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Why Jack Dugan Committed To The Golden Knights Without Actually Signing A Contract

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Jack Dugan news broke via press release from the Golden Knights it was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Instead of an announcement of a contract or trade, this press release indicated that Dugan had “agreed to join the Golden Knights organization.”

The announcement expressed that Dugan was done with college and he was set to sign a contract with the Golden Knights. However, the wording made it clear that the pen had not officially hit the paper on that contract.

As we’ve done before, we immediately started to “read into” the why behind this peculiar announcement. Why not just sign the contract? Other teams have done it with prospects leaving college, what’s different with Dugan?

The answer lies in the desired start date of the contract.

Since the league went on hiatus, 81 players have joined NHL teams. Most of them were announced with the same language we are used to hearing, “signed to an entry-level contract.” The ones that had more information all indicated that the contract would begin in 2020-21. In other words, they are signing contracts for next season, not for the one that is paused.

This is common in the NHL. When a player’s season wraps up, whether from Candian Junior, the NCAA, or overseas, a team can sign the player immediately for the following season even if that team is still playing this year. This makes the player ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the ongoing season and their contract begins for the next year.

Or, a team can do what Vegas has done each of its first two seasons. They’ve signed players for the current season, brought them directly onto the NHL roster, and in the case of two (Zach Whitecloud and Jimmy Schuldt) of the three (Nikita Gusev is the other) actually played them in an NHL game right away. By doing this, it “burns” the year off the entry-level contract.

Let me show you the difference using an example.

Method 1 – Sign player for the following season

Player signs 2-year entry-level contract
Ongoing season (2019-20) – Ineligible to play
2020-21 – Year 1
2021-22 – Year 2
Contract expires on July 1, 2022

Method 2 – Sign player for the ongoing season

Player signs 2-year entry-level contract
Ongoing season (2019-20) – Year 1
2020-21 – Year 2
Contract expires on July 1, 2021

As you see, using Method 2, a player becomes a free agent (restricted in most cases) 365 days sooner even though they are signed to the exact same contract on the exact same day. The only difference is the start date.

So, let me go back to Jack Dugan. Based on the multitude of contracts that have been signed since March 12th when the league was paused, we know NHL Central Registry (the office in charge of approving contracts) is allowing contracts to be signed. However, not a single contract has been announced as signed for 2019-20.

When the NHL suspended this season March 12, the league instructed teams that no contracts for draft picks or college, junior and European free agents could be signed with a start date of this current season. All contracts had to begin in 2020-21. –Michael Russo, The Athletic

According to Jesse Granger of The Athletic, Dugan is hoping his contract will begin in 2019-20 instead of 2020-21.

Dugan’s preference is to begin his professional career immediately when hockey resumes, a source told The Athletic. -Jesse Granger, The Athletic

The Golden Knights should want that as well. (I’ll explain in a moment.)

So, if the league won’t allow a contract to be signed for 2019-20, then… don’t sign a contract. That’s exactly what Dugan did. Instead, he “agreed to join the Golden Knights organization.”

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Pierre McGuire: It’s So Easy, It’s Crazy Easy To Do Everything In Vegas For 12 Teams

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A few weeks back we wrote how Las Vegas was not an ideal location to host eight NHL teams at once. Our main argument against a Vegas hub was the lack of quality sheets of ice.

The city of Las Vegas currently only has three sheets of ice that meet NHL standards; one at T-Mobile and two at City National Arena. A year from now there will be two more at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, then in a few years another one at the AHL rink in Henderson, but as for now, you can’t reasonably make NHL teams vying for a playoff spot, practice at the Ice Center or Sobe Arena. Not to mention, with everyone housed on the Strip, transporting players and equipment for SEVEN teams back and forth the 17 miles to Summerlin, only to be crammed into City National Arena simply isn’t logical. -SinBin.vegas, 4/24/20

With word that the NHL is pushing a 24-team postseason format, a pod city would hold not eight, but 12 teams. Yesterday, NHL analyst Pierre McGuire jumped on TSN Montreal to pitch Las Vegas as the perfect location. The league is considering two pod cities that would hold three, possibly four NHL games per day. Southern Nevada continues to be high on the list for obvious reasons. Hotel rooms, first-class amenities, and easy access to the T-Mobile Arena and other venues. However, the lack of practice ice is greatly overlooked.

Because they got significant ice availability starting with obviously the MGM arena. They got their arena where they practice. They’ve got the Thomas & Mack Center. They’re building an arena for an American Hockey League team that might already be completed in Henderson.-Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports Analyst

The Henderson facility (Lifeguard Arena) is projected to be finished this fall. Could the league help expedite the project? Sure, but there have been no indications that’s the case. Which leaves the Thomas & Mack Center, MGM Grand Garden Arena, T-Mobile Arena, and the City National Arena to cram in practice and morning skates for 12 teams.

