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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 2 of 164

The Future Of The Goalie Position For The Golden Knights And Malcolm Subban

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have re-signed Malcolm Subban to a one-year $850,000 contract lining him up to once again fill the role as the back-up behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

Since claiming him on waivers a few days before the first game in franchise history, the Golden Knights have never wavered on their belief in Subban. He was immediately installed as the back-up and has kept the position through rough patches, injuries, and inactivity. The main reason for this is because of Dave Prior. Anyone who has ever spoken to Prior knows that he has confidence in Subban’s ability, and if he has it his way, Subban will be the next full-time goalie when Fleury’s time is up.

On the flip side, there are Golden Knights fans, who for the most part want to bury their head into a pillow every time they see Subban’s name on the lineup sheet. Most fans point to his disastrous 2018-19 season in which Subban as their reason for concern (or hatred). He went 8-10-2 with a .902 save percentage, allowed three or more goals in 14 of his 20 starts, and lost each of his first five starts and five of his last six starts in 18-19. Along the way, Subban has been injured on four different occasions including during the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

Then, there’s me, who falls somewhere in between but not really in line with either side.

First off, Subban is not bad… as a back-up.

Before we go into the future, let’s take care of the present. With the Golden Knights salary cap situation, it doesn’t get much better than Subban. There are 70 goalies with a contract equal to or greater than Subban’s new $850,000 deal. So monetarily, it’s perfect, if not cheap.

But beyond the money, Subban is exactly what you want as a back-up when you have a starter like Fleury. In a perfect world, the starts are split about 55/27 and Fleury takes the goal throughout a long playoff run. In that perfect world, all the back-up has to do is tread water. Subban has proven he’s more than capable of doing just that. In his Golden Knights career, he’s 21-14-4, has posted a .906 SV%, and allowed 2.81 goals per game. He’ll steal you a few, he’ll lose you a few, and he’ll hold down the fort in the rest. In short, he’s not going to be the downfall of a team.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s the imperfect world that makes Subban an even better option though. Physically, he’s gifted enough to take the reigns and become a legitimate starter, he’s just never had the chance to do it. In the event Fleury is unable to play for a playoff run (or he just gets old and stinks), the Golden Knights need someone with upside. Filling in a player like Ryan Miller, Calvin Pickard, or Antti Niemi simply won’t work. This isn’t to say Subban will be Fleury, but the capability is there, even if the probability is rather slim. Backup goalie is an insurance policy, and with Subban the Golden Knights get a player that’s affordable, won’t hurt them, and could help them in the event of a disaster. It’s a win, win, win.

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Can We Stop With The Maybe’s On Nikita Gusev?

Nikita Gusev has never played a game in the NHL. There’s no getting around that. But Nikita Gusev was not dropped onto the Golden Knights from some other unknown planet.

Gusev won the MVP award in the KHL, the world’s second-best league, each of the past two years. He led the league in points in 2018-19 by 13. He broke the record for assists in a season with 64. He’s been more than a point per game player for four years running. He’s won a Gagarin Cup and he’s scored 68 points in 66 playoff games. He even shredded as a kid, scoring 192 points in 120 games in the Russian Junior league, the MHL.

And these are just his Russian accomplishments.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Gusev helped Russia win the gold medal in the Olympics a year ago, scoring the game-tying goal (and the one before it) in the gold medal game and assisting on the game-winner and led the tournament in points.

He scored 16 points in the IIHF World Championships this summer, second only to William Nylander, matching Nikita Kucherov and Jakob Voracek, and outdoing Mark Stone and he’s put up 1.11 points per game in all international competition.

In 2011 at the World Junior Championships, Gusev scored nine points in seven games, which was outdone by only five players (two of which are Mark Stone and Evgeny Kuznetsov).

Literally, every place this guy has played hockey, he’s scored. And he’s done it alongside or against hundreds of players that have played in the NHL, and have had massive success.

In World Juniors his numbers matched Clayton Keller (2016), Auston Matthews (2015), Matthew Tkachuk (2015), William Nylander (2014), Filip Fosberg (2013), Anthony Mantha (2013), Nikita Kucherov (2012), Mark Scheifele (2012), Johnny Gaudreau (2012), Mark Stone (2011), and Jason Zucker (2011).

All of those guys are either bonafide NHL stars or on their way to becoming one.

In international play, his numbers compare to Alexander Radulov, Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin, Leon Draisaitl, Anze Kopitar, Mats Zuccarello, and William Nylander.

