defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk from the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 NHL expansion draft on Wednesday night. The pick was announced as part of the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.
There’s “much speculation” that Vegas will flip van Riemsdyk to Carolina on Thursday when the roster freeze ends at 7 a.m. CDT, reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Van Riemsdyk was one of many players left unprotected by the Blackhawks for the draft, which required Vegas take at least one player from every team. There were reports the Golden Knights would be taking van Riemsdyk and center Marcus Kruger in a package deal, but the latter is staying in Chicago for now.
This leaves the Blackhawks with six defenseman on the NHL roster for next season: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook, Gustav Forsling, Michal Kempny, and Michal Rozsival. They’ve also added Jan Rutta and Darren Raddysh to the mix this offseason, and likely will be making more moves over the next few weeks.
Van Riemsdyk recorded a career-high 16 points in 58 games with the Blackhawks during the 2016-17 season. He was a serviceable depth player whose right-handed shot enhanced his value on a blue line without enough of those. He’s also on a cheap one-year, $825,000 contract for this season before becoming a restricted free agent in 2018.
The Blackhawks come out relatively unscathed, though, as they only lost a solid third-pairing defenseman without giving up any other assets. Some teams have given up first-round picks to prevent the Golden Knights from selecting valued players, but the Blackhawks were able to avoid that.