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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Category: Team Ops (Page 2 of 42)

Another Side Of Reid Duke

Reid Duke has a good size chip on his shoulder after being drafted 169th overall in 2014 by the Minnesota Wild but not being offered a contract with the team. However, that chip pales in comparison to another event in Duke’s life which he had never talked about publicly until a recent interview with the Calgary Herald.

Engrossed in a period of deep concern over where his hockey career was going, Reid Duke received a phone call in the fall that would alter his life forever. It came five months ago Monday, with news his close uncle, Sheldon Reid, was one of four men who died in a plane crash that also killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice. -Eric Francis, Calgary Herald

Duke’s uncle Sheldon was a major influence on his life as well as on his hockey development. Sheldon turned an old horse barn into a fully functional hockey rink in which Reid practiced hours a day growing up.

I spent thousands of hours there with my two brothers and Sheldon’s son, Dylan. It’s literally a horse barn. The Zamboni is parked in horse stalls, which is pretty cool. It’s just amazing the part he played in my life – he was a huge part of my career. -Reid Duke

His uncle was also crucial in motivating him to be the best hockey player he could possibly be.

He was such an amazing person. After that incident, it really made me focus on not taking anything for granted and really remembering everything he taught me and everything he would want for me. He wasn’t someone who would just come to hug and smile, he really, really pushed me, whether it was on or off the ice. -Duke

There’s no question the impact it had off the ice as during the media tour in Vegas, Duke found a way to work his family into answers to questions every time possible. He gave off a sense that it wasn’t just about him, it was about everyone who helped to get him to this point, especially his uncle, whom he never mentioned by name. I got that feel before knowing this story, now I really get it.

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If Nolan Patrick’s A Golden Knight, It’ll Be For Good Reason

Since the signing of Reid Duke, the entire Golden Knights fan base have been playing make-believe GM. The dream transaction almost every armchair general manager (including myself) wants to make, is drafting top rated prospect Nolan Patrick. By now, we’re all aware Nolan and Duke play together in Brandon, Manitoba. Patrick is currently projected first or second in most analysts mock drafts. Duke, who becomes the Golden Knights first signed player could also become the team’s first player ambassador.

Of course, we can’t expect Kelly McCrimmon to exchange all of his Brandon currency for Vegas gold but his influence could help. If he believes Patrick is worth trading future assets for, I’m sure his boss will listen. George McPhee wouldn’t just trade up for a splash, but we have to imagine McCrimmon’s opinion is heavily valued by the GM. Conspiracy nuts like myself and Alex Jones expect lottery shenanigans leading to Vegas magically getting the first pick, but the possibility of drafting four to six is real if the odds are legit.

McPhee will be having very serious conversations with all 30 GMs in the near future so he’ll know (he might already) what the price of moving up will be. Analysts like Craig Button and Bob McKenzie are both down on this year’s draft but that doesn’t mean a team will make trade-swapping easy on Vegas.

Now that we know the situation, we have to ask the obvious question, is trading up for Nolan Patrick is even worth it? The projected number one pick’s numbers are silly over the past three plus seasons in Brandon. In 28 games this season, the right-handed center has 42 points. Last year he posted 102 points in 72 games with a rating of +51. Out of Patrick’s 18 goals this season only a few are assisted by Duke. While both centers play many shifts on separate lines, they continuously show up together on Brandon’s lethal power play unit. The Wheat Kings are in the top half of the WHL, scoring 64 PP goals this season. Teaming up on special teams in Vegas could be one reason to reunite Duke and Patrick. 

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NHL Will Televise Expansion Draft Unveil

After this pesky 30 team hockey season going on right now comes to a close, the eyes of the hockey universe will all be focused on Las Vegas.

The Expansion Draft takes place from June 18th to the 20th with the unveiling of the rosters on the 21st. The NHL Awards show is expected to be the same day, and finally we’ve got some clarity on how the NHL plans on showing the world the 30 players George McPhee selected in the Expansion Draft.

In a conversation with Puck Daddy at the league general managers meetings about the upcoming NHL Awards, chief content officer Steve Mayer mentioned that the NHL will look to televise both the awards and the announcement of the expansion roster of the Vegas Golden Knights around same timeframe Las Vegas. It’s currently unclear, which television partner the NHL will use for the expansion draft. –Josh Cooper, Puck Daddy

Before you jump down anyone’s throat saying, “they should televise the draft itself!” read this, then come back and finish this article.

