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Tag: Alex Tuch (Page 1 of 2)

Finding Alex Tuch The Right Linemates Crucial For Golden Knights

When the Expansion Draft ended there was a lot to look at. There were well-known veteran names, there were up-and-coming goal scorers, there were puck-moving defensemen, and there was a heaping pile of bonus draft picks.

Then there was Alex Tuch.

Give me Leipsic or give me death! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One of just two players the Golden Knights gave up an asset to acquire (the other was Reilly Smith), and a prospect that was unlike anything else in the Golden Knights system. A big strong forward with good speed and an innate ability to put the puck in the net. Oh, and he’s 21-years-old, an age that was difficult for the Golden Knights to find players due to the expansion draft rules.

Despite not participating in any previous NHL Entry Drafts, Alex Tuch became a Golden Knights first round pick. Having given up a pick and letting the Wild “escape” the Expansion Draft (didn’t really work for Minnesota), George McPhee put a lot of stock in Tuch. Unlike Shea Theodore, who had just finished up dominating the NHL playoffs, Tuch was unproven at the NHL level. He was a true prospect, and he had/has to be good.

Showing his commitment, Tuch showed up to Development Camp, he came back early for Rookie Camp, and he was always one of the last guys on the ice during full Training Camp. He was putting in the work, his talent was showing, and he appeared to have a spot on the Golden Knights roster.

He didn’t.

Due to what was called “a numbers decision” Tuch was sent to the AHL to begin the year. Four games later a pair of injuries opened the door and Tuch was ready to make his Golden Knights debut. In his first game, he scored and tallied an assist, and Vegas won. Since his recall, the Golden Knights have not lost a game at home.

But when the team went on the road, and Tuch wasn’t playing nearly as well. There was a change in his line as Erik Haula was moved away and Cody Eakin came in with Tuch and Oscar Lindberg.

I think with Lindberg we had a good line, we just weren’t finding the right chemistry. I don’t think I was playing well. -Alex Tuch

Recently, Brendan Leipsic was added to the line to replace Lindberg, and since, the results have been astounding.

Last night while playing together that line created 17 shot attempts while allowing just five. They were also on the ice together for two of the Golden Knights four goals. But more importantly than just the statistics, Leipsic’s addition to the line has brought back the Tuch we got used to in his first few appearances and the preseason.

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Golden Knights Aren’t Big, But They Aren’t Afraid Either

We may be little, but we live in front of the net. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are built differently than most teams in the Pacific division. For example, the Kings were ranked 2nd in average height (6’1), and 3rd in team weight (207 lbs) last season. The Golden Knights have 11 players weighing in at 200 pounds or more, and just seven players heavier than LA’s 207 pound team average. The Kings have 18 players 200+ lbs and 11 that weigh more than 207. On to height, Vegas has five players 6’3 or taller. LA has eight players 6’3 or bigger. I could keep going. Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, LA, and Vancouver are all designed to handle the heavy load in front of their own goal.

Net presence isn’t always determined by strength. When there’s room to take advantage of, size doesn’t matter. Vegas may not be a big, physical team but they proved to be strong around Vancouver’s net.

David Perron‘s deep slot goal in the first period was a gorgeous display of his typically velvety hands (the only real way to describe his hands) but Nate Schmidt‘s net presence helped create an open lane. Vancouver’s defense was so busy clearing out the VGK defenseman, they got in the way of goaltender Jacob Markstrom‘s vision. Once James Neal passed the puck it was all target practice from there. The distraction in front by Schmidt, and a patient Perron got Vegas on the board first.

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Alex Tuch Is An Upper Deck Young Gun

Took a minute, but finally, the Golden Knights are starting to appear on trading cards.

Our friends at Upper Deck sent us a preview of VGK forward Alex Tuch’s newest trading cards. Tuch is featured on one of Upper Deck’s Young Guns insert cards. Nico Hischier, Brock Boeser, Josh Ho-Sang, Charlie McAvoy, Alexander Nylander, and Adrian Kempe are some of the other young players with UD Series 1 cards, which release on November 9th. Check out Tuch’s cards.

Upper Deck may print more VGK cards this season, but we’ll find out later this season when UD Series 2 is released. Earlier UD revealed a Marc-Andre Fleury card that’s now available.

If you notice, Brendan Leipsic made a cameo in one of Tuch’s cards, which technically means three Golden Knights are on new Upper Deck cards. This is what you’ve made us do Upper Deck. We want more, we want more!

These two are pretty sweet though.

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Like a lot of things with the Golden Knights, too many guys playing well was not a concern we expected to be an issue. However, five games in, that’s the exact spot Geroge McPhee, Gerard Gallant, and the Golden Knights have found themselves in.

Hey everyone, look how great we’re all playing! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After leaving Vadim Shipachyov, Alex Tuch, and Shea Theodore off the opening day roster due to “numbers decisions,” Vegas started the season 3-0 using the same 20 players in all three games.

