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Golden Knights Organization Offer World Class Training to Prospects

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One heavy point of emphasis for Golden Knights prospects at Development Camp was the importance of their strength and conditioning regimens.

Cody Glass spoke with us about his strict diet that was designed by the Golden Knights organization. At first, he had trouble eating his nutritional menu but soon realized it was for his own good.

It’s always been a struggle for me to put on weight. Gary Roberts has been helping me along the way. I went to him last year and he’s just given me tips on how to be a better player and a better professional. It all starts with eating healthy. It sucks at first but when you get used to it, it’s a lot better and it’ll help down the road. -Cody Glass

The Gary Roberts he’s talking about is a former NHL player turned into a well-known strength and conditioning guru. He’s helped proven NHL’ers like Connor McDavid and Mark Schiefele get faster and stronger. Over the past few years, the Golden Knights have tapped Roberts’ resources to help develop their pipeline.

Focusing on working on developing my legs. Adding muscle mass while maintaining my speed. I do a lot of cardio and muscle mass type workouts. I’m always talking to Wil Nichol and Gary Roberts about stuff that can help my game. They’ll talk to me throughout the year and give their input on what I should add to my workouts and regiment to help get to that next level. -Brandon Kruse

Jack Dugan will begin his sophomore year at Providence College this fall, but both GM Kelly McCrimmon and assistant coach Mike Kelly agreed he looked like a grown man, not a college student. That’s because Dugan has followed the guidance of the Golden Knights training staff since his draft date.

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VGK Three Year Olds Are Developing Into Men

When Cody Glass was drafted in 2017, he stood 6’1″, weighing in at 175lbs. Two years later, Glass is filling in nicely.

Yeah I think I’m 190lbs now, and I’m 6’2 and a half. I’m not close to my brother or my dad, but it’s nice to see some improvement on my weight and height. -Glass

Since becoming a Golden Knights prospect he was told to add weight and muscle while developing in WHL and the AHL.

It’s always been a struggle for me to put on weight… the team has been helping me along the way. They gave me tips on how to be a better player and a better professional. It all starts with eating the healthy. It sucks at first but when you get used to it, it’s a lot better and it’ll help down the road. -Glass

Same goes for prospect Jack Dugan, who was sizably different from his first Golden Knights development camp.

Jack, to me, looks like a man now. That’s a guy who’s improving leaps and bounds.”-Kelly McCrimmon

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Both director of player development Wil Nichol and assistant coach Mike Kelly echoed those same thoughts, almost word for word.

Dugan, a sophomore at Providence College, knew he had the talent when Vegas selected him in 2017, but he knew he needed to get stronger. So he began training more off the ice and in the gym.

When I was drafted I had never been in a weight room before. This past two years that’s been the main focus, more so off the ice. I think my on-ice ability got me drafted. Put the two together and I think I have a pretty good chance. -Dugan

Incoming General Manager Kelly McCrimmon spoke at length about the growth and strength development of players attending their third camp. It’s the one thing that’s most noticeable year-to-year.

Seeing players come back year to year to year, it gives an appreciation for how development actually works. And for the time it takes for guys to get there… Specifically with Cody, he’s a good example. When you look at the difference in Cody from year one, to year two, to year three you see a player that’s bigger, stronger, faster, more confidence. -McCrimmon

It breaks down to commitment and discipline. Unfortunately, pizza and fried chicken aren’t in that equation.

No, stay away from it. Unless it’s the end of the season. -Glass

For the record, the SinBin.vegas crew ate pizza literally an hour before we spoke to Glass. We’ve yet to find the link between terrible eating habits and poor blogging.

What I Learned About 11 Golden Knights Prospects While In San Diego

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the past weekend, I spent four days in San Diego watching the Chicago Wolves play three games in the Western Conference Final of the AHL’s Calder Cup. My focus was specifically on the Golden Knights draft picks and the players Vegas has under control for beyond this season.

To make this easiest to write, and hopefully to read, I’ve listed every player that either played or I was able to talk to while in San Diego, that has time left on their contract with VGK or are RFAs.

