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Tag: Erik Brannstrom

Would Dominating Even Be Enough For Rookies

Training camp starts this week (!!!) with a few “informal” practices today, tomorrow, and Wednesday before the 23-man rookie roster formally begin training camp on Thursday.

But as the rookies get set to hit the ice, the burning question remains for a team in a unique situation being the first expansion team in the salary cap era?

Could a Cody Glass or Nicolas Hague or any other draft pick make this team? Absolutely. But they’d have to come into camp and dominate. To be the best at their position and to prove they can continue to excel once the regular season begins. And to stay at that level when the pace increases at Christmas and then again down the stretch as it does in the NHL every season. –Gary Lawless, VGK Insider

Absolutely a rookie from the 2017 Draft can make the roster out of camp says Lawless.

I’m here to say, the correct answer is absolutely not.

The reasoning is quite simple. In the NHL when players are drafted they are signed to entry level contracts. These contracts are three years in length (assuming the player is 21 or younger), but they do not begin until the player plays more than nine NHL games in a season.

So, if a player makes the team out of camp, the clock immediately starts ticking towards restricted free agency and his next, much larger, contract. In a normal situation, especially for teams ready to compete, that’s just fine because the player can help the team win. But for a team like the Golden Knights, who realistically aren’t winning much this year, the benefit of having a rookie on the roster is heavily outweighed by the option of “sliding” his contract to next year.

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Erik Brannstrom, Olympian?

If you happened to miss last week’s World Junior Summer Showcase then you really need to start following us on Twitter missed quite the showing from one of the Golden Knights’ three first round draft picks. Luckily, we were on full Erik Brannstrom watch, and boy was it something to watch.

Oh, he wasn’t done dishing.

Let’s face it, we’re Brann-addicts. (Holy balls this nickname is terrible, someone please come up with something better.) We want more, we want more. What made our jaws-drop last week is seeing Brannstrom’s dominance, and then realizing he’s still developing. Which creates a major epidemic of Brannstrom withdrawal. Luckily, the 17-year-old, he’ll be 18 in less than a month, defenseman will be back in Las Vegas later this summer. After camp, who knows how long before fans get to watch the puck-moving defenseman again.

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McPhee’s First Round Draft Success Rate

When we examined George McPhee’s draft history months ago, we found he favored first-round centers over any other position. In 17 prior entry drafts, McPhee drafted eight top-round centers. His first draft with the Golden Knights was no different, he drafted two first round centers. While we wait for Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki to develop let’s look into McPhee’s first-round center success rate.

In Washington, McPhee made 20 first-round picks in 17 drafts. Add his latest first-round picks, and McPhee has now personally drafted 23 first round prospects in 18 drafts. (No first round picks in 1998, 2001, 2011)

Center – 10
Right Wing – 3
Left Wing – 2
Defenseman – 7
Goaltender – 1

McPhee’s first entry draft as Golden Knights GM shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Drafting Glass and Suzuki were conventional selections for the Vegas GM. Drafting Erik Brannstrom in the first-round was also right on par for McPhee. In Washington, three of his six defensive prospects Nick Boynton, Karl Alzner and John Carlson, became solid NHL players. Vegas fans should feel optimistic McPhee’s success rate got better, as he became more experienced. As a reminder, here’s GM McPhee’s full first round draft history.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS SIGN 1ST ROUND PICKS CODY GLASS (F), NICK SUZUKI (F), AND ERIK BRANNSTROM (D) TO ENTRY LEVEL CONTRACTS

When Will We See The Golden Knights Top Prospects In Vegas

After reading scouting reports, watching highlights and attending a day of development camp, it’s time to take a shot at the best case scenario for when each Golden Knights prospect may make it to the NHL.

We’re not going to fast track anyone. It never hurts a kid to play a an extra year or two in juniors. It’s better to overcook them than throw them in there raw. It’s like having a kid in 8th grade and suddenly throwing him into 11th grade. It’s too much, not only on the ice but socially for some of these kids. So we’ll be open minded, if someone’s ready, we’ll play him, but there’s a good chance all of these guys will be headed back to amateur this year. -George McPhee on 2017 Draft Picks

Alex Tuch (Acquired via Expansion Draft trade from Minnesota)

The plan is to begin the season on the Vegas Golden Knights roster. Tuch believes he’s prepared for Vegas.

I’m confident in my abilities to make the team next season. I’m concentrating on being in the lineup for that season opener. I’m going to come into training camp and really show them what I’ve got. I’m excited to get going. -Tuch

Tuch is still on an entry-level contract so the organization has the power to option him to Chicago. However, team officials seem eager to get Tuch in the mix. Probably, one of the reasons the 21-year-old is in town this week.

They gave me the option, I thought it’d be a really good idea to go over there and get a lay of the land a little bit. I also want to help some of those draft picks that will be coming in. I think I can be a leader. -Tuch

It’s going to be a numbers game come October, and because the Golden Knights have the option to send him to the AHL, that’s what may wind up happening out of necessity rather than desire or skill. But, if he’s not on this one, expect to see Tuch on opening day rosters for years to come.

Reid Duke (Signed as free agent on March 6th)

Most entry-level free agents don’t have the same expectations high-round prospects do. Duke is different though. As we’ve mentioned before this team signed the former Wheat King for a reason. He was clearly one of the leaders on and off the ice at Development Camp and is spectacular with the media. Duke has done an excellent job handling the pressure of being the franchise’s first player. His letter to NHL prospects on NHL.com showed the confidence and intelligence scouts raved about. Making the Golden Knights this season would be major surprise. Duke will need a year or two to develop in the AHL but the organization will give him every opportunity to succeed. He’s a clear fan favorite, but he also seems to be an organizational favorite, and a guy they would like to see make it to the NHL in Vegas, if nothing more than to prove they were right for making him the historic first Golden Knight.

Cody Glass (Selected 6th overall in 2017 Draft)

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What To Watch For At Development Camp

For fans that plan to go down to the LV Ice Center this week, here’s what we’re watching for at Development Camp.

The first Golden Knight
It’s pretty clear Reid Duke is a fan favorite already. After a week of signing autographs and snapping fan selfies, the first Golden Knight will take the ice. This week, look for Duke’s all-around skill that got the attention of the Vegas scouts. It could be beneficial for fans to compare the skill of Duke with like Alex Tuch, Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki.

Alex “The Great” Tuch
Minnesota didn’t enjoy giving up Alex Tuch. And why would they? The Wild invested a first-round pick on him and waited while he developed in the NCAA. The New York native has the size and skill to be an effective NHL power-forward. Hockey Future’s highlights Tuch’s stick-handling, shot, speed and hockey IQ. McPhee passed on a known commodity, hopefully, doubtful fans will get to see why this week.

Three in the top 15
I’m most excited to see the first-round talents drafted by Vegas, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Erik Brannstrom. All three are highly-regarded so their skill should be obvious to an idiot scout like myself. They’re young, incredibly talented but underdeveloped. It’ll be fun to watch them mature over the next few years.

Coaching
It should be the first chance we have to take a look Gerard Gallant’s coaching style. We aren’t sure how much it will be him taking the reigns or if he’ll let Rocky Thompson (Wolves), Phil Axtell (Mallards), or any of the other developmental coaches take control, but either way, the coaching is on display as much as the players are.

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