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Two AHL Signings; Who Are Jake McLaughlin And Zack Hayes?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the NHL hit the pause button 26 days ago, the Golden Knights have conducted two pieces of business. Well, technically the Henderson Blank Blanks conducted the business, but you get my point.

Both moves involved the signing of undrafted free agent defensemen to AHL contracts.

First, the Golden Knights announced the addition of Jake McLaughlin from UMass Amherst. McLaughlin played four years in the NCAA improving in +/- and capping out at 14 points in 34 games this season.

McLaughlin is a 6’2″, 190 pound, left-handed stay-at-home defenseman. He led his team in blocks two of his four seasons. UMass was an impressive 10-1-1 when McLaughlin scored at least one point. He attended 2018 Development Camp with the Chicago Blackhawks.

McLaughlin reportedly received offers from multiple AHL teams before selected Vegas (or really Henderson). Speaking on a recent podcast, he detailed the moment he learned Vegas was interested.

I was with my cousins in a car. I get this call from a random number; Las Vegas. And I’m like, ‘what the hell?’ So I answer it and he says, ‘you know who this is?’ (I said,) ‘No.’ He said his name, he said I’m blah blah blah from the Vegas Golden Knights. And I’m like oh shit this is legit. So I talked to the guy and he made his pitch to me. He said there’s going to be opportunity with this new team and we really like you. So I was on the phone with him for 15-20 minutes. –Jake McLaughlin to Moousecast Podcast

**It was probably Mike Levine, director of amateur free agents, that called him.**

A few days later he signed. McLaughlin says George McPhee called him after he signed. They told him Development Camp is scheduled for late June but it’s hard to tell if that will happen or not.

McLaughlin went undrafted when he was eligible and says he wasn’t receiving a lot of attention throughout the season, but according to CollegeHockeyNews.com he “transformed himself into one of the most reliable players in college hockey.”

The other signing was completed yesterday. That was Zack Hayes, a 20-year-old defenseman who was playing in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders.

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Playoff Participation Plan Diminishes Vegas’ First Place Finish

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Silly comments from P.K. Subban shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone around the Golden Knights. Remember this?

He knows he bit me. I’m not trying to rip his head off. I’m not that type of player… I don’t know how I walk out of there with four minutes in penalties… It wasn’t explained. They tried to apologize after the fact that they gave me four minutes in penalties. My finger is bleeding. I don’t know what you want me to do.-P.K. Subban accusing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare of biting his finger, 01/23/19

Well P.K. is back, and he’s pushing the idea of a ridiculous 31-team playoff. Subban believes the NHL should allow every club a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, including his 68 point Devils team. Contenders like the Golden Knights worked hard to position themselves for a Cup run, but none of that matters to the former Norris Trophy winner.

It was kind of floated around… I saw a few things on social media and I like that. For my team specifically, we were pushing to make the playoffs down the stretch. I would like to see our team have an opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup. I’d love too see a 31-team playoff and give those pesky Devils an opportunity of bringing the Cup back home to New Jersey. I’d love to see that. -PK Subban on ESPN

While it might sound intriguing to certain fanbases, it makes zero sense for any legitimate contender. In fact, the real losers would end up being the Golden Knights and other elite clubs. Why should they be punished for playing strong during the 71-game paused season?

The NHL is not college basketball, or even the World Cup. The Stanley Cup playoffs is not a tournament of rewarded participants, it’s a tournament of winners. So, why would Vegas, St. Louis, Boston or Tampa want to risk playing a team that has nothing to lose, and face losing to a #16th seed? They wouldn’t, and frankly, they’d be wronged if the league forced them too.

If you’re New Jersey, you’re sitting there and you say, ‘okay fair enough we realize below the cut line.’ Then you say but Montreal, sitting with 71 games 71 points. The Devils go ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, time out, we’re three points behind Montreal with two games in hand. Why would you give Montreal a chance?’ The Devils would say ‘well Montreal can’t be a part of any postseason thing because we got a better point percentage then them.’ So, I guess that’s kind of where P.K. was coming from. -Bob McKenzie

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#PauseGame Round 4 – April 4th, 2020

FINAL ROUND – DOUBLE POINTS!

