Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb.

Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb.


Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb was discussed as a potential NHL trade candidate.

The Vegas Golden Knights are currently in the negative in terms of cap space according to Spotrac, at approximately $3.69 million over the cap on July 11.

They’ve also lost several key free agents, including forwards Jonathan Marchessault, Anthony Mantha and William Carrier, as well as centermen Chandler Stephenson and Michael Amadio and veteran defenseman Alec Martinez.

Vegas has made a few moves to counteract these departures, but for every dollar they spend, they must find ways to create more cap space. That’s where trading stalwart defenseman Brayden McNabb could come into play.

The Hockey News’ Jacob Stoller highlighted the Stanley Cup champion and 590-game veteran (including playoffs) as a potential trade candidate on July 9 due to his contract. McNabb’s most recent three-year extension only has one year remaining, carrying a cap hit of $2.85 million. This will also be his age-34 campaign in 2024-25.

“If the Vegas Golden Knights want to wheel and deal at the trade deadline like they usually do, they’ll need to free more cap space and acquire more trade ammo, too,” Stoller argued. “Trading Brayden McNabb would do just that.”

He went on to point out that “the Knights have four other left-handed defensemen in Noah Hanifin, Shea Theodore and Nicolas Hague.” Continuing: “Theodore’s had to play on the right side as a result, and he told The Athletic earlier this year it’s a harder game than just having a right-handed defenseman there.”

Stoller acknowledged that it’s a bitter pill to swallow to send a fan favorite packing after seven seasons with the organization, calling him “tough-as-nails” and “an effective defenseman” who logs heavy minutes on the penalty kill. However, Vegas could use more financial flexibility and McNabb might be the best “trade chip” to part with.

Brayden McNabb Has Been in Vegas Since Golden Knights’ Inaugural Season

What more can you ask of McNabb from a Golden Knights’ perspective? After joining the franchise ahead of their inaugural season in 2017-18, the 6-foot-4 D-man has been on the ice for 502 regular season games with another 88 playoff appearances.

Scoring goals has never been McNabb’s specialty, but he has accumulated 109 points for Vegas, nonetheless, with a total +/- of positive 93. In fact, McNabb has never finished a season with a negative +/- with the Golden Knights — an impressive feat.

The reliable defender has also blocked over 1,300 shots and delivered nearly 1,500 hits for Vegas during the regular season and postseason combined.

Last year, McNabb performed as usual, logging a full 82-appearance campaign that included 26 points, 207 blocks, 149 hits and a +/- of positive 18. He averaged over 19 minutes of ice time per game, with 31 takeaways compared to 24 giveaways.

Stoller believes that it’s possible McNabb could fetch “a pair of mid-round picks and a prospect,” if traded either this summer or before the 2024-25 NHL trade deadline.

Could Robin Lehner’s Injury Status Help Golden Knights Get Cap-Compliant?

The status of goaltender Robin Lehner will be huge in determining how much cap space Vegas has at their disposal this season.

The Hockey News’ Paul Delos Santos broke down this situation on June 22, noting that the Golden Knights can either keep Lehner, buy him out or attempt to trade him. With the fourth option being a helpful trip to the long-term injured reserve or an early retirement.

If either of the latter two scenarios were to occur, Vegas would clear the $5 million cap hit that Lehner is currently owed, and the franchise could avoid trading someone like McNabb if they prefer to keep him for the final year of his contract.

Retaining Lehner would obviously be dependent on his health and would cost the aforementioned $5 million worth of cap space, while buying him out would “carry a cap hit of $750,000 in the first year, $2.25 million the second year and $1.75 million in years three and four” according to Delos Santos.

The Golden Knights writer called a Lehner trade the “least likely” outcome due to his uncertain injury status and availability.

Michael Obermuller covers the NFL and NHL for, where he began writing in 2021. His areas of focus include the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins, as well as the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. An NYC area native and Quinnipiac graduate, his previous bylines include FanDuel’s The Duel, King Fantasy Sports and Pro Football Mania. More about Michael Obermuller

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