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Prospect Rankings – Goalies – July 5th, 2019

In the SinBin.vegas Prospect Rankings, goalies are always listed last. So, today we decided to bring the new goalie rankings to the forefront by giving them a post of their own. So, here goes.

Criteria to qualify for rankings:

  • Must be younger than 23 years old
  • Cannot have played more than 10 NHL games
  • Must be either under contract or drafted by the Golden Knights

Players are ranked based on value to the organization. The most important factor is the player’s ceiling, or how good they can eventually become, but also taken into consideration is how close they are to playing in the NHL and how likely they are to play in the NHL. This is NOT a ranking of which players are the best if a game were to be held today.

Recently Removed: Maxim Zhukov (forfeited rights)

GOALIES 

1) Isaiah Saville
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #135 overall
Age: 18 (September 21, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Previous Ranking: N/A

Saville has been by far the most impressive goalie in his first appearance with the Golden Knights. He looked incredibly confident in the goal and his technique was terrific for an 18-year-old. Dave Prior is constantly working with goalies to try and make minor changes to their game, often times throwing them off a bit, but with Saville that wasn’t the case. Prior wanted Saville to challenge shooters further out of the goal cutting down angles. He did it, and it seemed to make him even better as the week went on. Of the goalies remaining in the Golden Knights system, he’s the highest draft pick and he looks like he’s on the right path to becoming a solid prospect.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

2) Dylan Ferguson
Acquired: via Trade from Dallas Stars with 2020 2nd Round Pick for Marc Methot (selected in 2017 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #194 overall)
Age: 20 (September 20, 1998)
Most Recent Team: Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Previous Ranking: #2

The one aspect of Ferguson’s game that shows up the most when watching him is his compete level. He looks like he wants to save every single shot, no matter the situation or likelihood he should actually save it. In the scrimmage that he was able to play in Development Camp (he was hurt and missed the final two), it appeared like he was planning on winning the game singlehandedly for his team. The intensity is there, his style is aggressive, and he’s getting more and more consistent. For a smaller guy, his ability to look big inside of the goal is impressive and his athleticism is exciting. It appears like the Golden Knights’ plan for Ferguson is to hand him the reigns as the backup in Chicago, which says a lot about what the organization thinks of him as well.

More on Ferguson
1/8/19 – Ferguson has put up similar numbers to his other seasons in the WHL saving a little over 90% of shots. Due to his age he seems to be a bit further along than Kooy but the physical tools aren’t as promising. Don’t forget that he was the first to sign a contract, he was specifically targeted by VGK in a trade and he was seemingly the highest rated goalie in rookie camp. It’s neck and neck with Kooy but ties are no fun so Dylan drops down a spot.

9/12/18 – Ferguson didn’t play in any of the rookie games, which in theory should be a bad thing. Instead though, it indicates the Golden Knights rank him the highest, by giving him the first preseason game rather than a rookie game. We’ll heed VGK’s rankings and leave him atop the list.

7/28/18 – You might remember young Dylan from his short stint with the Golden Knights, but you should remember him from his solid showing at Development Camp. He looked confident in the goal, something he didn’t look while in the net in Edmonton or even at Development Camp in 2017. Ferguson has a little bit of an edge to him, and it seems to translate to confidence and swagger on the ice. Plus, he’s awesome interacting with kid fans when he comes off the ice.

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Updated Prospect Rankings – July 4th, 2019

(Last updated: July 4th, 2019)

Criteria to qualify for rankings:

  • Must be younger than 23 years old
  • Cannot have played more than 10 NHL games
  • Must be either under contract or drafted by the Golden Knights

Players are ranked based on value to the organization. The most important factor is the player’s ceiling, or how good they can eventually become, but also taken into consideration is how close they are to playing in the NHL and how likely they are to play in the NHL. This is NOT a ranking of which players are the best if a game were to be held today.

Recently Removed: Reid Duke (age), Maxim Zhukov (forfeited rights)

SKATERS

1) Cody Glass (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #6 overall
Age: 20 (April 1, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking #2

Following a tremendous, yet injury-riddled, year in Portland of the WHL, Glass made the jump late in the season to the AHL. It took him no time to start producing at that level scoring multiple goals in his first game and leading the team in points in the playoffs. The time is nye for Glass to make the next step to play in the NHL, but a crowded group of centers with the Golden Knights might hold him back once again. I still have my same concerns about how high the ceiling is for him in regards to creating offense, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Cody Glass is going to be a solid player in the NHL. He’s the prototypical Golden Knights center, who forechecks, backchecks, takes care of the puck, plays a 200 foot game, and is always in the right spot. He may not be on the Golden Knights on October 2nd, but he’ll be in steel grey and gold before this season is out.

