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Practice Facility To Be Named City National Arena

UPDATE: The Golden Knights made this official at 9:19 AM on Monday, July 24th.

We are thrilled to partner with City National Bank on this endeavor, as City National shares in our vision of growing the sport of hockey in Southern Nevada and has a strong commitment to the community. City National Arena will provide best-in-class amenities and programs for all skill levels and experience, regardless of age or gender. We look forward to officially opening our doors later this summer. –The Creator

ORIGINAL STORY (from 7/18/17) – We already knew the Vegas Golden Knights would be playing their home games at T-Mobile Arena, we now know the name of the $25 million building in Downtown Summerlin where they will be practicing.

SinBin.vegas has learned the Golden Knights practice facility is set to be renamed City National Arena in the near future.

A post on social media appeared today confirming the new title sponsor.

City National is a bank with four locations in the valley. Their headquarters are in Los Angeles and are a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada.

City National Arena in Downtown Summerlin is set to open in late August and will be the home of the first Golden Knights training camp. There will be two full size sheets of ice, the entire Golden Knights staff offices, a workout center, and a second story restaurant overlooking the rinks.

The Golden Knights would not confirm the name.

The Better Buy For $500 Million: Golden Knights vs. Hurricanes

So you’ve got an extra $500M hanging out in your bank account and you have an interest in owning a franchise in the best league in professional sports? You are presented with two options. 1) Buy an expansion team and bring them to Las Vegas. 2) Buy the Hurricanes and keep them in Carolina. Which way should you go? (Spoiler: This is a website that covers the Vegas Golden Knights. You already know our answer.)

The rumors are swirling in Carolina that Peter Karmonos Jr. is close to selling the team to former Texas Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg. The asking price should sound very familiar for Golden Knights fans. Of course while writing this article Forbes put out a story calling the Bloomberg report fake news, but who are we to get in the way of the McGregor/Mayweather battle of business website reports.

The first thing to realize when comparing which franchise is the better buy is the fact that $500M does not equal $500M when it comes to these two organizations. There’s a massive operating cost to get an expansion team to the same organizational framework as a team that’s been in Raleigh since 1997 and been in the NHL since 1972. Vegas needed a staff, an office, a practice facility, retirement plans, health care options, and a ton of “start-up business” marketing. It’s just an estimate based on what we know about the organization, but we believe The Creator is over $1 billion into the Golden Knights franchise, and their first game is still 84 days away.

Back to the Hurricanes. In cutting a check to the Karmanos family for $500M, what are you actually getting? First, a fully operational organization from team president to street teamers. Next is a hockey history. Now I’m not about to go out and say it’s a rich one, but the Hurricanes do have more Stanley Cups than the Capitals, Sharks, Senators, Predators, Panthers, Sabres, Canucks, Blues, and… the Golden Knights. Last is a roster of players and a pretty solid one at that.

But, the Hurricanes are ranked last in value on the Forbes “Business of Hockey List.” According to Forbes, they operate at a $15M a year deficit. They have the worst attendance in the NHL, filling just 64% of the building a night, and the team hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2009.

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CMO Nehme Abouzeid Out As CMO Of Golden Knights

Chief Marketing Officer Nehme Abouzeid announced on Facebook today that he is no longer a part of the Vegas Golden Knights organization.

Pro hockey effectively launched in Vegas. City excited. Team drafted. Brand rolled out. Flagship store opened. Fan base engaged and growing. Looking forward to the next journey helping other companies and brands do the same. Look for my own firm launching soon in Vegas. -Nehme Abouzeid on Facebook

Abouzeid was hired in November of 2016 and became the first Las Vegas local on the staff having worked at the Wynn and Sands for the previous decade.

Nehme left the Golden Knights having helped us reach many key milestones. We wish him the utmost success in his future endeavors. -Kerry Bubolz, Golden Knights President

**Stick tap to Jesse Granger of the Las Vegas Sun for breaking this story.**

Better Find A Center, Otherwise The Struggles Will Start And Never End

It’s not hard to see George McPhee believes in strength down the middle. He made that clear by drafting five centers in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately, that talent is undeveloped and unavailable. As for 2017-18, the unit will contain five centers, Vadim Shipachyov, Oscar Lindberg, William Karlsson, Cody Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault. The Golden Knights aren’t expecting much success this season, but for the future, one of those five needs to turn into a top line center.

Shipachov will likely start the year as the top center but currently, he has no NHL experience, and like most KHL imports, is a great unknown. The other possibility is Lindberg. He skates in with 134 games played and just over 850 face-off attempts. The 25-year-old Swede will have the chance to make a serious impact with Vegas.

Oscar loves New York and he loves winning, but he also loves ice time… He’s going to have a great opportunity to play major minutes and a major role in Vegas. Claude Lemieux, Lindberg’s agent

Lindberg’s career TOI average will certainly increase from 11:30 minutes per game. His effectiveness in all three zones will prove his value.

Karlsson’s impressive flow and off-the-puck play could help him climb the charts too.

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A 2018 5th Round Pick For…

There’s an old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There’s another saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” There’s even another one that goes, “you can only see the tip of the iceberg.” Then there’s a trade in which the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Marcus Kruger for “future considerations” on Sunday and a 2018 5th round pick for Marcus Kruger on Tuesday. All of that belongs in one paragraph, believe me.

Prior to the Expansion Draft the Chicago Blackhawks were one of the many teams that appeared to be in a bit of a pickle. They were hampered with seven NMCs and a salary cap situation that needed to be resolved. So, George McPhee and Stan Bowman got to work.