Then the injuries and a loss came. Erik Haula and Jonathan Marchessault were put on IR which freed up spots for Shipachyov and Tuch, and Gallant decided to mix up his healthy scratches following the loss as he inserted Brad Hunt and Jon Merrill for Jason Garrison and Brayden McNabb.

All four “new” players had a major impact on the game Sunday night, and it’s left Vegas with an abundance of players and not enough roster spots to keep them all.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS PLACE MARC-ANDRE FLEURY (G) AND JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT (F) ON IR; RECALL MAXIME LAGACE (G) AND ALEX TUCH (F) FROM AHL

VGK’s Young Stars Dominate In Wolves Debut

As fun as it was to watch the Golden Knights stun the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, the game down the road in Austin, TX was probably a better indication of the direction the Golden Knights future is heading.

In the first game as the AHL affiliate for the Golden Knights, the Chicago Wolves got a hat trick from Alex Tuch and some guy named Shea Theodore put up a goal and two assists as well. Sound familiar?

Watch the highlights, it’s basically a window into Golden Knights future, and boy is it bright.

The full box score is all sorts of glorious for Tuch, Theodore, Pulkkinen, and even the newest Golden Knight Brandon Pirri.

This season is going to feel long at times for the NHL club cause let’s be real, they ain’t all going to go like that one y’all. (Sorry, this whole Texas thing is getting to me) But this season is about more than the Golden Knights on the ice at T-Mobile, and catching a Wolves game every now and then might be a nice pick me up.

Golden Knights Announce “Final” 23-Man Roster

It’s ok. Calm down. Shippy will be in Dallas with the Golden Knights. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The deadline to cut the roster down to 23 was today at 2PM PST, however, as you will notice by some of the names omitted, one in particular, it’s safe to assume this will not be the 23 players boarding the plane to Dallas. So, here’s what was submitted to the league today.

Forwards

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
William Carrier
Cody Eakin
Erik Haula
William Karlsson
Brendan Leipsic
Oscar Lindberg
Jonathan Marchessault
Tomas Nosek
David Perron
Reilly Smith

Defensemen

Deryk Engelland
Jason Garrison
Brad Hunt
Brayden McNabb
Jon Merrill
Colin Miller
Griffin Reinhart
Luca Sbisa
Nate Schmidt
Clayton Stoner * (IR)

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury
Calvin Pickard
Malcolm Subban

Before you go throwing a fit, yes, Vadim Shipachyov is not on the roster… right now. Shipachyov is one of three players who remained in Golden Knights training camp with waiver exempt status. Therefore, he is officially being assigned to Chicago without any risk of the Golden Knights surrendering him to another team.

However, we can confidently say (like, beyond a shadow of a doubt) a move or moves are coming in the next two days that will free up a roster spot. This will allow George McPhee and the Golden Knights to bring Shipachyov “back” from the AHL before the game on Friday in Dallas.

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McPhee Must Make Multiple Tough Waiver Decisions By Tuesday

October 3rd is right around the corner. That’s the day NHL teams are required to cut their roster down to the 23-man squad that will begin the regular season. The Golden Knights now have 30 players remaining in camp who are eligible to make the final 23.

It’s not as simple as picking seven guys to send down to the minor leagues though. In the NHL, if you want to “re-assign” a player to the AHL, the player must go through a process called waivers. In short, every team has the option to buy the player’s contract off the Golden Knights and place them on their NHL roster. Unless… the player is waiver exempt, like Shea Theodore, Tomas Hyka, and Alex Tuch.

To this point, 91 players have been placed on waivers in the NHL, including Chris Casto, Paul Thompson, and T.J. Tynan of the Golden Knights. A total of 1 player was claimed (Jordan Nolan LA -> BUF). Over the past three years, more than 1,000 players were placed on waivers prior to the season, only 15 were claimed. It’s not terribly common, but it does happen.

Are Hyka and Tuch worth the risk to try and sneak Nosek through waivers? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So, who are the guys Vegas may have to consider trying to slip through the process? Starting with forwards, Brendan Leipsic, Tomas Nosek, Teemu Pulkkinen, and William Carrier are the four players who have 2-way contracts. Assuming the Golden Knights get James Neal back to start the year, which now seems probable, there are four spots available to go to those four players plus Hyka and Tuch. Send the waiver exempt players to the AHL and there’s no risk of losing anyone, but if George McPhee wants to keep Hyka and/or Tuch, he’ll have to roll the dice to try to get someone through.

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Projecting The Opening Day 23-Man Golden Knights Roster

I remember it like yesterday, writing articles about meetings The Creator was having with the league making presentations in conjunction with Quebecor trying to sell the idea of expanding the league. Now, I’m about to take a shot at picking the 23 players who are going to make the roster when the Vegas Golden Knights play the first regular season game in franchise history. Crazy.

