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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 15)

What To Watch For At Development Camp

For fans that plan to go down to the LV Ice Center this week, here’s what we’re watching for at Development Camp.

The first Golden Knight
It’s pretty clear Reid Duke is a fan favorite already. After a week of signing autographs and snapping fan selfies, the first Golden Knight will take the ice. This week, look for Duke’s all-around skill that got the attention of the Vegas scouts. It could be beneficial for fans to compare the skill of Duke with like Alex Tuch, Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki.

Alex “The Great” Tuch
Minnesota didn’t enjoy giving up Alex Tuch. And why would they? The Wild invested a first-round pick on him and waited while he developed in the NCAA. The New York native has the size and skill to be an effective NHL power-forward. Hockey Future’s highlights Tuch’s stick-handling, shot, speed and hockey IQ. McPhee passed on a known commodity, hopefully, doubtful fans will get to see why this week.

Three in the top 15
I’m most excited to see the first-round talents drafted by Vegas, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Erik Brannstrom. All three are highly-regarded so their skill should be obvious to an idiot scout like myself. They’re young, incredibly talented but underdeveloped. It’ll be fun to watch them mature over the next few years.

Coaching
It should be the first chance we have to take a look Gerard Gallant’s coaching style. We aren’t sure how much it will be him taking the reigns or if he’ll let Rocky Thompson (Wolves), Phil Axtell (Mallards), or any of the other developmental coaches take control, but either way, the coaching is on display as much as the players are.

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Drew Doughty Weighs In On Losing “A Brother” To Expansion

Like when a six hits the stage at Little Darlings, it feels like all eyes in the world are on the Expansion Draft. You’ve heard from the analysts, the GMs, and us jerks here at SinBin.vegas, but what about NHL players, especially those who are going to be protected. Kings star Drew Doughty told TSN that expansion has been a huge topic among players.

Oh yeah, this entire season that’s all we were talking about. You know, who are we gonna lose to Vegas. And it sucks losing players on your team it really does. The fact that a team is coming in and taking one of our players away, one of your brothers. It could be one of my best friends and that’s a sad day for me. It’s a sad time but it’s also exciting because there is a new team coming in. -Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings Defenseman

Doughty implies that it’s been on players minds all season. I’m sure some even suffered anxiety thinking about their future. Meanwhile, protected players can sit back and enjoy a comfortable offseason.

It’s good for us since it’s a short flight to LA. And I’m sure we’ll develop a little bit of a rivalry there too. So I like it. -Doughty

Doughty is already staking his claim in Las Vegas. The Kings defenseman is happy about the short travel and the addition of a new divisional team, which in his mind really means more sleep and easier wins. Developing a rivalry starts with angry, passionate hockey. Both teams need to play competitively and every good rivalry needs some public chirping. Does this count?

Every one seems to think the road is going to be the team that is failing in Vegas because they’ll be out all night. The road team is going to be hungry when they step on the ice the next night. -Doughty

The Kings star isn’t attempting to act like the Pacific division big brother, but he is. Vegas fans will hate the confidence Doughty and his Kings bring to town. And there are more teams that feel the same. Brash road teams will win 6-3 or get lazy and foul it up. As long as one of those foul-ups eliminates LA from the postseason, Golden Knights fans will be fulfilled for the season. Is that too much too ask?

NMCs Causing All Sorts Of Expansion Speculation

Never before has the NHL world cared more about No Movement Clauses. The most obvious candidate to waive his NMC, Marc-Andre Fleury signed his paperwork after his third ring-fitting. Others like Dion Phaneuf were asked, and though it’s expected he declines, we may have to wait to see the lists to get the final answer.

With the buyout period looming and roster lockdown a few days away, NHL clubs are scrambling to get prepared for the Expansion Draft. However, some teams appear willing to stand pat and take their Vegas lumps.

In Florida, the first reports were that Panthers front office had asked defenseman Keith Yandle to waive his NMC. The 30-year-old signed a seven-year deal last offseason and apparently Florida was willing to chance him in expansion. Updated reports now confirm Yandle was never asked and will not be exposed. Out guess, Yandle was asked, politely declined, and then the team covered his back by saying they never asked.