An agreement was made, Vegas would select Trevor van Riemsdyk at the Expansion Draft, trade for Marcus Kruger afterwards, and the Blackhawks would take “The Pledge” to not make a move get in the way of any of it. It took some time to complete the process, because of a $2M bonus in Kruger’s contract that was to be paid by Chicago, but on Sunday night the deals were done and Vegas and Chicago’s interaction with expansion was over.

George McPhee then flipped both players selected to the Carolina Hurricanes. In the end, here’s what happened…

Vegas Golden Knights receive 
2017 2nd Round Pick (Jake Leschyshyn)
2018 5th Round Pick

Carolina Hurricanes receive
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Marcus Kruger
2018 7th Round Pick (from Vegas)

Chicago Blackhawks receive
Expansion Draft Considerations
Future Considerations
(Cap relief)

There are so many ways to look at what went down here, and all fans/armchair GMs are free to look at it which ever way they please because you as you know, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS ACQUIRE 5TH ROUND PICK FOR MARCUS KRUGER (F)

Breaking Down McPhee’s Expansion Draft Interview With Sportsnet

Since Wednesday when the Golden Knights made their 30 selections from the Expansion Draft and subsequent transactions, GM George McPhee hasn’t been answering a ton of questions, especially with local media. Luckily, the guys from Prime Time Sports had McPhee on the phone for 20 minutes and asked a lot of the unasked questions.

Since there’s so much in the interview (and a few others), we transcribed the most important quotes and offered our analysis on what it means about the Expansion Draft, upcoming trades, and the future of the Golden Knights. Here it is.

(There were) only one or two teams we didn’t get a deal with that we thought they would want to have a deal to protect their roster. -McPhee

Analysis: Best guesses would be Ottawa, Nashville, Montreal, and/or Washington. Clearly seeing both Ottawa and Montreal going back after Marc Methot and Alexei Emelin proves they were unable to reach a deal during the Expansion Draft. Washington makes sense because most expected Philipp Grubauer to be selected and Vegas ended up taking Nate Schmidt. A deal may have been talked about and never reached… and/or McPhee wanted to stick it to Washington. Nashville lost James Neal, hard to believe they were okay to just let that happen.

The rules were better for us, but we were dealing with some things that hadn’t been dealt with in the past like free agents. It didn’t make a lot of sense for us to claim free agents when they were going to be free in two weeks. Unless it was a throw away pick. -McPhee

Analysis: Wait, what? So what was Deryk Engelland? He hinted at it a bit in a previous presser to a SinBin.vegas question saying there were some things to not like about Calgary’s list, but this really cements it. Calgary had nothing else at all to claim in the eyes of McPhee, so they went ahead and essentially threw the pick away by signing a player they certainly would have gotten on July 1st. (Engelland’s surprise to getting handed a contract during the Expansion Draft further confirms this.)

There were some teams where if you just looked at their situation there weren’t many ways out. If we didn’t do a deal with them, and they traded a player and lost a player, then they lose and we lose too. We thought it was better to get a deal done rather than claim the second best player or third best player.

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Expansion Draft Created Supply Outweighing Demand For Defenseman

Since the moment the Expansion Draft rules were released George McPhee found himself on a thin balance beam. One one side there’s the allure of picking the best 30 players available and stockpiling NHL ready talent that can not only win on the ice but also bring in high-level assets via trade. On the other side, there were ransoms being thrown out to lay off certain players, take on bad contracts, or completely give a team a pass in the Expansion Draft.

McPhee knew this was a difficult dance the whole way. They ran mock drafts and they saw what type of team they could put on the ice in year one. They had conversations with opposing GMs to see exactly how rich those ransoms were to turn a blind eye towards certain teams. And every chance he had, McPhee talked about the importance of staying upright on that balance beam.

Well now the Expansion Draft is over, the Entry Draft has come and gone, and free agency begins in less than a week, and at the moment McPhee and the Golden Knights are trying to maintain their balance, but there’s a clear wobble in the direction of taking on too many NHL contracts, specifically defenseman.

On June 21st the Golden Knights selected 14 defensemen. They ranged in talent from clear Top-4 to borderline NHLer, but all 14 were on NHL contracts. Vegas had created a surplus and it was time to start cashing in via trade.

A day after the draft a pair of defensemen were sent away. Trevor van Riemsdyk brought in a 2nd round pick from the Hurricanes and David Schlemko netted a 5th from Montreal. On its face, fine returns to begin trimming off the surplus of blueliners. But like in any form of commerce, demand must meet supply. Initially, it appeared that demand was high and the Golden Knights held the supply to make the most out of their 15 picks. But then Friday came and went, Saturday, Sunday, and it wasn’t until late Monday that the next defenseman was shipped away.

Marc Methot, the undisputed best talent of all the defensemen selected in the draft was sent to Dallas. The return, a 2nd round pick in 2020 and a goalie prospect the Golden Knights chose not to select 12 times while on the clock in Chicago.

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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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Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, And Erik Brannstrom In First Round

Despite all the rumors of the Golden Knights moving up in the Entry Draft, they decided to stand pat and make picks at #6, #13, and #15.

Their first pick was Cody Glass. Glass is a center from the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL.

Glass is one of the premiere playmakers in this draft thanks to his puck-protection skills, elite vision and soft hands. What makes him even more valuable is his great all-around game at such a tender age – he anticipates and reads the play well at both ends and does a tremendous job cutting o the middle of the ice. -DraftRecrutes.ca

No surprise the first pick in team history is from the WHL, the league assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon has been a coach, owner, and GM in for the last decade or so. Most mock drafts had Glass going in the top five, before Vegas, so this certainly appeared to be a steal for McPhee and Co.

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