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Golden Knights Player Ratings In NHL 18

Tomorrow marks one of the best days on the calendar every year as the newest edition of the best video game, EA’s NHL 18, officially drops.

This year, obviously, is extra special as it’s the first time ever fans can play with a team actually from Vegas rather than having to create or move a team. So, let’s take a look at the Golden Knights roster on NHL 18.

89/89/90 is actually quite solid for an expansion team. Normally, the worst team in the league is much lower than this, so at the very least, for all of us who will refuse to play the game with any other team, we won’t start too much in the hole.

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Sbisa Might Make Most Sense To Move Before Camp Ends

As the excitement builds for fans, the reality of training camp means tough decisions for the Golden Knights. It’s no secret, the defensive logjam will create headaches for the organization. Early last week, GM George McPhee told us the team is hoping to get down to eight defensemen.

I think, we would ideally carry eight. We have a good crop and defensemen are hard to come by. And we’ll have to see they all fit together.- George McPhee

One defenseman that could be the answer to McPhee’s conundrum is veteran Luca Sbisa. A deal could help the organization get down to eight defensemen, and who knows, maybe McPhee can squeeze out another team’s draft pick.

Sbisa, in my opinion, is one of the most attractive defensemen on the market. At this time of year, NHL clubs are looking for players that are reliable and under limited contracts. The Swiss defenseman played 82 games last season and has one-year left, at $3.6 million. A reasonable contract for contending teams looking for blueline help. To compare his salary, here are other defenders paid around the same per season.

Read More Podcast #81: Ross McMullan

This week we are joined by ECHL player and one of the few local Las Vegans who skated with the Golden Knights during informal practice at City National. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • How did the opportunity come up to have the chance to play with the Golden Knights?
  • What most jumped off the page from the players on the ice?
  • Vadim Shipachyov’s elite skill.
  • Worst ECHL travel story.
  • The mindset of a minor league player watching others get called up to the AHL.
  • More on the Shea Theodore dilemma.

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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Tomas Hyka Has Something To Prove In El Segundo

As is normal with rookie games, there’s a  familiarity with many Golden Knights rookies with the Kings roster they’ll be going up against these next two days in El Segundo. Cody Glass will play against the captain of his junior team in Portland, Keegan Iverson. Nic Hague will play against defensive teammate Jacob Moverare and Nick Suzuki will face three of his Owen Sound Attack teammates in Jacob Friend, Markus Phillips and Matt Schmalz.

But only one Golden Knight has ever actually been a Los Angeles King, and that’s Tomas Hyka.

Tomas Hyka skating at rookie camp at City National Arena (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Hyka was signed by the Golden Knights nearly a month before the Expansion Draft and has been skating with the Vegas rookies despite being 24-years-old, normally a little old for rookie camp. Hyka’s still never played an official NHL game, but he’s not new to the NHL process.

In 2011, Hyka went to camp with the Philadephia Flyers after going undrafted. He impressed many in the Flyer organization even drawing comparisons to Claude Giroux. Hyka then went on to score a goal in a preseason game for Philadephia, but when it came time to sign the contract, due to a rule in the CBA, he wasn’t allowed to sign with the Flyers.

Honestly, I still don’t really know what happened there. It kind of was bad for me at the time, but I’m so happy the way it worked out now because I’m now with a new team and a new organization and I’ve got a more opportunity here to show off my skills here. -Tomas Hyka

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Shea Theodore Weighs In On The Shea Theodore Dilemma

As the rookies wrap up camp with a pair of games in El Segundo against the Kings this week, all eyes turn to big league camp and specifically, 22-year-old defenseman Shea Theodore.

Theodore enters training camp as one of the most talented blueliners on a Golden Knights roster chock full of defensemen. The former Anaheim Duck had his best season as a professional a year ago including tallying eight points in 14 playoff games during the Ducks run to the Western Conference Finals.

But before the glory of the postseason, Theodore found himself in a peculiar position on the bubble of the Ducks roster. Good enough to make an impact and deserve a spot, but still on an entry level contract and thus waiver exempt to be sent back to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. In fact, after beginning the season in the AHL, Theodore was moved between the AHL and NHL a whopping 10 times before claiming his spot on the Ducks postseason roster.

On your entry level contract, you have to understand that it’s a possibility, it’s just how it works. It sucks at times, you feel like you are playing well and then you find yourself down in the American League just because you can’t get picked up on waivers. But I kind of just take it how it is. -Shea Theodore

Then came the Expansion Draft, and despite being exempt from selection, Theodore found himself on the move again, this time via trade to the Golden Knights. As the youngest NHL ready prospect on the roster, and with talent for days, Theodore should be a mainstay on the top two defensive pairings at T-Mobile Arena for the next decade. But due to NHL rules for young players, his time as a Golden Knight may not start when Vegas drops the puck.

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Meet The Man In Red

If you head out to Rookie Training Camp over the next week, you’ll notice one player skating around wearing a red jersey. No, he’s not a moving target for the players, in fact, just the opposite.

His name is Jake Leschyshyn and he tore his ACL 218 days ago while playing in a WHL game for the Regina Pats. Seven months later, the son of former NHLer Curtis is skating in Rookie Camp with the Golden Knights at City National Arena.

That red jersey indicates he’s not been cleared for contact, but according to Leschyshyn it’s just a safety precaution as he’s nearly 100% recovered from the severest of knee injuries.