It is a step in the right direction that the league has confirmed it will indeed show the reveal of the picks, hopefully on NBC or at least NBCSN.

The Creator has said on multiple occasions that the Expansion Draft reveal will be at T-Mobile Arena, will be open to the public, and he wants to announce a pick once every five minutes. With the event being on TV, they’ll likely have to speed it up a bit, but it should be a memorable event no matter how it actually goes down. The Creator has even gone as far as saying he expects the building to be at max capacity, which would be amazing.

The Golden Knights are expected to unveil their jerseys at the Expansion Draft reveal as well.

As for the NHL Awards Show, we have multiple sources who have told us the preliminary plans are to hold it at The Park Theater right next door to T-Mobile Arena. Previous Awards shows have been at the Hard Rock, Wynn, and Palms, but there’s no denying now that MGM has a theatre the correct size (around 4,000), they’ll want to keep the NHL’s events all in the family.

The news of televising the reveal isn’t surprising in the least, but with the recent revelations of the league considering not making the protection lists public during the Expansion Draft, we’ve learned not to take anything for granted.

So, good job NHL on televising the reveal. For sure change your mind on the protection lists though, and also let’s try and put the reveal on TV somewhere people will actually watch it, and by that I mean not NHL Network.

The Dark Knight Will Determine A Lot Of Golden Knights Successes Or Failures

Batman is one of the few superheroes that does not actually have a special power.

“He relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will,” or at least that’s what Wikipedia says.

He’s there to fight crime and save Gotham City from evil, but in every adaptation of the world’s most beloved fictional character, there’s a dark side, which earned him the nickname, the Caped Crusader, or more fitting for the topic of this website, the Dark Knight.

The Vegas Golden Knights have a Dark Knight of their own. His name is Kelly McCrimmon, and he’s the mastermind that has the ability to pull strings not many in NHL circles posses.

Ask someone who knows him, and without a question the word smart will be in the answer. Rather than physical prowess, martial arts abilities, and all the other crap that makes Batman, Batman, McCrimmon has his own set of skills. “Excellent talent evaluator,” “brilliant hockey mind,” “incredible work ethic,” “a real asset in the role he’s been cast in.” And I have a feeling that “indomitable will” is probably in there when it comes to helping the Golden Knights put a winning product on the ice.

McCrimmon is, the Dark Knight of Vegas hockey.

As the former GM and coach, and still the owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, McCrimmon has an understanding of junior Canadian hockey like few in the business.

Putting the pieces together, he’s likely the reason Bob Lowes, Raphael Pouliot, and Bruno Campese were hired as scouts, and probably had a direct connection to many more that don’t have as obvious of connectable dots. As far as players go, he’s one for one. The signing of Reid Duke is just the beginning of what’s likely to be a long line of players headed to Vegas directly off the recommendation of McCrimmon.

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A Deeper Look At Duke’s Skills

The Vegas Golden Knights have their very first player, his name is Reid Duke, and he’s just as excited as his new fanbase. The 21-year-old is currently on a whirlwind media tour that started with yesterday’s hour long media call, he joined a host of radio shows including our friends Tyler Bischoff and Coach Jim Bolla (interview begins at 39:15), and will join Ken today at 5pm on KXNT. The Brandon Wheat King forward spoke like an old pro, spitting back mature responses to the various questions we threw out at him. Now we know his age, his stats, his contract, but what should we expect from Duke on the ice with the Golden Knights?

Most hockey analysts immediately praised GM George McPhee on his first player acquisition. From all accounts the Wheat King had been scouted by many clubs over the past five seasons. Two-way forwards are incredibly valuable to an NHL team and could be one reason Vegas targeted Duke. During yesterday’s call, the young forward stressed the importance of becoming an effective all-around type player.

Friend of the site and Brandon Sun reporter Perry Bergson, covers the Wheat Kings and has seen Duke play on a consistent basis. The Sun reporter emailed me a few notes on Duke. Bergson was fair on his assessment giving positives and some negatives… but to appease Ken’s ridiculous expectations (he’s being sarcastic, relax) we will hold the negatives till later.

He’s a good player. He has a terrific toe drag and shot. He’s a thick kid who plays a heavy game. Very personable and mature. -Perry Bergson, Brandon Sun

Another good indication of Duke’s talent is Assistant GM McCrimmon’s desire to acquire him… again. In 2014, McCrimmon pulled off a lopsided deal to bring Duke to Brandon. After the trade McCrimmon was ecstatic saying it was “a major trade for our hockey club” and that Brandon picked up “a tremendously-talented forward with an excellent pedigree potential.” McCrimmon yesterday sounded like he’s still as impressed with Duke as he was back in 2014.

