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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 14)

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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Don’t Get Too Excited About Stephane Da Costa

Since the signing of Vadim Shipachyov the Golden Knights have been rumored for just about every international player considering coming over to the NHL. The new name everyone is all excited about is Stephane Da Costa. Some of you might remember Da Costa from the sporadic 47 games he played with Ottawa over four seasons. Pathetically, I’ll admit I only remember the 27-year-old by the violent hit he took from Dion Cuthbert-Phaneuf.

The native Parisian and former Merrimack college standout signed as an undrafted free agent in March of 2011. Da Costa made his NHL debut a couple weeks later. However, he never found success with the Senators, which is why he eventually landed in the KHL. During his time in Ottawa, several red flags were revealed. One in particular that put him in the Ottawa doghouse.

He couldn’t even play in the league two years ago… he wasn’t strong enough. He wasn’t fit enough. His game wasn’t competitive enough to play in the league. –Paul MacLean, Senators Head Coach 10/01/13

From past reports, Da Costa’s reputation took a hit. He skipped rookie camp and showed up out of shape in 2011. Not a great sign for an undrafted free agent. Ottawa definitely believed in Da Costa’s potential but ultimately became frustrated and moved on.

Factors that can’t be overlooked are his determination to improve his weaknesses and his willingness to commit to the journey that landed him an NHL opportunity. –Hockeysfuture.com

The Golden Knights need to sign players, but also have to be creative in doing so. Shipachyov was a great example of that. He was a player that’s never played in the NHL, has been thriving in the KHL for years now, and the upside is through the roof. The Golden Knights jumped on him first and now, his age, skill and value will ultimately help the new franchise. Da Costa on the other hand, may be trending upwards in the World Championships but he’s projected to become just a role player on the Vegas roster.

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Alexander Ovechkin Coming To Vegas… NOT

They did it again, they made him get out of his worn-out lazyboy. Its time again for everyone’s least-favorite uncle, Uncle Sour. Just like his frustration from the Claude Julien and Daryl Sutter to Vegas reactions, the overreaction of a possible Alex Ovechkin to the Golden Knights trade is getting silly. I ask one simple question, does it make sense for Vegas or Washington?

That’s a team (Vegas) that can take anybody. But what are they going to give. That’s the problem, they have nothing to give. If ownership is ready for that, there’s your chance. Here’s your chance and it’s not coming every year. –Renaud Lavoie, Sportsnet

Lavoie suggests the Golden Knights are a open for other team’s trash. The idea of an expansion team taking “anybody” is bad business, especially for the future development of the franchise. The team is blessed with a fresh cap, why would they want to instantly weigh it down with a contract like Ovechkin’s? Lavoie also mentioned Vegas would have nothing to trade back. Which is another reason this deal won’t happen. The organization has plenty to offer but it’s not mortgaging the future for a 31-year-old winger. The former Caps GM was brought to Las Vegas to build a wining franchise long term, not a three-year fading All-Star team.

What other GM in the NHL will be given the leeway to build a roster like McPhee? He knows this and will be patient building a wining franchise. Sending future first-round picks to the Capitals for their HoF sniper is goes against the strategy he’s been preaching since he first got here. Possibly, in a few years when McPhee’s sitting on a potential playoff team Ovechkin could make sense. By then, his contract length will be much more manageable and the price tag on Ovi will have gone way down.

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Doubting Any Ilya Kovalchuk To Vegas Rumors

After signing Vadim Shipachyov, GM George McPhee went on to confirm the team was also considering KHL player Evengi Dadonov and now the SKA rumor train continues with the news of Ilya Kovalchuk’s desired return to the NHL.

What does this mean for Vegas? Well he’s a KHL teammate of Shipachyov and he’s a former NHL All-Star. The former New Jersey Devil captain scored a career total of 328 goals and had 816 points in 816 games. Very good numbers for an 11-year period. If the Golden Knights were able to attain Kovalchuk, expect a very dangerous Vegas top line. But what’s the price?