Use nickname if you do not have Twitter. Email address only required if NOT using a Twitter handle.
A ton of people put "JFK," but I have no clue which part of the JFK assassination conspiracy they believe to be true? I'm assuming that there was more than one shooter, but it's too confusing so we threw those answers out.
Per GE, if there is an unusually large amount of silverware the spoons are the ones that you should face up. Thus, if you picked spoons only, you are only a semi-idiot. Everyone else, SHAME.
The other option was "The 1 seed is taking on the higher-seeded 4 seed."

Thank you to #PauseGame sponsors!

#PauseGame Round 3 – April 4th, 2020

ROUND 3 OF 4 – DOUBLE POINTS!

Use nickname if you do not have Twitter. Email address only required if NOT using a Twitter handle.

Thank you to #PauseGame sponsors!

#PauseGame Round 2 – April 4th, 2020

ROUND 2 OF 4

Use nickname if you do not have Twitter. Email address only required if NOT using a Twitter handle.
Selected Value: 0

Thank you to #PauseGame sponsors!

#PauseGame Round 1 – April 4th, 2020

ROUND 1 OF 4

Use nickname if you do not have Twitter. Email address only required if NOT using a Twitter handle.
Note: "Over" is the more common style.
The other option was "honest."
One answer got 100 votes, the other got 96.

Thank you to #PauseGame sponsors!

DeBoer Has No Interest In First Round Bye

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

16 teams? 20 teams? 24 teams? They’ve all been floated as the NHL tries to figure out how they’ll return to action when the pandemic finally subsides.

For the Golden Knights, because they sat atop the Pacific Division when the league was paused, the smaller the tournament, the better. But, there’s one major hurdle even teams atop their divisions believe needs to be cleared.

Whatever the answer is, whoever’s team goes on that Cup, there has to be enough integrity to the process and the decision on how we’re going to do it so that team isn’t going to have an asterisk beside it in the history books. –Pete DeBoer on ESPN on Ice

In other words, whatever the format ends up being, there has be enough teams in the playoffs to make it feel like the winner truly is the best team in the league. No matter how tight the schedule gets, there won’t be any consideration of a four-team, or even eight-team, tournament when hockey starts back up.

Which leads us to the two most likely scenarios. The first is to stick with the normal 16-team playoff format the league has used for years. Everything remains the same and if you weren’t in the playoffs when the league halted, tough break. Everyone in the playoff picture, like Vegas, believe this is the best plan, but the five or six teams on the outside have different thoughts.

That’s what birthed the second idea, which is an extended playoff with 20 or 24 teams. For an example of what that could look like, check out our friend Drew Goldfarb’s proposal.

This scenario, as well as pretty much any other one with greater than 16 teams, gives the Golden Knights a bye in the first round. That’s something that sounds great, but in the eyes of Pete DeBoer isn’t.

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AHL Arena In Henderson Facing Opposition

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Things aren’t looking quite as golden, or should I say silver, as they did a few months ago when the Golden Knights took over the state of Henderson address announcing the construction of a 6,000 seat stadium.

The plan is to replace the current Henderson Pavilion with a state of the art hockey arena to serve as the permanent home of the AHL team The Creator recently purchased. The team was set to practice at the new facility being built on Water St., play at Orleans Arena for the next few years, and then move to the future arena on the corner of Green Valley and Paseo Verde.

Obviously, the shutdown of the league, and the world for that matter, caused by the coronavirus will present some challenges, but the issues go well beyond that in the eyes of many Henderson residents.

Stories recently published on KNPR and in the Review-Journal show Henderson and the Golden Knights appear to have different ideas than those who live and work in the arena.

Basically there were three meetings, they were hour-long meetings, exact same presentation. Packed packed meeting rooms and long lines to get to the next one… This wasn’t really a meeting in support of this hockey team and this new venue that would support it, these were people who seemed pretty concerned about this new venue in their neighborhood. -Mike Prevatt, KNPR

The issues range from minor to major with the minor ones surrounding traffic and parking while the major issue wondering about the way in which the city is going about making the arena a reality and how much of the money to pay for it is coming out of Henderson residents’ pockets.