Cody Glass (1st Round, 6th overall in 2017, $863,333 AAV through 21-22)

Anyone who reads/follows me closely knows I haven’t been as high on Glass as the rest of the world seems to be. I’ve come to the realization that the reason for this isn’t because I necessarily view him as a player much differently than most, but that my expectations are substantially higher. As the 6th overall pick in a draft class that includes Elias Petterson, Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar, Nico Hischier, and many others that have already had major impacts in the NHL, my expectation for Glass is massive. Top-six forward, impact player, one of the faces of the franchise. That’s what I’m looking for, and still, even though the next paragraph is going to make it sound otherwise, I’m not sure he’s going to be that guy.

Glass literally does everything on the hockey rink that you want to see from a center. The skill that jumped out most to me over the three games was his backchecking and breakouts. Every time his line turned it over in the offensive zone, he was flying back to negate any transition chance. His skating speed really showed in that sense, but also showed once the Wolves recovered the puck and began their transition back into the offensive zone. He’s terrific carrying the puck out of the D-zone, through the neutral zone, and into the O-zone. I’ve seen him do it with ease at the CHL level, but to see it look exactly the same at the AHL level gives me a strong belief that it’ll continue in the NHL.

I liked how he played along the walls, I loved his vision, his positioning, his movement in the offensive zone. Pretty much everything he did, I thought, yep, this guy is pretty darn good. But still, over the course of three games, there wasn’t enough shown in his ability to create offense. It’s the only thing I can knock him for, but at the same time, it’s the thing I value most in a high draft pick forward. Aside from the occasional chance created directly off an entry (which I do believe will continue in the NHL), there wasn’t a ton created beyond rebound chances. Again, I’m aware that my expectations are gigantic, and I’m asking a lot out of him having played a month in the AHL, but I still didn’t see enough of what I needed to in order to completely change my mind and say he’s going to be a superstar in the NHL.

Cody Glass is going to be an NHL player, and I’m probably going to be on the bandwagon calling for him to make the roster out of camp, but I’m still on the fence of whether I think he’s closer to a Cody Eakin or a William Karlsson. When all is said and done I’m confident he’ll fall somewhere in between these two, however, my opinion still shades more towards 21 than 71.

Nic Hauge (2nd Round, 34th overall in 2017, $791,667 AAV through 21-22)

I came into the weekend expecting to come out saying Hague is the surefire #1 defensive prospect in the Golden Knights system. That’s not what I ended up seeing. That’s not to say Hague was bad, because he certainly wasn’t, it’s just that the fears I had, which I’ve been told by multiple high-ranking people that I shouldn’t have, didn’t go away.

The biggest among those is whether or not his skating is good enough to keep up with the elite skaters at the NHL level. The place it showed up most was in gap control. When a player would enter the zone, sometimes not even moving that quickly, far too often Hague would be more than a stick length away from him (which is a long way with his long arms and stick). Then, once he did enter, it took too long to close down that space which often led to an easy pass or on multiple occasions a dangerous shot. It’s important to note that I watched him play against the same team, on the road, three times, so there could be a gameplan piece here that I’m missing (and when speaking to Rocky Thompson about Hague he didn’t seem to have any issues with the way he was defending). However, that style won’t work in the NHL and his recovery plan (reaching out with that long stick and poking pucks away) won’t work as often against Nathan MacKinnon as it did Corey Tropp or Sam Carrick.

I still love Hague in the offensive zone and on the power play though. His instincts at the blue line are tremendous and he’s going to be a threat to do some damage when he does eventually make it to the NHL. Really looking forward to watching him play in the preseason against NHL level forwards, but at this moment, he no longer ranks as the “most likely defenseman to make the NHL roster in the Golden Knight system” on my list.

Zack Whitecloud (Undrafted, Signed as free agent, $925,000 AAV through 2019-20)

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Former NHL Star and Czech Juniors Coach Evaluates Vegas’ Top Prospects

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Patrik Elias is one of the finer European players to ever play the game. The future Hall of Famer was considered a highly smart two-way player with elite skills. The two-time Stanley Cup champion is New Jersey’s franchise leader in points, goals, and assists, which is doubly impressive since Elias played a good chunk of his career in the Dead Puck era.

