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
Strong two-way players add value no matter what size. A smart, gritty role player can make a difference even playing 12 minutes a game. If Wong has the vision, creativity and determination he could be given a two-way contract to play for Vegas.
Wong is an undersized winger at 5-9 and 176 pounds but isn’t afraid to play in the hard areas and fight for loose pucks along the boards, corners or in front of the net. While his size does not scream NHL player, the Hurricanes Captain’s defensive commitment, two-way game and offensive skill, and strong compete level should earn him another shot at cracking the pro game. –Dobberprospects.com
Being undersized can always work against a player, but there is good news for Wong. Check out this seasons number of AHL to NHL graduates. The AHL likes to boast about their numbers every season.
As the National Hockey League opens its 2016-17 season today, the American Hockey League is proud to have 627 graduates on NHL opening-day rosters, making up more than 82 percent of the NHL’s player pool to begin its campaign. -TheAHL.com
In 2015-2016, 880 AHL players made the jump to the NHL. Wong should have a chance to make it to Las Vegas (or somewhere else in the NHL), but he’ll have to prove himself in Chicago first. Like I mentioned up top, lonely wolf Reid Duke may now have his future line mate.
However, I did find an interesting thread on Twitter suggesting Wong and Duke have a history. It appears it comes from their days in the WHL. Maybe the tension comes from this scuffle Wong had with Duke’s former teammate and top-prospect Nolan Patrick. Wong holds his own against a much bigger Patrick.
If he keeps doing stuff like that, he’s quickly become a fan favorite in Chicago, and it may just earn him a new contract with a Golden Knights logo on it.