Mayor Debra March has said Henderson would pay for half the building with up to $40 million in public money, but the city has since backed off that figure, saying the cost has not been determined. -Blake Apgar, LVRJ

The proposal is expected to be brought to the city council officially on May 19th according to the RJ.

Normally concerns voiced by the people end up holding little weight when it comes to the construction of arenas and the decisions to publicly finance them. However, the current state of the world is likely to at least throw a bit of a wrench into the works for the Golden Knights and their AHL plans.

What seemed like a slam dunk a few months ago may not look so clear when the question of spending $40 million on an arena comes up in a little over a month’s time.

Concerns of traffic, parking, and infrastructure, while probably all fair and valid now, will likely be answered as more plans are unveiled, but the financial aspect of the project will remain uncertain, to say the least.

The Golden Life After Hockey

The one downfall of being an NHL player is that it’s not a lifelong job. The average American retires around 65, but for the average pro hockey player it’s 33. While it’s a highly desirable job, earning high salaries, and entertaining millions, there’s still plenty of life after hockey.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was asked which current player he thought could become a good NHL GM, and his answer was not surprising.

Sidney Crosby is a hockey junkie. He loves the game. He loves to talk about the game, he follows things closely. He has a great awareness of what’s going on. I don’t know if he’ll go into management but it won’t surprise me. If he did go in, he would be all in. He’s got a real passion for the game and that reflects in knowledge and a thirst for knowledge about all things hockey.-Bob McKenzie, TSN

So it got us thinking, which current/former Golden Knight would make a good NHL general manager?

Jason’s candidates: Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Shea Theodore

Ken’s candidates: David Perron, Nate Schmidt, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Max Pacioretty

There are many elements that go into being a successful general manager, the biggest one is accepting the harsh reality of the business side of hockey. The Islanders Lou Lamoriello is a great example of being a stone-cold executive, even Vegas’ George McPhee has an icy side. Maybe it’s education, or it comes with experience. Pacioretty felt the chill up in Montreal where he was constantly made the scapegoat. From the fans, media, to team executives, #67 had a lot on his plate. However, he still managed to score 226 goals for the Canadiens. Pacioretty accepted his high-profile role as an American captain in Montreal, and professionally handled his daily responsibilities, no matter how combative they were. In the end, he was traded by the organization he gave it all for, and it didn’t phase him. By then, he had already been schooled about the dirty business.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After one year at his local high school, Pacioretty moved on to a hockey prep school, then to the USHL, and lastly the University of Michigan before becoming an NHL player. Since the age of 15, the Connecticut native was heavily recruited and scouted, so he’s well aware of that process.

As captain, Pacioretty needed to work the room and find balance with all of his teammates. Even loud, overbearing teammates like PK Subban. Being captain allowed him insight on how the team was built. What the front office was doing right and what went wrong. With several failed seasons in Montreal, I’m sure the 31-year-old veteran took note of the poor decisions made by the organization.

His experience early on with the recruitment stage, witnessing of building up and tearing down rosters, adding in his tough skin and Pacioretty has the resume to become a future general manager. (written by Jason)

David Perron

Man, I miss David Perron. Perron is one of the most intriguing players both on and off the ice.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

His hockey mind is always on full display when he’s playing as he just seems to have a knack for finding holes in the offensive zone where he can hold onto the puck for a little longer than anyone else who has ever worn a VGK jersey. He sees the game at a different speed than most and I’d have to think that would translate well into scouting as well as team construction.

Off the ice is where he really made me believe he has what it takes to be a GM though. He’s one of the few players in Golden Knights history who really cared about stats and even advanced stats. He’d talk about Corsi, zone starts, through-percentage, and many other pieces of data that proved he’s a true hockey junkie.

The intelligence he displayed in breaking down complex game situations as well as his understanding of the salary cap and the business end of hockey has me believing he would be not only the most likely to become a GM, but also the best future GM of any current or former Golden Knight. (written by Ken)

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #192: Hidden Injuries

Locked inside Ken’s house, we chat about the Golden Knights moving blueprint and where they stand once hockey resumes. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Who were the three hidden injured guys?
  • Why make excuses for a blueprint that’s worked?
  • Erratic front office?
  • The McPhee way
  • DeBoer, McPhee, or McCrimmon

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

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