Golden Knights trade Ryan Reaves to New York Rangers for draft pick

golden knights ryan reaves trade
Mar 8, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) skates with the puck in the first period during a game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights continued to make alterations to their roster as they traded Ryan Reaves to the New York Rangers on Friday morning. In return, they received a third-round draft pick in the 2022 NHL draft.

Ryan Reaves is a bruising presence that impacts the game with his physicality. However, he has been suspended many times as he walks the line between physical and dirty.

Reaves, a very popular player in Las Vegas due to his play but also because of his community work, is the second fan-favorite to be traded this week. Marc-Andre Fleury was traded to Chicago earlier in the week.

The New York Rangers have been looking to build a tougher lineup ever since their star player, Artemi Panarin, was thrown to the ground by Tom Wilson last season. The acquisition of Reaves seems to be partially in response to that incident.

Tom Wilson, the player that threw Panarin to the ground, has a history with Reaves as the two had many altercations when the Golden Knights met the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup finals. The Rangers play the Capitals in their first game for this upcoming season.

Golden Knights continue to tweak roster

The Golden Knights decision to move Reaves means that they are continuing to tweak their lineup. The recent trade to bring in Evgenii Dadonov resulted in another winger being added to the group, pushing everyone further down the depth chart and moving players like Reaves to the press box.

By recouping a draft pick the Golden Knights ensure that they at least some value for Reaves, even if the third-round pick has a relatively low chance of producing an impact player.

Still, there is never harm in having more draft picks and the Golden Knights have found value in mid-round picks in the past. Nicolas Hague was a second-round pick in 2017.

Ryan Reaves replacement?

While Ryan Reaves may not have always shown up on the scoresheet, it’s fair to say that he always made an impact in some way. Just his presence was enough for other teams to change how they play in fear of receiving one of his devastating hits.

Golden Knights Ryan Reaves
Jun 18, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) during the warm-up session before game three against Montreal Canadiens of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden Knights are going to lose some of that edge with the absence of Ryan Reaves but they have enough checking forwards that they will remain one of the tougher teams to play against. Their physical style is part of their identity and they shouldn’t have an issue keeping that together.

Bringing in more forwards like Dadonov will help give the Golden Knights more skill and hopefully more goals. They have struggled at times with putting the puck in the back of the net and more skill might help them break those slumps, especially in the playoffs.