Enough about me, let’s cut some guys!

Forwards (13)

Vadim Shipachyov, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, David Perron, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, Oscar Lindberg, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Karlsson, Teemu Pulkkinen, Alex Tuch, William Carrier, Tomas Hyka

Due to the fact that the Golden Knights are expected to keep eight defensemen, there are some tough decisions on the back end of this list. The first nine are pretty well set in stone, the final four will be selected from a pool of seven.

The first who makes the list is Pulkkinen, and that has a lot to do with this skill set. His shooting ability is borderline elite in the NHL and he’s never really had a lot of time to prove himself in the league. However, the reasoning for his inclusion is more in the fact that he sticks out as a different style of player than the rest of the group. There are fast guys, there are big guys, but there’s no one else quite like him.

Next is Tuch. This one has a lot to do with the way he’s been playing on the ice, but it has even more to do with the fact that he’s one of the very few Golden Knights George McPhee paid to bring in. McPhee gave up a 3rd round pick to get Tuch from the Wild and he’s done everything in his power (including attending Development Camp) to make the roster. Wouldn’t be completely stunning if he’s sent to Chicago, but it would be a bit of a surprise.

Congrats Will Carrier, you made the team! Well, SinBin’s idea of the team. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That brings us to the final two spots. I selected Hyka and Carrier out of the group including Brendan Leipsic, Tomas Nosek, and Tyler Wong. Hyka has been playing great hockey both in game action as well as in practice. It seems like every time the puck is near him he’s making things happen. That was also the case for Wong in the preseason game, and in rookie camp, but hasn’t been quite as apparent since the veterans showed up. Leipsic is an incredibly similar player to both Hyka and Wong, but simply hasn’t flashed throughout camp or in the one preseason game in which he played. For smaller speedy players, they should stick out like a sore thumb on the ice, skating by people and scoring goals. One of these three did that better than the other two. Hyka has also never played an NHL game, which represents massive upside for a guy who’s had this much success in camp and was singled out by the Golden Knights prior to the Expansion Draft. It’s a risky move considering McPhee would have to hope Leipsic can sneak through waivers without losing him, but Hyka deserves the spot more than Leipsic at this point, so it’s worth the risk.

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Quick Thoughts – Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche 9/19/17

  • Even more impressive than the three goals in the first eight minutes was the play of Oscar Dansk after coming in to begin the 3rd period. Dansk made 18 saves without allowing a goal and made a few special ones in a row during a power play.  -Ken
    • Note: After reviewing the game Dansk actually entered with 8:59 left in the second while VGK were on a power play. Official stats from the game are incorrect. He allowed the one goal the Golden Knights gave up. Nonetheless, one 5 on 3 goal doesn’t change the fact that he was still excellent between the pipes.
  • The VGK Alternate Captains on Tuesday night were; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, and Reilly Smith. Each logged heavy minutes and made significant contributions in both zones. Garrison was very active offensively, collecting two assists in the first period. Smith added an assist and led the offense with 17:23 TOI. Early in the third period, Captain Concierge Engelland broke up an aggressive Avs attack. With under ten minutes to go, Engelland made a crucial neutral zone stop, allowing for a much-needed shift change. -Jason
  • Vadim Shipachyov really struggled on face-offs. He was thrown out of many draws (which is a much bigger deal now with the new stupid delay of game penalty) and the ones he did take were not pretty. Shipachyov lost six face-offs, mostly against Nathan MacKinnon before he finally got one. He finished 2-7 in the circle. -Ken
  • The Golden Knights have committed 19 penalties in two preseason games. That’s almost two full periods with a man in the box. On Tuesday, the officials called six slashing penalties. The Golden Knights committed four slashing minors in Colorado, and one in Vancouver. We’ve been warned about a crackdown after a few dangerous incidents last season, looks like they are going a bit overboard with it to make a point in the preseason. -Jason
  • Alex Tuch stood out passing the puck. He assisted on the first goal with an excellent pass to Brad Hunt from below the goal line. There were multiple other examples of Tuch’s passing throughout the game as well. Couple that with his willingness to shoot and his physicality and he absolutely looked like he belonged on the NHL roster. -Ken
  • During the second intermission report, an Avalanche TV analyst suggested the NHL needs more personality. He thinks, the league should allow players the chance to customize their equipment. Of course, it would look cool, but wouldn’t it distract the players on the ice? It’s much easier to separate goaltenders. Plus, it’s better to add flair to an otherwise boring mask. Adding more personal art will confuse players, coaches, refs, and fans. Watch, instead the league will add sponsor patches and call it personality. -Jason
  • There were a total of 14 power plays during the game which led to every Golden Knight except Tomas Hyka to get time on both the power play and the penalty kill. While it’s great to get chances a man up, a man down, and in this game multiple times two men up or down, Gallant would probably prefer more 5v5 time to evaluate his players. -Ken

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