The Vegas Golden Knights are trading forward Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2024 third-round pick. The 2023 NHL Draft will begin on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET from Nashville with the first round. Rounds 2-7 will take place starting Thursday afternoon. The Golden Knights are fresh off their Stanley Cup championship and parade after defeating the Florida Panthers. Smith had been one of the original Golden Knights’ players selected in the expansion draft in 2017.
Smith, 32, has two years remaining on his contract worth an average annual value of $5 million per season. The Penguins should have around $15 million in cap space following this deal and were in need of another forward who can play in the middle-6 and on the power play. Smith had 56 points (26 goals) over 78 games for Vegas this past season. Over six seasons with the Golden Knights, the forward registered 286 points (124 goals) in 399 NHL games.
The Penguins aren’t really in need of draft picks. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin nearing the end of their careers, Pittsburgh is trying to piece together another Stanley Cup team. While Smith is closer to the end of his career, he brings experience and should fit in nicely on the second or third line. Depth became an issue late in the season for the Penguins despite trading for Mikael Granlund. Smith not only provides some depth scoring but can help on special teams.
The Golden Knights get some cap relief by dumping Smith on the Penguins. Vegas now has some money to sign G Adin Hill to his reported extension while also looking to bring back forward Ivan Barbashev, acquired before the deadline from the St. Louis Blues.