Either way, Yandle’s exposure would’ve created an interesting dilemma. Had the Golden Knights selected the All-Star defenseman they could’ve scored big in a flip. Established teams are desperate for blueliners and a rock like Yandle would draw plenty of interest. Or, with the long term deal, would the Golden Knights have thought to keep him and make him part of their “Cup in 6” plans.

Other notable players with NMC’s that were not asked to waive; Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Andrew Ladd, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, David Backes.

A lot of things are out of my control right now. I don’t know what other teams are discussing with regard to expansion and Vegas. I know what I’d like to do, but we’ll see how it plays out. -Steve Yzerman, Tampa GM

In Tampa, despite speculation, the Lightning did not ask Ryan Callahan to waive his NMC. Reports are GM Steve Yzerman reached out to the Golden Knights and is interested in protecting more players in exchange for picks. The Lightning are also rumored to be shopping stud Jonathon Drouin possibly for a defenseman in Anaheim or Minnesota. Opposing GM’s are calling McPhee but they’re texting one another as well. But even if teams make offers to the Wild it doesn’t mean they’ll agree to a deal prior to the roster lockdown.

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Blue Jackets Sign Backup Goalie To Expansion Friendly Contract

The Columbus Blue Jackets recently announced they signed backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a one-way, two-year contract, and you, Vegas fans, should be rejoicing. Why? Cause starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has a NMC and isn’t going anywhere, which mean the 23-year-old Korpisalo may have just signed the perfect deal for Vegas.

Guaranteed to be a exposed, Korpisalo is really the ideal expansion selection. At 23-years-old (we are going to keep reminding you of this) and with only 45 NHL starts the future is wide-open for the Finnish goalie. Assuming the Golden Knights believe in Korpisalo, he would have two-years to win the starting goaltending job.

Korpisalo, 23, is expected to be a full-time Blue Jacket now – the one-way deal guarantees his salary, no matter if he plays in the NHL or AHL. Also, he would now have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors. The Blue Jackets will have to expose him in the NHL expansion draft later this season, so there’s a chance they could lose him to the new franchise in Las Vegas. – Adam Cairns, Columbus Dispatch

Korpisalo’s backup stats and starts took a dip this season. In 2015-2016, his record was 16-11-4 with a 2.60 GAA. This season he appeared in 17 fewer games and allowed more goals averaging 2.88 goals per game. His AHL stats declined as well. So again, Korpisalo could be considered a gamble, but… he’s also just 23-years-old.

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Calgary GM Thinks Vegas Is Getting Flawed Centers And Overpriced Wingers

Flames GM Brad Treliving was on Sportsnet radio yesterday discussing the Expansion Draft. Calgary doesn’t seem too concerned about their situation heading into the NHL’s 12th Expansion Draft. Returning from the Rookie Combine, Treliving noticed the impact of the Expansion Draft right away. It was a very active week among NHL front offices.

The combine for me was a little bit unique. The attendance was to the level it was, and busy. It’s busy, in the sense that everybody is trying to make themselves better. You’ve got this Expansion Draft, and you’ve got some activity that’s gonna take place. So, conversation has picked up for sure. -Brad Treliving, Calgary GM, Sportsnet 960

The Flames GM seems well prepared for the Expansion Draft and even discussed running a few mock drafts of his own. (We are still waiting for his entry into the SinBin Expansion Draft Contest) However, he knows it’s impossible to predict how it will play out. One thing Treliving can confirm is George McPhee’s plan to take back as much value as possible.

I think we’ve done three [mock drafts]. I think their view point, and it’s the correct view point, is it’s not so much an Expansion Draft as it’s an accumulation of assets. Future assets for them. Whether that’s picks, prospects. -Treliving

It’s nothing we don’t already know, but interesting to hear it from an opposing GM. Treliving suggested multiple teams will want to pluck from the pool of players Vegas selects. Teams could add the type of player they’re looking for through the assistance of expansion. Treliving makes it sound like an old-fashioned swap meet.

