Could Hague be on the move?
The NHL Entry Draft and the start of free agency are quickly approaching, and the Vegas Golden Knights are preparing to make some moves. One of them could reportedly involve defenseman Nicolas Hague.
According to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, at least two Eastern Conference teams are “seriously interested” in acquiring Hague from the Golden Knights. Hague, 23, will become a restricted free agent on July 13.
Hearing at least two Eastern Conference teams are seriously interested in acquiring Vegas defenseman Nic Hague. Golden Knights obviously in a cap crunch right now; Hague needs new RFA contract.
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) June 26, 2022
Like most players on the Golden Knights’ roster, Hague’s 2021-22 season was hampered by injuries. After missing nearly a month with a wrist injury in January, Hague also suffered a lower-body injury in March that kept him out of action for the final quarter of the season.
Despite the injuries, Hague still managed to take a positive step in his third season as an NHLer. With veteran defender Alec Martinez also out of commission due to injuries, Hague’s average time on ice skyrocketed to 18:39 per game while playing alongside Alex Pietrangelo. His raw scoring numbers were nothing to write home about — he logged just four goals and 14 points in 52 games — but his play-driving statistics were respectable and he set a new career high in shots on goal with 116.
On one hand, it’s understandable why the Golden Knights could be considering moving Hague. They’re loaded with talent on the back end. Pietrangelo, Martinez, Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb form a very strong top four, and Zach Whitecloud is turning out to be a heck of a find as an undrafted player.
Still, Hague brings some serious potential to the table. Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 230 pounds, he’s a huge, feisty defender capable of providing some respectable secondary scoring from the point. He’s not a complete defenseman by any means, but his size alone makes him a valuable asset on the back end — especially on the penalty kill. And while the Golden Knights need all the cap space they can muster, Hague isn’t expected to earn that much of a salary increase.