Two sheets of ice at the CNA could comfortably serve four NHL clubs, one being the Golden Knights. After that, it’s up in the air. T-Mobile Arena would be available for teams when actual games weren’t being played, but is that viable? Will the Thomas & Mack and Grand Garden Arena have enough time to refreeze their surfaces and make them NHL quality?

More than enough hotel space. They’ve got more than enough ice availability. They’ve got more than enough convention area for dressing rooms if they need them. They’ve got perfect infrastructure to host this.-McGuire

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – May 18th, 2020

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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George McPhee In Favor Of Entry Draft In June

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In the NHL’s constant struggle to stay relevant since the season was put on hold on March 12th, one of the ideas that’s drawn the most ire from GMs is the thought of conducting the Draft during the pandemic rather than waiting until the season is completed.

We’ve detailed all of the challenges an Entry Draft prior to the conclusion of a season presents to the league and the minimal effect it would have on the Golden Knights.

Speaking to Brian Blessing on the Vegas Hockey Hotline, Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations, George McPhee, took about as positive a position as any NHL exec regarding the Draft being held in June.

We’re ready to go, if the league wants to do it, let’s go do it. If the league wants to move it up we’re fine with it. This is complicated enough for the league and everybody else. –George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

As the days pass it appears to be less and less likely that the league will indeed head that way, but the possibility still exists.

I don’t particularly find it very challenging. I don’t know that anything changes if you wait another three months to have a draft. We can work out all of the conditional picks. I just don’t find it that difficult. –McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Contrast that to the quote Elliotte Friedman published from an unnamed GM on the idea.

This is terrible, and I don’t support it.

Every team is in a different spot in regards to the impact holding the Draft in June would have, with some having much larger hurdles to cross than that in which the Golden Knights would face.

Any team in the lottery could have their fates changed, any team with an important conditional pick yet to be settled, and any team on the playoff bubble could get burned by the irregular draft. Those are likely the teams making the most noise in opposition of the idea. As for Vegas, it really wouldn’t matter, and thus…

There’s going to be no whining from the Vegas Golden Knights. Whatever the league wants to do, we’ll do. –McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline


The entire interview with George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline can be found here.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #196: Dugan, Reaves, Optimism

We stay mostly on topic this week as we focus on the return to play scenarios, Jack Dugan’s “contract” and the continued rumors of a multi-year deal coming for Ryan Reaves. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Vegas as a hub city
  • The truth behind “character players”
  • What we’re hearing about Reaves’ contract
  • Jack Dugan’s future

And much more…

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

Late Round Pick Success Stories Give Hope For Jack Dugan

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 2010, the Ottawa Senators took a flier in the 6th round on an 18-year-old awkward skater from Winnipeg. The Golden Knights took a similar chance in the 5th round in 2017 on Jack Dugan, a player with close to the same build.

As a young player, I had to do a lot of things to even make it here… I wasn’t a very good skater. That was documented when I was 12 years old. Everyone told me I couldn’t skate. -Mark Stone

Going back to the 2012 NHL draft, only 106 of the 729 players selected in the 5th round or later have suited up to play in an NHL game. Only 28 have played more than 100 games.

A few have been successful in the NHL, but none have become elite like Stone. The former Wheat King, Senator, and current Golden Knight is an outlier when it comes to late draft picks. Stone has enjoyed eight seasons in the NHL, scoring 385 points, 601 takeaways, and is valued at $9.5M per year. Finding a player with that resume after the first three rounds takes incredible scouting, trust, and let’s face it, luck.

We’re still probably a year or two away from Jack Dugan even breaking into the NHL, but he’s trending in the direction of a late-round steal just like Stone.

At the time of the draft, Dugan’s scouting reports were lukewarm. Some thought he had the skill and eventual size to play a bottom-six role in the NHL.

Jack Dugan Scouting Reports:

The Hockey News
Every draft has sleepers, dark horses and late bloomers and Dugan may be a hidden gem that encompasses all three. A big, aggressive and raw talent who was passed over.

Dobber Prospects
Dugan is a late bloomer who is big, aggressive and is loaded with raw talent.

HockeyProspect.com Black Book
Isn’t a smooth skater but moves well and handles the puck at his top speed. We like his potential, has size, skill and a good hockey IQ.

Mark Stones Scouting Reports:

Hockey’s Future
Probability of success: C
The size and hands are there as is the willingness to work the boards and get to the dirty areas. The one noticeable weakness is his choppy stride which he’s working on and has spent time with the Ottawa skating coach improving his foot-speed. Smart on the ice and well-spoken off of it, Stone has the talent, intensity and work ethic to get himself to the NHL in time.