Elias was in town last month to assist with the NHL’s new player tracking technology, and to watch his Devils face off against the Golden Knights. So, I tracked down the retired star to get his thoughts on the youngsters in the Vegas pipeline.

After all, the Czech was an assistant coach for his home country at this past World Junior Championships. Elias was enthusiastic by what he saw from the Golden Knights prospects.

Cody Glass

Before I could finish my question, Elias cut in…

He’s an NHL player no question about it. I watched not only minutes but a couple of hours of video on him because of the way he runs a power play. He’s got a great poise. Obviously, right handed shot. Hockey smarts, great skater. He was one of the better, most fun players to watch. He’s going to be an NHL pro. -Elias

Elias wasn’t committing to a timetable for Glass but he expects it won’t be long.

You see a lot of the guys making the jump quickly. If they work hard, they’ll get the chance. It is a young man’s league. But nothing wrong with playing in the minors for a little bit. Adjust to it a little, even though it’s a different game. -Elias

Erik Brannstrom

Just as he was with Glass, Elias was incredibly high on Vegas’ spitfire defenseman.

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2017 Draft Class Has Had Success In The NHL, It’s Time For VGK To Take The Plunge And Give Pick #15 His Shot

The 2017 NHL Draft was a big one for the Golden Knights. Following the Expansion Draft, Vegas went into their first Entry Draft with three picks in the top 15 and four in the top 35.

Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, and Nic Hague were the Golden Knights selections, and between the four of them, they’ve played a total of 0 NHL games 17 months after they were selected.

That’s not common at this point for that draft class, look.

1 – New Jersey – Nico Hischier – 92 games, 62 points
2 – Philadelphia – Nolan Patrick – 82 games, 34 points
3 – Dallas – Miro Heiskanen – 12 games, 4 points
4  – Colorado – Cale Makar*
5 – Vancouver – Elias Pettersson – 8 games, 10 points
6 – Vegas – Cody Glass
7 – NY Rangers – Lias Andersson – 7 games, 2 points
8 – Buffalo – Casey Mittelstadt – 19 games, 8 points
9 – Detroit – Michael Rasmussen – 11 games, 3 points
10 – Florida – Owen Tippett – 7 games, 1 point
11 – Los Angeles – Gabriel Vilardi
12 – Carolina – Martin Necas – 8 games, 2 points
13 – Vegas – Nick Suzuki
14 – Tampa Bay – Cal Foote
15 – Vegas – Erik Brannstrom
16 – Calgary – Juuso Valimaki – 12 games, 1 point
17 – Toronto – Timothy Liljegren
18 – Boston – Urho Vaakanainen – 2 games, 0 points
19 – San Jose – Josh Norris*
20 – St. Louis – Robert Thomas – 6 games, 1 point
21 – NY Rangers – Filip Chytil – 21 games, 5 points
22 – Edmonton – Kailer Yamamoto – 20 games, 5 points
23 – Arizona – Pierre-Olivier Joseph
24 – Winnipeg – Kristian Vesalainen – 5 games, 1 point
25 – Montreal – Ryan Poehling*
26 – Dallas – Jake Oettinger*
27 – Philadelphia – Morgan Frost
28 – Ottawa – Shane Bowers*
29 – Chicago – Henri Jokiharju – 13 games, 7 points
30 – Nashville – Eeli Tolvanen – 3 games, 0 points
31 – St. Louis – Klim Kostin
*Playing in NCAA

17 of the 31 players selected in the 2017 NHL Draft 1st round have played in the NHL, 15 of them have registered a point, yet the Golden Knights are 0 for 3.

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Vegas Rookie Faceoff: 6 Team NHL Rookie Tournament Coming To City National Arena

The biggest event in City National Arena history starts on September 8th. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

The Golden Knights practice facility, City National Arena will host a six-team, three-day “tournament” featuring top NHL prospects. The six teams participating are the Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. It’s being called the Vegas Rookie Faceoff.

Each team will play three games with all nine games being held at City National Arena. Games will be played on September 8th, 9th, and 11th with the Golden Knights rookies taking on the Avalanche, Sharks, and Kings.

Here’s the full schedule for the event.