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McPhee Draft History Shows Positional Preference In First Round

As GM of the Capitals, George McPhee selected prospects in 17 Entry Drafts. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and yes, even Filip Forsberg, were McPhee’s top picks. The GM has a strong draft history which must continue if he’s going to find success in Vegas. With Washington, McPhee was able to collect extra picks and ended up with a total of 20 first round picks over 17 seasons. A strategy almost certainly be used with the Golden Knights.  The question is, will he go the same route positionally as he did in Washington.

YearRoundPick (Overall)PlayerPosition
199719thNick BoyntonD
1998249thJomar CruzG
199917thKris BeechC
2000126thBrian SutherbyC
2001258thNathan PaetschD
2002112thSteve EmingerD
2002113thAlex SeminRW
2002117thBoyd GordonC
2003118thEric FehrRW
200411stAlexander OvechkinLW
2005114thSasha PokulokD
2005127thJoe FinleyD
200514thNicklas BackstromC
2005123rdSemyon VarlamovG
200715thKarl AlznerD
2008121stAnton GustafssonC
2008127thJohn CarlsonD
2009124thMarcus JohanssonC
2010126thEvgeny KuznetsovC
20114117thSteffen SobergG
2012111thFilip ForsbergC
2012116thTom WilsonRW
2013123rdAndre BurakovskyLW

Based off past draft results, McPhee, like most NHL general managers, prefer to select centers (8 of 20 1st round picks) early in the draft. According to most analysts, the first round of this year’s entry draft could feature many young centers.

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Common Players Found Across TSNs New Expansion Draft Mocks

Two of TSN’s top analysts released their expansion mock drafts with many similarities. TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button and TSN’s Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli are two that are clearly in the know. From the players selected is it possible some secrets are already out of the bag?

Let’s start with the obvious. Go ahead and Twitter search “Marc-Andre Fleury + Vegas.” You’ll read multiple tweets about his eventual move to Las Vegas. In fact, there are even rumors floating that MAF’s wife was in Southern Nevada house-shopping. If any of our real estate friends out there can confirm this story we’d all appreciate it.

Both Seravalli and Button have Fleury taken as the Golden Knights first goaltender. Possibly the outcome of this season could impact the Cup-winning backstop’s decision. After his stellar performance in the first few series the hockey world realized Fleury has a lot left. In fact, there’s a running theory that Fleury and Matt Murray could split the Conn Smyth trophy. Talk about leaving Pittsburg on a high note Costanza. At 32-years-old, Flower could be a valuable commodity for any team. However, according to TSN experts, Fleury will waive his NMC and settle into his six-bedroom/ten bath Summerlin house Mrs. Flower picked out.

A second player selected by Button and Seravalli will be excite the local core. For all that are still upset about the absent “Las” you’ll be happy to read the name Jason Zucker on both mock drafts. Personally, seeing the Wild’s forward selected puzzles me. From all accounts, Minnesota doesn’t seem prepared to move on from the 22 goal-scoring winger. Maybe, the Wild are warm-hearted and will reunite Las Vegas with a native son. The question is, what will it cost the Golden Knights.

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Lessons To Be Learned From Nashville And San Jose

Two years in a row the Stanley Cup will be fought for by Pittsburgh and a “non-traditional market.” Like San Jose last season, Nashville won the West and made it to their first Cup final in franchise history. Analysts, like Pierre LeBrun believe the Golden Knights can learn from teams like the Predators and Sharks. If the empty seats in Ottawa didn’t blow up the whole anti-hockey in warm climate traditionalists, nothing will.  Let’s face it purist punks, you didn’t see any empty playoff seats in Nashville and San Jose.

This year’s San Jose is Nashville. Another non-traditional market that has been run the right way. Just like the Sharks, always have been. Always had a loyal following. Good ownership. And here they are… you have model organizations from non-traditional markets in San Jose and Nashville that get to the final. –Pierre LeBrun, on TSN Hamilton 1150

LeBrun believes Vegas can become a successful franchise by designing themselves after the Sharks and Predators organizations. Sure neither team has secured a Stanley Cup of their own but both franchises are well-run and consistently competitive. San Jose has qualified for the postseason 19 times in 25 seasons, and Nashville has qualified 10 in 19 seasons.