More on Glass
1/8/19 – Glass was named one of Team Canada’s top three players at World Juniors while centering the Canadian’s first line. He scored two goals and tallied five assists in the tournament. In the WHL he continues to put up video game numbers scoring at a more than two points per game clip. He’s proven to be an excellent defensive center with terrific vision. However, only two of his six points came in the final four games of World Juniors and the same concerns I’ve had with him earlier remained. I’m just not sure he’s got the offensive upside necessary to eventually be a Top-6 player in the NHL. Scouts and coaches continue to rave about him, and he’s shown to be dominant at Junior levels, but it needs to continue against over-age players and we’ve yet to see that in extremely limited action.

9/12/18 – As the #6 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, Glass was expected to be a top-six type forward. He still may eventually become that, but his performances in the rookie games made him look like he’s more likely headed for a role as third center. He makes a lot of little plays on both ends that impress, but he doesn’t quite show the flair that a top-end guy should playing against other 19-year-olds.

7/28/18 – The first draft pick in Vegas Golden Knights history has done nothing but dominate since being selected by George McPhee. He scored 102 points in 64 regular season games in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks including 37 goals. What makes Glass such a promising prospect is his ability (and willingness) to defend. He’s been relied upon in Portland as a top penalty killer and is consistently given a large minute load when his team is ahead. He’s also widely regarded as a tenacious forechecker, a skill that will fit in well with the current Golden Knights roster. Glass projects in the NHL as a two-way player with good speed, solid vision, and the ability to score. He’s still likely a year out from making the NHL roster and will probably head back to Portland this year

 

2) Peyton Krebs (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #17 overall
Age: 18 (January 26, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Previous Ranking: N/A

The Golden Knights first pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is everything and more that you can ask for out of a center prospect. He’s a 200 foot player, plays in all situations, has a high level of skill, drives the offense on his line, and has great hockey sense and compete level. Unfortunately, Krebs came to camp with an injury and wasn’t able to skate. Had he gone out and dominated camp, he would have had a real shot to have been #1 on this list due to his ceiling. Hopefully he makes it took rookie camp in September, if not, World Juniors will be his next real shot to show he’s ready. By then, Glass will probably have played in 10 games, so don’t be surprised if Krebs is atop this list the next time it is updated.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

3) Pavel Dorofeyev (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #79 overall
Age: 18 (October 26, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
Previous Ranking: N/A

This guy has skill for days and he’s only 18-years-old. Dorofeyev slipped in the draft, but he impressed mightily at Development Camp in his first appearance. The KHL prospect is incredible controlling the puck and advancing it to dangerous areas. His vision is stupendous which matches his passing. After a full season on the international-sized ice it was to be expected that Dorofeyev would not look as comfortable on the puck on the smaller rink, but that couldn’t have been further from reality. He’s got a long way to go physically, but the upside on Dorofeyev is incredibly exciting.

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Exactly What George McPhee Has Said About Nikita Gusev

Over the course of the last week, the Golden Knights signed William Karlsson, traded Erik Haula and Colin Miller, and participated sparingly in the opening of free agency. Following each of those four events, George McPhee took to the podium to meet with the media.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Nikita Gusev, the one major piece missing to the Golden Knights puzzle, was a focus throughout each of the four meetings. He remains unsigned and rumors have begun swirling about the eventual outcome of his contract negotiations.

Most of the rumors have stemmed from what McPhee had to say about Gusev during those press conferences. So, instead of trying to read between the lines of every word, I’m simply going to present every word McPhee said, in chronological order, about trades, contracts, and Gusev.