I’m trying to get the power back in the first couple steps; that’s the biggest thing. Other than that I’m feeling really confident. I just have to take it one day at a time. –Jake Leschyshyn

Prior to the injury Leschyshyn was well on his way to being a first round draft pick at the 2017 Entry Draft. He ended up slipping to the last pick of the second round, where the Golden Knights used their 5th pick in the draft on the injury-risk 18-year-old.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Andreasen

But now, having seen him on the ice with the rest of the draft picks, skating, cutting, and looking like his old self, George McPhee and the Golden Knights may have selected yet another 1st rounder… in the back end of the 2nd. Add Leschyshyn to the three first round picks, and Nic Hague who many believed was a 1st rounder himself, and Vegas may have left Chicago with 5 bona fide first round talents.

Leschyshyn won’t play in the rookie games in El Segundo, but he is expected to be on the ice throughout rookie camp in his red jersey, and should be ready to go to start the 2017-18 season for the Regina Pats.

As much as we want to focus on Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Nic Hague, the most intriguing prospect at camp might just be Jake Leschyshyn, and lucky for everyone in attendance, he’ll be easy to spot.

CenturyLink Reaches Deal To Carry AT&T SportsNet/VGK Games

We’re not completely out of the woods, but a huge hurdle in the race to get the Golden Knights in every home in the Vegas valley has been crossed.

CenturyLink announced today AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain will be added to their Prism TV channel lineup starting on September 15th. The channel will be available across every TV package CenturyLink provides, so Golden Knights games will immediately be available to all current Prism TV subscribers and new subscribers will not have to pay an added “sports package” fee to watch VGK games.

We are focused on providing Prism TV subscribers with the best entertainment choices, so it was very important to us to ensure that Vegas Golden Knights hockey and Mountain West Conference collegiate sports were part of the channel lineup for our Nevada subscribers. We look forward to offering our customers the premium sports content that AT&T SportsNet will provide. -Jeremy Ferkin, CenturyLink VP of Operations for Nevada

As for Cox, they still remain “in discussions” with AT&T SportsNet, the exclusive home for Golden Knights games on TV. #CoxBlocked

CenturyLink is currently the second largest cable provider in the valley, reportedly well behind Cox, however, they do offer service to every home in Las Vegas and Henderson. So now, even if Cox doesn’t reach an agreement, AT&T SportsNet is officially available to every household via CenturyLink’s PrismTV, DirecTV, and Dish Network.

AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain will be available on channel 760(SD)/1760(HD), available to all subscribers, starting one week from today.

The first preseason game is nine days away and the first regular season game in Golden Knights franchise history will be played in Dallas 28 days from today.

Golden Knights Probably Won’t Have A Captain To Start Season

Would it be Deryk Engelland, James Neal, Jason Garrison, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, or even someone else we haven’t really considered having the famous “C” stitched on to their first Golden Knights jersey? Well, it looks like the correct answer, at least to start the season, will be none of the above.

We’ll sit down with the coaches and decide what we want to do. We may be better off just having a leadership group than naming one guy captain. (You) really don’t want to put a C on a guy unless this is going to be a person that’s going to lead us for a long time. -George McPhee

As we discussed on the latest podcast, there’s really not a single player that stands out as the guy who would make sense to be the captain of the Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury would make the most sense but in the NHL, goalies cannot be designated captain. Next up would likely be Engelland, but he’s on the back-nine of his career and may struggle to even get on the ice consistently this year. Then there’s Neal, who has been an assistant in the past, but could be a trade candidate at the deadline in February.

So McPhee, Gallant, and Co may go down the three alternate captains road. It’s not unprecedented in the NHL. Last year neither the Hurricanes nor the Leafs named a captain, and there have been many vacant captaincies across the league over the past decade. There’s also the Minnesota Wild, who famously (or infamously) rotated captains each month for the first few years the franchise was in existence. Wouldn’t expect VGK to try that plan.

Instead, expect the Golden Knights to name multiple assistants as a part of their “leadership group.” There’s only one name almost guaranteed to be among that group, and that’s Engelland. The rest are about as fluid as those last defenseman spots.

McPhee said this is part of a press conference today at City National Arena. Here’s the whole presser.

Informal Practice Round Up


  • Vadim Shipachyov had a presence when he hit the ice on Tuesday. The smooth skating Russian showed off his crisp passing ability. He made multiple corner passes from the offensive-zone, that would make any forward lick their chops.
  • Clayton Stoner came to play. The other, bearded defenseman looked mean and physical when he checked pursuing forward Brendan Leipsic to the ice.
  • All week, Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith seemed to connect well. Possibly, setting up as future line-mates.
  • Four of the six listed VGK centers were on the ice this week; Shipachyov, Eakin, William Karlsson and Oscar Lindberg. Jonathan Marchessault and Tomas Nosek were the only two listed centers that didn’t check in early.
  • Forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier, Erik Haula, James Neal and David Perron were the only missing point-collectors. I use the word ‘missing’ lightly. These guys, weren’t really missing. This week was voluntary, they just plan on showing up on time.
  • Defensively, only Griffin Reinhart, Luca Sbisa and Nate Schmidt were absent this week. Schmidt’s ankle injury may have kept him from attending. Sorta surprising, Reinhart and Sbisa didn’t show up early. Jon Merrill, took the ice this week, eager for the opportunity with Vegas.

Excited. Fresh start for me, new organization, a lot of new teammates and coaching staff. A lot to prove too myself. Fifth-year in this league, it’s time to step up or, you know, step to the side. -Jon Merrill, Golden Knights Defenseman


Read More Podcast #80: Informal Podcast

After a week off, we’re back at The Space talking about actual hockey on the ice. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • What we saw from three days of informal practice at City National Arena.
  • Showing up vs. not showing up to voluntary practice.
  • Is Deryk Engelland going to be the captain of this team?
  • Ken vs Lawless on rookies making camp.
  • More in-depth discussion on Theodore to AHL.
  • Jason incites Ken over the Conor McGregor “era.”

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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