It’s been a little over a month since the Golden Knights went from having three players to more than 50. Because of the massive influx, certain players have risen to the top of mind when discussing the team. Guys like Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal, Shea Theodore, and Alex Tuch. There’s a reason for it, but as we examined the roster, we realized there are a bunch of players on the Golden Knights roster who will make a significant impact on the ice that we’ve barely even talked about, and we post an article every single day. So,
There’s a reason for it, but as we examined the roster, we realized there are a bunch of players on the Golden Knights roster who will make a significant impact on the ice that we’ve barely even talked about, and we post an article every single day. So, here’s a quick look at some of the under talked about, and kind of underappreciated, inaugural Golden Knights.
David Perron: Forward
Career: 652 Games, 159 Goals, 378 Points
Perron is getting overshadowed by his future teammates James Neal, Vadim Shipachyov and Jonathan Marchessault. A potential deadline trade victim, the 12-year veteran has the ability to generate offense. Another Golden Knight with a high career shooting percentage, Perron’s 11.9% will help Vegas put pressure on opposing goaltenders. The former first-round pick in 2007 (26th overall) has scored 15+ goals six times in his career. In the forward’s second go-around in St.Louis, he thankfully improved defensively. Perron had a career highs in blocked shots and came close to a career high in takeaways. Defensive responsibility will be an important aspect for all Vegas forwards.
Erik Haula: Forward
Career: 266 Games, 42 Games, 89 Points
The other guy the Golden Knights got from Minnesota, and the one fans will see much more of in the short term. Haula should excite Vegas fans with his speed and strong two-way play. That’s evident by his career 55.5% defensive Zone Starts. (Read more about Zone Starts) The former Golden Gopher is also not afraid to let the puck go. Haula’s 11.2% shooting percentage is above the league average. His three-year $8.25M deal coupled with the Expansion Draft hole the Golden Knights had the Wild in is a strong sign he’s in the organization’s future plans. Hopefully, Haula’s Gopher roommate Nate Schmidt will sign his new deal this week.
At least I’ll have one really familiar face. I’m sure everything is going to fall into place. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun for all of us. I don’t really know what to expect. I’m just going to go to camp and see what happens. It’s all going to be new for me. -Haula
Jon Merrill: Defenseman
Career: 216 Games, 30 Assists, 36 Points
Certainly the least talked about Golden Knight’s defenseman. Merrill got mixed reviews leaving the Devils organization. The second-round pick in 2010 (38th overall) has great size (6’3 215lbs) for a defenseman but isn’t known to be overly physical. Merrill had plenty of chances to be an everyday player in New Jersey. Over four seasons he played 216 games averaging 18:58 minutes of ice-time a game. Merrill’s average TOI may even increase with the Golden Knights.
William Carrier: Forward
Career: 41 Games, 5 Goals, 8 Points
The first thing you need to learn about William Carrier is to say his name right. It’s Carry-ay, or Care-ee-ay, or however you’ve got to spell it to make sure you aren’t pronouncing that “r” at the end like an ignorant American.
Carrier has all the potential to make an organizational impact. GM George McPhee was impressed by the 22-year-old’s speed, size, and quick shot release. Carrier is well aware he’ll be fighting for ice time and it’ll start with training camp.
Everything’s new, to be honest, and I’m just excited to be part of that. It’ll be a big opportunity to make a statement in camp. I’ve been used to trying to earn a spot, but everything is going to be new. New city, new rink and all the fans are going to be excited. It should be good. -Carrier
Teemu Pulkkinen: Forward
Career: 83 Games, 13 Goals, 22 Points
The 25-year-old Fin has only 83 NHL games under his belt, albeit his first NHL game dates back to the 2013-14 season. Pulkkinen was traded to Arizona by Minnesota this past season, totaling 13 games and 39 minutes. He couldn’t crack the Wild lineup and had been stuck in the AHL, according to a Star-Tribune reporter.
He had been stuck in Iowa, where he scored 18 goals and 18 assists in 47 games and bowed out of the AHL All-Star Game for some reason for Alex Tuch… it is interesting that the Wild was willing to trade him away for probably nothing when Iowa’s in a playoff race. –Michael Russo, Minnesota Star-Tribune
A couple of things stood out in Russo’s article. If Pulkkinen was “stuck” in Iowa maybe he only needed a roster like the Golden Knights. A roster with opportunities. Another positive was Teemu’s 36 points in 47 games in Iowa. Possibly with more NHL minutes, the four-year veteran could produce like that for Vegas.