Tuesday, June 25th (Karlsson extension)

Well, we are going to have to make a few moves. We’ve planned for that and we’re going through that exercise right now and when we’re done we’ll talk about it and explain it. -McPhee

The plan was to build the team as best we could, every once in a while you get tight on the cap in this business, we’re there now. We’ll manage it and we will hopefully be in a much better place going forward with lots of cap space if we ever need it. -McPhee

Thursday, June 27th (Haula trade)

Well, I mentioned the other day that we have to make a few moves, but the moves that we’re going to make when we make them are hockey moves. It has to be a good hockey trade for us. Lots of names have been discussed, other teams have called on lots of different players. -McPhee

Did having Gusev here allow you a little more flexibility to move a winger like Haula? -Media

Um, yeah, I guess so. And again we’ll see where things go in the next few days, but we made a move yesterday and there’s probably another one coming and we’ll talk about that when it happens. -McPhee

There is a lot of activity right now. It’s a busy time of the year and there are a lot of teams talking about lots of different things. I would expect that next week we will reveal a lot of signings of free agents and other trades.

Saturday, June 29th (Miller trade)

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #160: Gusev Day Already Over?

It’s July 1 and the Golden Knights are pretty much done making moves. However, there’s a big one hanging out there and from the sounds of it, he might be bait. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Trading Gusev, is it really an option?
  • What else needs to happen?
  • The dreaded third line
  • Development Camp review
  • Cereal talk

And much more…

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

2019 VGK Free Agency Tracker

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

  • Brandon Pirri has re-signed with the Golden Knights. Two-year deal at $775,000 AAV. (Source: SinBin.vegas)
  • Deryk Engelland is set to sign a one-year deal to remain with the Golden Knights. (Source: @TheFourthPeriod)
  • Golden Knights sign Patrick Brown to a two-year deal. The first year is a two-way deal at $700,000 NHL value. The second year is a one-way deal also at $700,000.(Source: @DarrenDreger)
    • Brown was the captain of the Calder Cup winning Charlotte Checkers.
  • Vegas has signed Tyrell Goulbourne to a two-way contract with an NHL minimum value. (Source: @PuckPediaPuckPedia)
  • Ryan Carpenter has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks for three years at $1 million AAV. (Source: @ChrisKuc)
  • Pierre-Edouard Bellemare signs with the Colorado Avalanche for two-years at $1.8M AAV. (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Max Lagace will sign with the Boston Bruins on a two-way deal with an NHL value of $700,000. (Source: @renlavoietva)
  • Nikita Gusev and Jimmy Schuldt are NOT eligible for offer sheets per the NHL’s official free agency list. (Source: SinBin.vegas)
  • The Golden Knights did not extend a qualifying offer to Tomas Nosek. He becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, George McPhee confirmed they are close to reaching a deal. (Source: SinBin.vegas)
    • Nosek has been signed for one-year at $1 million.
  • Daniel Carr is signing with the Nashville Predators. (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Zach Fucale signed an AHL deal with the Syracuse Crunch. (Source: @SyracuseCrunch)
  • Tyler Wong is headed to the KHL. (Source: @KRSchina)
  • T.J. Tynan signed with the Colorado Avalanche (Source: @renlavoietva)
  • Brad Hunt has re-signed with the Minnesota Wild for two-years at $700,000 AAV. (Source: @RussoHockey)
  • Brendan Leipsic has signed with the Washington Capitals. (Source: @@ikhurshudyan)
  • Golden Knights Expansion Draft pick Calvin Pickard is expected to sign with the Detroit Red Wings. (Source: @frank_seravalli)

The Free Agency Tracker is brought to you by Adam S. Kutner and Associates, the best Las Vegas personal injury attorney.

2019 Development Camp Takeaways

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

2019 Dev Camp has wrapped up which leaves us with no hockey to watch for a brutal two months. So, in the meantime, we’ll have to over-analyze three meaningless scrimmages at City National Arena as if they were the end all be all of the development of the prospects.

Joking, of course, but seriously, here are my takeaways from what I saw at Development Camp this week.