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City Of Henderson Set To Commit Up To $42 Million Towards Construction Of AHL Arena

The City of Henderson and the Vegas Golden Knights are set to take the final step in approving the construction of a 6,000-seat arena to house the AHL franchise coming to Vegas/Henderson.

At the May 19th Henderson City Council meeting, the council will be presented with an agenda item to enter into a financial agreement between the city and SK Arena LLC, a limited liability company set up by the Vegas Golden Knights to build and operate the arena.

Photo credit: City of Henderson Powerpoint Presentation for May 19th meeting

If approved, the agreement will call for each party to commit $40 million to the project plus an additional $2 million toward contingencies. That means the arena is expected to cost $80 million with the City of Henderson and the Vegas Golden Knights entering into an agreement to split the cost 50/50.

The city’s proposal includes $25 million to be taken from the $60 million bond that was approved on April 21st. The remaining money will be allocated from the Henderson redevelopment agency ($16 million) and from insurance proceeds ($1 million).

According to the proposed agreement, construction of the arena must begin no later than August 1st, 2020, and the AHL team is expected to play their home games in the arena for the 2022-23 season.

The lease calls for an annual rent of $150,000 with a 2% increase each year. The lease term is 20 years which means the rent will be around $218,000 in the final year.

All references to the Golden Knights portion of the agreement are listed as SK Arena LLC or SK Team LLC. These companies were filed by Golden Knights attorneys in November 2019 and June 2019 respectively.

As we’ve been reporting since the news broke that the AHL was coming to Henderson, the team name will be the Henderson Silver Knights. SK Arena and SK Team are just another set of clues hinting towards that name.

The construction agreement will be approved at the Henderson City Council’s May 19th meeting scheduled to begin at 10:30 am.

Ryan Reaves Swimming And Hiking To Keep In Shape

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Golden Knights power forward Ryan Reaves joined After Hours on Sportsnet this weekend to catch up during the NHL pause and answer some fan questions. Isolating with his family in Summerlin, Reaves fielded a range of topics from staying in shape to Evander Kane.

I got to say my brother now because he plays in the CFL. It would be pretty disrespectful if I said me. When we were younger me and my brother were really good at football, we dominated our league. He was really good at basketball and I was really good at football. He tried playing basketball coming out of college but he couldn’t find work… he’s such an athlete that he was able to jump into the CFL after not playing football since he was fourteen.- Ryan Reaves

Reaves was asked why he doesn’t score more often? For three seasons we’ve seen the big fella come close but he’s usually good for just eight or nine goals a season. However, he’s had some memorable goals in Golden Knights history.

I ask myself that all the time. It’s been ten years asking myself that and I just don’t have an answer for you. I should probably do that a little more often. -Reaves

With gyms, parks, and facilities are closed, walking and jogging around the neighborhood is how people are staying fit during the shutdown. Reaves is making the most of what he has, which includes his swimming pool, some weights, and some hiking in his surrounding area to keep in shape.

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JACK DUGAN AGREES TO SIGN CONTRACT WITH VGK

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

George McPhee Says Two Weeks Will Be Enough To Get Players Ready To Play

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If there’s one thing the NHL has made clear since the moment they placed the season on hold it’s that they will do whatever they can to make sure it was postponed and not canceled. Every piece of news that’s come out of the league since March 12th has pointed towards a devotion to return to the ice this year and award the 2019-20 Stanley Cup, no matter what that means for the future schedule.

However, with every day that ticks away without any concrete plans to return, it feels less and less likely that it will ever become a reality. Most return to play scenarios being thrown around are scheduled to take months before the teams ever hit the ice to play a game.

But, according to the Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations, George McPhee, it shouldn’t take nearly as long as what most expect to get the players back up to speed and ready to start playing meaningful games.

I think after a week or 10 days of skating they’d be fine. Are they really going to want four weeks? I don’t think so. After a week of hard skating, they’ll probably be saying ‘You know what, I’d rather be playing than practicing, so let’s get going.’ –George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

That’s a drastic difference from what we’ve normally been hearing in regards to how long the “camp” has to be to get the players fully conditioned.

And this is coming from a guy who not only has been a GM in the NHL for over 20 years, but also played more than 100 NHL games himself. Like everyone, he’s never been through something like this, but if anyone can predict how players will react to a situation it’s him.

If the league says you’ve got two weeks or a week to 10 days, ok, let’s go. It doesn’t matter to us, we’ll just be ready to go. –McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

The fans will be ready too.


The entire interview with George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline with Brian Blessing can be found here. We’ll have another story from this interview later in the week.

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