Saturday, Sept. 8
Game 1 – ARI vs. SJS, 3 p.m. PT
Game 2 – LAK vs. ANA, 5 p.m. PT
Game 3 – COL vs. VGK, 7 p.m. PT

Sunday, Sept. 9
Game 1 – LAK vs. ARI, 3 p.m. PT
Game 2 – COL vs. ANA, 5 p.m. PT
Game 3 – VGK vs. SJS, 7 p.m. PT

Tuesday, Sept. 11
Game 1 – ANA vs. ARI, 11 a.m. PT
Game 2 – SJS vs. COL, 11:30 a.m. PT
Game 3 – LAK vs. VGK, 2:30 p.m. PT

Rookie tournaments are fairly common in the NHL as they offer a chance for teams to play games against different opponents in a short period of time without having to travel. The Red Wings have hosted a tournament in Traverse City, MI for the past 20 years and includes eight teams. Toronto and Buffalo host similar tournaments as well.

Last year the Golden Knights traveled to El Segundo to play a pair of rookie games against the Los Angeles Kings.

Ticket information has not yet been released for the Vegas Rookie Faceoff. However, fans interested in tickets can fill out this contact form to be alerted when they are available.

The games are expected to be available either on TV and/or via Internet stream, but details have not been announced at this point.

These games will be an excellent opportunity for fans to see Golden Knights top prospects, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, and Nic Hague. Plus, the 5th overall pick from 2018, Barrett Hayton (ARI), the 4th overall pick from 2017, Cale Makar (COL) and the 3rd overall pick from 2015, Dylan Strome (ARI) are expected to participate. Other top prospects like Gabe Vilardi (LAK), Kale Clague (LAK), Sam Steel (ANA), Vladislav Kamenev (COL), Conor Timmins (COL), and Ryan Merkley (SJS) should all play as well.

Hopefully, the Vegas Rookie Faceoff becomes an annual thing because it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Five Golden Knights Prospects Headed To World Junior Summer Showcase

Glass and Suzuki should shine at the Summer Showcase. Hopefully on the same line. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year, in advance of the IIHF World Junior tournament that takes place in December, four teams get together for the World Junior Summer Showcase. Last year it took place in Plymouth, Michigan where Erik Brannstrom starred for Team Sweden. This year the Summer Showcase is headed to Kamloops, British Columbia and the Golden Knights are well represented.

The World Junior Summer Showcase begins with practices on July 28th and games get underway on July 30th.

Paul Cotter was a standout at VGK Development Camp. We’ll see if he does the same at the Summer Showcase. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The American players, Kruse and Cotter, are both on Team USA’s Team Blue. Team Canada is split into two teams as well, but their split roster has yet to be released.

Team USA’s Team Blue plays the first game against Elvenes and Team Sweden at 4:00 PM on the 30th.

Notably absent are Erik Brannstrom for Team Sweden and Nic Hague for Team Canada. Both are expected to have a shot at making the NHL or AHL roster this season.

NHL Network is airing six games starting with the USA vs. Sweden game on August 2nd. Here’s the full NHL Network schedule.

Who We’re Watching At Development Camp (2018)

Four of a Kind (Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, Nic Hague)

href=”http://sinbin.vegas/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/VGKCamp172.jpg”> It’s going to take a lot, but this year McPhee may actually consider giving a roster spot to a rookie. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)[/

The question for these four is if any of them are ready to take the next step to play in the NHL next season. George McPhee called it a long shot that any of the four make the roster, but if they are going to, the path starts now. They’d have to clearly rise above everyone else to even have a chance. Last year, Brannstrom was the most impressive, but the junior seasons of Glass, Suzuki, and Hague give hope they’ll come in and shine this week.

Zach Whitecloud

Whitecloud has a chance to be this year’s Alex Tuch. Last year the 21-year-old Tuch looked like a man amongst boys at Development Camp and it began his path to earning a spot on the Golden Knights roster full time. As it currently stands, there does look to be a spot open for Whitecloud to slide into, but he has to be great starting this week to get it. Whitecloud won’t be the oldest player in camp, but it needs to look like he is. He should be without question the most pro-ready player at Development Camp. By the time the week is out, making sure that is clear would go a long way to McPhee penciling him into the plans to start out next season.