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Stagnant Salary Cap Good News For Golden Knights

The NHL GM Meetings kick off from Boca Raton today with Golden Knights GM George McPhee finally allowed to be a part. The 31 general managers will discuss things like coaches challenges, the offside rule, bye weeks, concussion protocol, among many other rules and regulations.

There’s one that’s particularly interesting to Vegas though, and it has nothing to do with the Expansion Draft. It’s the salary cap and how projections are for it to remain stagnant rather than the normal annual increase.

The NHL apparently anticipates the cap to remain flat next season, with little if any increase projected over this year’s $73 million ceiling. So the major-market franchises that drive NHL revenue and successful clubs that habitually are cap teams get hammered again in attempting to maintain — or improve — their personnel while the small market clubs go along for the ride. –Larry Brooks, New York Post

If this does indeed come true, which we should find out sometime over the next three days, it’s a win for the Golden Knights.

We’ve always known that teams are going to be looking for a way to dump contracts on McPhee, which he has a plan for.

I’m not taking on any bad contracts unless someone wants to pay us to take on a bad contract. I’m really not interested in that, we’ll claim somebody else if we have to. -George McPhee

With the cap not increasing, teams like Chicago, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and a host of others who are already up against it will have some tough decisions to make.

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If A Deal Was Done For Eric Fehr, Why And What Would Vegas Get?

The trade deadline came and went with the Golden Knights making some of the biggest news. No, they didn’t actually announce the acquisition of any players, draft picks, or expansion agreements, but they did become a “fully operational member” of the NHL.

Thus, George McPhee was effectively in the game before the clock struck midnight on the deadline. The NHL’s gibberish rules for what the Golden Knights can now do state that even if McPhee did pull off a deal, it could not be made official until every player involved has completed their 2016-17 season, which won’t happen until April at the earliest.

However, that didn’t stop the guys over at Hockey Central from speculating that deals were indeed agreed upon. Former Columbus BJ’s general manager Doug MacLean basically guaranteed the Golden Knights agreed to at least a few deals, and even went as so far as to mention one player by name. Eric Fehr.

Eric Fehr, the former Capital (hint, hint), Jet, Penguin, and now Maple Leaf just so happened to play his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings (hint, hint, hint, hint!). His contract expires at the end of the Golden Knights first season and is a reasonable $2 million for the right winger. He’s been around the league, is considered a good locker room guy, and talent wise he’s certainly going to be good enough to be on Vegas’ initial 23 man roster. The point is, the Golden Knights staff has a connection to him, he has a friendly contract, is the type of player they are looking for, and is good enough at hockey.

Now, take a look at the Maple Leafs expansion situation. Their most coveted players are all exempt due to age, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Nikita Zaitsev. There are nine players currently on the roster with expiring contracts, all but two of which for the sake of this exercise can be thrown out. That leaves them with 16 skaters that meet the requirement eligible to be protected. Bear in mind, they must expose two forwards and one defenseman that are both under contract and have played 40 games this year or 70 in the last two. The Maple Leafs currently only have seven forwards who fit both qualifications, and that’s including Fehr.

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McPhee Likes Deadline Deals, Expect To See Plenty Of Them Next Year

Last week on with our friends at The Vegas Hockey Hotline, George McPhee discussed his thoughts on the trade deadline. At the time the payment wasn’t official so McPhee couldn’t get into specifics but Brian asked him a question about motivation to make a trade. McPhee seemed to be a strong advocate of making deadline moves even if the general manager didn’t necessarily think a deal was needed.

Sometimes you may not feel like you need anything else for your club but your players are expecting something to happen. So psychologically, you’re trying to help them. So you might add something just so they feel like you have even more ammunition. George McPhee, Vegas Hockey Hotline

It makes complete sense with the length, body stress, and travel of a 82 game season, players seemingly assume extra help to push them towards the finish line. Other teams need to break up the trending slide of a disappointing season. Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher joined TSN Montreal this week to explain the emotions players go through during the deadline period. Gally told TSN the trade deadline can be fun to pay attention to.