We’re told to expect significant interest in Kovalchuk, who turned 34 this month, from teams that came up a goal-scorer or two shy of competing for the Cup. -Larry Brooks, NY Post

Now obviously Kovalchuk is going to want multi years, or else he’s not coming back. That’s the whole point here – it’s his last shot at a multi-year deal. I’ve got to think despite his age that you’re looking at between $5-6.5 million per year. -Pierre Lebrun, TSN Toronto

McPhee just signed Shipachyov, a 30 year-old center, to a two-year $9M deal. It’s possible they could jump up to $5M per season for Kovalchuk, but that won’t be enough for him to play for an expansion team. From all reports, the former number one overall pick wants to contend for a Stanley Cup. Vegas may be forced to pay the veteran forward more than his bottom price. At that point, the Golden Knights might decide to move on. But wait, there’s even more to the story.

Thus, if the Golden Knights even want to consider Kovalchuk, they’ve got to go through the Devils to do it.

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Vadim Shipachyov YouTube Highlight Reel

The excitement of the Golden Knights new player is still fresh in fans minds. Vadim Shipachyov is creating a massive buzz in Las Vegas. Of course, he has no idea what’s going on in his new city because he’s too busy playing hockey. The second Golden Knights player in franchise history is currently padding his stats at the IIHF World Championships in Germany and France. Since, the paint is still dry for Vegas fans, let’s take a look at some of Shippy’s play at World Championships. Number #87 was the second assist man on Artemi Panarin’s PP goal.

Second IIHF WC highlight is Evengi Dadonov on a one-timer. Shipachyov has the initial pass behind the net.

Like I said, the Russians padded their stats yesterday embarrassing Italy 10-1. Ok, now let’s watch some actual highlights. Maybe some ones where he does something rather than just move the puck around and get credit for it.

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The New Golden Knight Is No Joke; Shippy’s Got Star Written All Over Him

Vegas, we’ve got player number two. Well really, #87. Vegas fans by now know Vadim Shipachyov’s KHL stats, skate size, and wife’s name. As Reid Duke is starting to realize, some Golden Knight fans have become proud stalkers.

At $9M for two years, the KHL champion, who we are now fondly calling Shippy, will be expected to score, facilitate, and protect the puck. All while getting accustomed to a new country and a new style of hockey.

At 30-years-old, the SKA St. Petersburg center will get a chance to breakout in Las Vegas like fellow Russians Artemi Panarin and Alexander Radulov did recently in Chicago and Montreal.

In February, we highlighted Rob Vollman’s analysis of Shipachyov’s KHL to NHL conversion statistics.

A Look At The Best Available KHL Free Agents

(Yeah, that’s right, Shippy’s name was on SinBin.vegas in February. Suck it Granger!) (Disclaimer: We really like Jesse Granger.)

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Six Mock Drafts, Six Different Players At Pick Number Six

Before we all give up on this year’s draft after that nightmare of a lottery, let’s take a step back and relax. Vegas is still selecting a top ten player. Arizona got screwed and dropped to seventh and look at their optimism.

It might be best for everyone in Vegas to take the Chayka, “oh well, at least this draft kind of sucks” approach, then our expectations won’t be set too high. The Golden Knights organization feels very comfortable with their choice of players at number six.

We scout, we do our work, we do our evaluations. We’ve had the benefit of being an expansion team, we’ve known for some time that we’ll draft in the top six picks. So we have a pool of players that are candidates for our pick. -Kelly McKrimmon, Golden Knights Assistant GM

The hockey world has been down on June’s draft but team execs like McKrimmon feel differently. Maybe the AGM is selling the pick to Vegas fans or he’s not and he’s actually going to be right. With that in mind, let’s look at latest mock drafts and the prospects each one has moving to Summerlin.

NHL.com
VGK selects RW Owen Tippett (Canada – OHL)

With their first draft pick the Golden Knights select the Mississauga (OHL) player some scouts believe is the best goal scorer in the draft. Tippett (6-0, 200) has an NHL-caliber shot and scored 44 goals this season, fifth-most in the OHL. With his outstanding shot and excellent skating ability, scouts have compared him to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel. -Adam Kimmelman, NHL.com

Craig Button TSN:
VGK selects C Michael Rasmussen (Canada – WHL)

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Adam McQuaid Says He Doesn’t Want To Be Drafted By George McPhee

We knew it was coming eventually, but now that it’s here, it hurts just as badly as we thought it might. Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid openly admitted he is not looking forward to June’s expansion draft, and it’s taking everything in me to not want to hate him for it.