Jimmy Schuldt

Many of the players at Development Camp for the Golden Knights are not under Vegas’ control, Schuldt is the most intriguing of them all. Like Whitecloud was a year ago, Schuldt is one of the most coveted undrafted NCAA free agents and will be free to sign with any team when his next season at St. Cloud University is over. A Hobey Baker finalist, he’s an offensive-minded defenseman who was the captain of his team as a junior.

Last year at this time he was in the Montreal Canadiens Development Camp and the Habs have reportedly been keeping their eyes on Schuldt ever since.  McPhee proved a year ago that he’s willing to sign a player like Schuldt and hand him an immediate roster spot right out of college. Being invited to Vegas’ camp is a good sign the Golden Knights like the player and may consider signing him when he’s eligible. However, coming to camp doesn’t always mean you have a leg up on signing the player. Zach Whitecloud was in Kings camp last year, and we all know how that worked out.

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Revisiting Erik Karlsson To Vegas Rumors

Erik Karlsson needs out of Ottawa, this is clear.

No matter what comes out of this really sad situation, the damage is done. Karlsson can’t trust the Senators front office after covering up harassment allegations.

It’s time for the Swede, his wife, and the Senators to move on. Possibly, starting with one of the teams that wanted the Superstar defenseman at the deadline.

Various reasons were reported why the Karlsson flip didn’t happen. In Ottawa, the belief was the Golden Knights wouldn’t take on Sens forward Bobby Ryan’s contract. The once 35 goal scorer has four years left at a whopping $7.25M per season. Ryan scored 30+ in four straight seasons, he’s greatly underachieved since combining for 64 goals in the past four seasons. I understand George McPhee’s hesitations. -Elliotte Friedman

On Karlsson, my sense is the Vegas trade fell apart because of how the purchase price would be adjusted by Bobby Ryan’s inclusion. I’m not 100 per cent sure if it was Ottawa’s ask or Vegas’s offer, but one of the rumblings is that the teams were talking two first-rounders, a high-level prospect and a conditional pick for Karlsson — the condition being whether or not the Golden Knights re-signed him. Whatever the case, it didn’t happen and I can’t imagine Vegas would have been willing to do all that if they were taking Ryan’s contract, too. -Friedman

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Rookies Considered “Long Shots” To Make The Roster Next Season

As Development Camp approaches, “when will these guys play in the NHL” is bound to become the prevailing topic du jour. However, the general manager of the team has been preaching a message of patience.

Those are probably long shots (to make the roster next year). We did a real good job drafting them and that’s the first thing you have to do and the second thing you have to do is develop them properly. – George McPhee

Cody Glass (2017, #6 overall) and Nick Suzuki (2017, #13 overall) both recorded over 100 points in juniors a year ago. Both are likely to make the jump to the AHL in 2018.

UPDATE: CHL/AHL/NHL rules do not allow Glass or Suzuki to play in the AHL next season. Both are too young. So, like this season, if either do not make the NHL roster out of camp, they will be returned to their junior team and cannot join the NHL roster until their junior season is complete.

Brannstrom might have the most experience against men, but Glass could easily turn out to be the closest to ready. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Erik Brannstrom (2017, #15 overall) played his entire season in the professional league in Sweden and was one of the final cuts on the Swedish World Championship team at the age of 19. He may be the most “pro-ready” but defenseman usually take a bit longer to make it to the NHL.

Finally, Nic Hague (2017, #34 overall) was named the best defenseman in the entire CHL. This award has been previously won by Ryan Ellis, Karl Alzner, Dougie Hamilton, and Ivan Provorov. The problem for Hague is that due to his size he projects as a much more “stay-at-home” style player and his defensive skating skill is likely not ready to go against the stars of the NHL.

It’s a steep climb for all four of these Golden Knights prospects to make the team and while McPhee isn’t expecting it, he’s at least open-minded to the idea.

They’re going to have to be really really good to make this club… They are young guys and you are stepping into a league with guys with families and everything else. Sometimes it’s like taking a kid from 8th grade and putting him in 12th grade. It doesn’t always work. -McPhee

Development Camp begins June 26th at City National Arena. (For the full scheudule click through)

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