Probably follow it, just kinda see what goes on around the league and our team. It’s kinda exciting to watch from a different perspective. It’s definitely something that’s on our minds. -Brendan Gallagher, TSN 690

The pesty Canadian sounded like a fan sitting around on the couch all day watching NHL Network. He was excited his team made deals to bring Steve Ott and Brendan Davidson to Montreal.

The good side of that is we don’t lose a roster player we’re just adding guys to our group. You know, that’s always exciting when you get ready for a playoff push. – Brendan Gallagher, TSN 690

Clearly, McPhee and Gallagher are on the same page. The GM is aware players are expecting something to get done. It sounds like a good way to motivate a team late in the season. Which is why we should expect deadline deals annually in Las Vegas. In Washington, McPhee engineered 15 deadline trades, and two midseason deals. That’s 17 straight years McPhee added players to his roster during the season via trade. I can only assume he’ll use that same strategy with the Golden Knights roster. We can expect McPhee to make deals regardless of Vegas’ standings in the Western Conference playoff race. Next year especially, when they likely aren’t headed to the Cup Finals, building for the future will include assets McPhee accrues making trades with contenders.

So, don’t get too attached to the players on the opening night roster. McPhee will find value in each player he acquires to build the Golden Knights roster long term. That means, any of them could be trade bait next season. Maybe, tell your kid to wait a year or two before putting a players name on the back of that new VGK jersey. Or better yet, let’s just fill the stadium with #17 Foley jerseys. (Sorry Ken, The Creator is just too long to put on a sweater)

Deadline Moves Directly Affecting Expansion Lists

The old fax machine that receives official trade paperwork has officially thrown in the towel. Hopefully, the 90’s Brother fax machines have been donated and the NHL is fully state-of-the-art. Maybe it’s so modern, that a hologram Gary Bettman accepts each deal with team GMs. If that’s the case, poor hologram Bettman must be tired from filing deadline trades. Some moves are headline grabbing like the Capitals going all in on Kevin Shattenkirk, while most of the others are page fillers. Some trades could’ve confused hologram Bettman, even Vlade Divac wouldn’t have traded a highly rated prospect like Jonathan Dahlen for Alex Burrows. Questionable trades or not the league still has to confirm the transactions.

Also, over the past few days the Vegas Golden Knights have effected some minor moves that don’t get headlines. Small deals and extensions that only Vegas GM George McPhee would react to. Here are two expansion impacted moves that might have gone under the radar.

The first move was a rare player for player deal. Montreal shipped underwhelming center David Desharnais to Edmonton for 25 year-old defenseman Brandon Davidson. Desharnais could be the only guy who gets booed more than Bettman at the Bell Centre. The 30 year-old center has disappointed Habs fans since he signed a $14M deal. Davidson was an underused blue liner that was on his way out of Edmonton anyways. Many believed Davidson would draw attention from the Golden Knights which could’ve forced Edmonton’s hand. The move worked well for Montreal, in fact they were willing to retain 20% of Desharnais’ contract to trade for Davidson. Former QMJHL scout and analyst Simon Boisvert praised Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin but didn’t understand Edmonton’s rush.

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Translating NHL’s Rules And Regulations On Vegas Transactions

252 days ago the NHL announced Vegas as the league’s 31st franchise. Today, the NHL announced Vegas as officially the league’s 31st franchise. There’s a difference there, and it involved $500 million dollars of The Creator’s money, but we don’t have to worry about it anymore, thank goodness.

What we do have to worry about is what has changed between yesterday and 12:04 this afternoon when the Golden Knights sent out the press release confirming the final payment has cleared and have become a “fully operational member of the National Hockey League.”

With the announcement the league put out a list of rules and regulations about exactly what George McPhee and the Golden Knights are able to do now that they are fully operational. Unfortunately their rules are written in some sort of jibberish laywery talk which is nearly impossible for English speaking humans to understand. (Yes, I did just say lawyers aren’t humans.) Luckily, SinBin.vegas is here to translate. Here we go!

**There’s an acronym glossary at the bottom**

Bona Fide Transactions: Effective today, Vegas may now enter into Trades and Waiver Transactions or sign Players to NHL SPCs in accordance with CBA Section 50.8(d) or a Player Transfer Agreement (a “bona fide transaction”). Any bona fide transactions involving current Players must specify the identity of each and every such Player(s) at the time the transaction is entered into.

Translation – Vegas can make trades and sign players. They just can’t cheat the CBA and have to tell the league when they make trades or sign players.

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