Not only does Nashville prove that, but we had it last year with San Jose reaching the Cup final. And what a wonderful story it was for the Sharks. Finally get over the hump and get to the final after years and years of being a contender. People took for granted that the Sharks sell out all the time. Oh yeah, San Jose. Shark Tank. What’s so different about a team in the middle of San Jose, California having success when teams in Arizona and Carolina haven’t hadn’t had as much success the last ten years? The difference is stability in management. -LeBrun

Consistency keeps fans interested and loyal. Once Vegas builds that strong, faithful fanbase, it’ll be easier during periodic lean years. Another factor LeBrun mentioned a few times. Nashville and San Jose have strong ownership and a dedication the fans to win. Who does that sound like? It’s really that way across all the professional leagues, it starts with a strong owner.

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High Skill AND High Character

Next week when the Penguins and Predators compete for the best trophy in sports, the next generation will be preparing for Stanley Cup dreams of their own. 18-year-olds from around the globe will be in Buffalo for the NHL Draft Combine lifting weights, long-jumping, and doing extreme cardio tests like the Wingate and VO2. Golden Knights GM George McPhee and Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce will be in attendance looking for the sixth overall pick.

It’s a brand-new process for all the scouts on board, and you’re looking at [the] best available [player] that could deliver the best asset possible to the organization. Whether that’s a forward, defenseman or a goalie may vary with each selection. We’ll look at the best asset at that draft slot. That’s what you’re looking to add. -Scott Luce, Vegas Amateur Scouting Director to NHL.com

Luce continued to open up their process to fans and described the perfect candidate. The Golden Knights are looking for prospects with talent, determination and high hockey IQ. Most importantly, Vegas is specifically targeting players with elite skating skills, but it seems like Vegas wont be drafting players on ability only.

We want high-character, low-maintenance type players. It’ll be a good learning curve for the entire staff going to the combine and representing our organization. -Luce

Ah ha. There it is, the key word, high-character. Look across the NHL, successful teams of course have stars, but are full of impact role players. For example, Chris Kunitz went 35 games without a goal before his superb two-goal game seven. The owner of three Stanley Cup rings has dropped major minutes from his second and third Cup. However, a role player like Kunitz impacts the team through his professionalism and leadership. There are countless “character players” in the league that add much more than points. McPhee and Luce will scout for those prospects over a basket of Wild Wings.

We’re going to try and ascertain best practices we’ve used in other various organizations, so I think this year will be a great learning experience for us as a staff. But we want to come out of there with a comfort level with the young players knowing that they have what it takes to be a Vegas Golden Knight. -Luce

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May Not Be A Golden Knight Yet (Or Possibly Ever), But We Like Tyler Wong

While it’s technically not an NHL contract, our man Reid Duke has a teammate. The Chicago Wolves announced the signing of 21-year-old forward Tyler Wong to a standard AHL contract.

The right-handed forward is coming off a monster year in the WHL, scoring 109 points in 69 games. The Lethbridge Hurricane split the league lead with 51 goals in the regular season. Wong also has AHL experience playing three games for the Toronto Marlies.

Wong’s speed and tenacity in puck drills throughout the week culminated in a two-goal performance… He’s the type of high-character, hard-working player the Leafs like; seeing whether he builds on his tryout opportunity makes him one to watch. -Kristen Shilton, TSN Maple Leafs Reporter

Before we get excited, let’s be realistic. First off, Wong signed an AHL contract with the Wolves, not the Golden Knights. Though he’ll be playing on the Golden Knights affiliate, he’s not under Vegas’ control contractually, and does not count as one of the 50 contracts Vegas may have. Any team can scoop up Wong at any moment if they please. However, George McPhee and the Golden Knights staff will get a chance to coach him throughout this season.

A stingy, competitive two-way forward that has the skill to consistently create offense and the defensive awareness to limit the opposition’s time and space. Excellent vision and creativity. Strong on the puck and quick to get on the backcheck. Very active defensively and doesn’t give up his own end to dominate offensively. Many smaller players play on the perimiter, but Wong isn’t afraid of going to the hard areas and battling for possession. A true all-around player with the drive to compete and win. –Eliteprospects.com

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