It’s totally out of my control, but hopefully, it’s not the case. Adam McQuaid

McQuaid spoke with WEEI in Boston’s Big Bad Blog about the possibility of being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft. Ty Anderson of WEEI asked the eight-year veteran a few questions and you could tell June 21st wasn’t circled on McQuaid’s calendar.

The reality of the situation is they’re picking somebody from every team, so, I hope that’s not the case for me. I’ve won back here and I’ve always said how much I love it back here and I can’t imagine playing for another team. -McQuaid

I reached out to Big Bad Blog’s Ty Anderson and asked him about Darth Quaider’s comments. Here’s part of our conversation we had via text.

It’s somewhat assumed that the Bruins will lose one of Kevan Miller, Colin Miller, or McQuaid to the draft because they don’t really have many impact forwards unprotected, so I just asked him about the possibility of that happening. -Ty Anderson, WEEI Boston

As Anderson mentions in his article, McQuaid’s contract is very manageable at 2years, $2.75M and has the ability to guide a young team. George McPhee constantly talks about players character and strong veteran leadership. McQuaid fits that bill to a tee. The Golden Knights would be thankful to bring in a 30 year-old, right-handed, Cup winning defenseman for under $3M a season. In a way, McQuaid is kind of the perfect fit for Las Vegas. So I pestered Anderson more about McQuaid’s apprehension to play for the Golden Knights.

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Mike Kitchen, VGK Assistant Extraordinaire?

As it stands right now the Vegas Golden Knights are a fully functioning NHL franchise, if you just ignore their roster of one. Vegas is now preparing for the 2017-18 season just like the 22 other teams no longer vying for the Cup. With the head coach Gerard Gallant comfortably in the Zamboni seat, it’s time to add his staff of assistants. The organization will want to add two or three coaches to help direct special teams. Mike Kelly (the other guy in the taxi pictures), Gallant’s assistant in Florida and with the Saint John Sea Dogs, is the leading candidate to become one of those assistants, but there are still other seats to be filled.

In the NHL the assistant coach should be a good source of communication for the head coach and players. A hockey scout explained an assistant coach as the Tom Hagen of the team. The consigliere should always protect the head of the family and be trusted by the soldiers. Consider Gallant as the team Godfather and the soldiers as the players. The assistant coach will communicate the message. The Golden Knights will bring in a coach that should lead by example, communicate clearly and continuously work to improve the club. If that doesn’t describe Hagen, I don’t know what does. He politely told Tessio he couldn’t ‘get him off the hook’ and then sent him off to be killed. Okay, back to assistant coaching, here’s one potential individual who is currently in the sports pages.

Former St. Louis Blues head coach and assistant to Joel Quenneville, Mike Kitchen, was let go yesterday in somewhat of a surprising move.

Sources said Bowman likely fired Kitchen to reassert authority over personnel and send everyone, including Quenneville, a message going into next season. Bowman’s decision to fire Kitchen was also likely a move in self-preservation to pacify a demand for change coming. –Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune

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“Dirty” Players Who Could End Up As Golden Knights

The NHL postseason is emotional for players and fans alike. Players are so charged up and are giving everything they have. Off the ice, rabid fans are losing their voices in packed NHL arenas. The intensity is so high players are throwing their bodies around at full speed, which is why you see occasional dangerous and sometimes nasty hits. In the playoffs these incidents get amplified because of the possible impact. Nazem Kadri’s low check on Alex Ovechkin was the perfect example.

Many, including myself thought the hit was strategic and unjust. Watching it over and over left me furious with Kadri’s obvious motive.

So what do we do if players with a tainted reputation end up in Las Vegas? How can we root for dirty players that potentially suit up for the Golden Knights? Some players made mistakes and have cleaned up their acts and others continue to cheapshot. Let’s be glad Matt Cooke is out of the league.

Matt Calvert

Calvert’s name has made multiple mock drafts, including Fox Sports earlier this month.

If you didn’t know Calvert before the playoffs, I’m sure you do now.

His late attack on Tom Kuhnhackl was clearly malicious and deserved the suspension. Emotions got the better of him, but overall he’s not a repeat offender. Calvert is a decent NHL player and Vegas fans shouldn’t find it difficult to root for.

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