  • Safety first
    • It starts with Cody Glass. He played in the first period and a half of the first scrimmage and was taken out due to precautionary reasons. No reason to risk him getting hurt in scrimmages against kids he’s already better than. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. Didn’t seem like it was.
    • Dylan Ferguson, Marcus Kallionkieli, and Dylan Coghlan were all kept out of scrimmages as well. It’s always disappointing to not see these guys play in the rare chances we get to in person, especially Kallionkieli. He didn’t stand out much in one scrimmage he did play, but if he was hurt, that makes sense as to why.
  • 2017 Draft Picks looking like NHLers
    • The 2017 Draft will forever be one of the most important in team history. For a club that had just come off the Expansion Draft and had a boatload of picks, they had to cash in on a few. It’s starting to look like they did.
    • Jonas Rondbjerg was the most consistent and best player in camp for me. His two-way game stands out when you really key in on him. He’s a tremendous forechecker and is really good along the walls in all three zones. He’ll start the season in Chicago, but I’ll go on record with the bold prediction that he plays a game in a VGK uniform in 2019-20.
    • Jack Dugan was a close second to Rondbjerg, constantly making things happen when he was on the ice. He’s turned into a wrecking ball and it’s fun to watch him play in the offensive zone. The dude is relentless in his pursuit to get the puck back. The one thing I was missing was the finish. He scored a beauty on a breakaway but there were four or five other chances I thought to myself, that could have been a goal, and they weren’t. When they first got him I wasn’t sure what to think, last year he started to make me think he had a shot, now I’m willing to say I’d be surprised if he isn’t an NHLer at some point.
    • Lucas Elvenes started to look like the player I read about when they got him. His vision is incredible on the ice and there’s no pass he can’t make. He’s mentioned to me in the past that the smaller ice has taken him some time to get used to and you are starting to see it. He finally looks comfortable on the puck and when it’s on his stick something good is bound to happen.
    • I wanted to see a bit more out of Jake Leschyshyn, Ben Jones, and Nick Campoli. There were moments for all three, no doubt, and there’s no question each seems further along than they’ve been in the past, but I just didn’t see the flash that made me say, that kid’s going to the NHL one day out of any of the three. Of course, they’ll two of the three will be heading to Chicago and the other back to NCAA (Campoli), which will give them much more of a chance to keep taking the steps.
  • Love me some Pavel
    • I enjoy skilled players. Russian players tend to be very skilled. Thus, I tend to like Russian players., but I really like Pavel Dorofeyev a lot. His ability to hold onto the puck while advancing it into more dangerous places on the ice than where he got it is impressive, especially for an 18-year-old. Pretty much every time he touched the puck there was danger for the defense. This is also talking about a kid who has hardly ever played on North American sized ice. Wait until you see the updated prospect rankings, I’m super high on this guy, to say the least.

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McPhee Says Miller Move Opens Door For Rookie D-Man To Make Roster

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s taken quite some time, but it looks like the rookies are finally fully cooked and ready to play in the NHL.

With the move of Colin Miller the Golden Knights roster currently stands with just five NHL players under contract and likely a sixth when Deryk Engelland re-ups in Vegas.

While the trade was made to help with cap compliance it was also made to provide some hope for the young defensemen we have in the organization. We really believe we have some terrific young defensemen, different flavors, bring different things to our lineup.  -McPhee

There are five players with a legitimate claim to that open spot. They are Nic Hague, Jimmy Schuldt, Zach Whitecloud, Jake Bischoff, and Dylan Coghlan.

So this is going to be a year where we’re going to add a rookie on the blue line and we have different flavors and I’m not sure which one at this point will do it, but it brings some enthusiasm and some freshness to your lineup and we believe will make us better because these kids are good, they are good players. -McPhee

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Report: Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller To Buffalo For 2nd And 5th Round Picks

First went the winger, now comes the defenseman.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have continued to move pieces out to get back down below the salary cap by moving Miller to the Buffalo Sabres.

Vegas gets a 2nd round pick in 2021 (originally STL’s) and a 5th in 2022. The Golden Knights now have extra 2nd round picks in each of the 2020 and 2021 Drafts.

Miller was a healthy scratch for the first game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Golden Knights lost to the Sharks in San Jose. He was re-inserted into the lineup following that game and played the remaining six games of the series. A few days after Game 1, head coach Gerard Gallant said this…

Well when Colin plays real solid hockey it doesn’t matter who he’s playing against. It’s not the opponents (that matter), it’s the way he gets ready mentally. We were a little disappointed he didn’t play Game 1, but since then he’s played real solid hockey. -Gallant

Miller scored just three goals in 2018-19, but did post 26 assists and was a constant on the Golden Knights power play.

The Golden Knights defense now has just five players under NHL contract. Those players are Nate Schmidt, Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore, Nick Holden, and Jon Merrill. Deryk Engelland is an unrestricted free agent who could return to the Golden Knights, but even if he does, trading Miller certainly appears to open a space on the roster for a rookie.

Zach Whitecloud, Nic Hague, Dylan Coghlan, Jake Bischoff, and Jimmy Schuldt (who is an RFA) will battle for that spot in training camp.

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