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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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Recap Of George McPhee’s Presser On Max Pacioretty And The Impact Of What He Said

#67 is here to stay (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

George McPhee met with the media to talk about the trade for Max Pacioretty. Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about what he said and why it all matters.

  • Trade negotiations for Pacioretty began after the draft and it took a couple months to get done. It picked up considerably the last few days and then GM Marc Bergevin gave McPhee about seven hours to negotiate a contract with Pacioretty. The trade would not have happened at all if Vegas did not have a contract extension in place for Pacioretty. Trade with the team was contingent upon the deal with the player. The contracr extension was $28 million for 4 years or $7 million AAV against the salary cap.
    • Why it matters: This proves the Golden Knights would not have taken the risk to give up as much as they did if they did not have the guarntee that they would have Pacioretty for longer than just the one year. It also shows a bit of a template for what McPhee may be thinking in the Erik Karlsson deal. Not looking for a rental at this time, at least not at as steep of a price as he paid for Pacioretty.
  • McPhee confirmed a previous deal that Montreal had (reported as being the LA Kings) that did not work out because a contract extension could not be reached. Thus, Montreal was reluctant to allow Vegas to negotiate with Pacioretty before a deal was completed.
  • McPhee says he thinks Pacioretty fits well with the Golden Knights. Called him a scorer and a great two-way player that can play in all situations.
    • Why it matters: McPhee did not like the defense of the second line (Neal, Perron, Haula) last year. So he went out and acquired two strong defensive players that also have a lot of offensive potential. Pacioretty and Stastny will both help on power play and penalty kill. In McPhee’s mind the team is even better now than it was a year ago. (I agree.)
  • McPhee also specifically mentioned that Pacioretty has played for Gerard Gallant in the past (while Gallant was an assistant in Montreal).

We’ve added a couple of players in Stastny and Pacioretty that are very good two-way players, very good character people. So I hope that we are a better team than we were last year. Time will tell. -McPhee

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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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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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#4, #20, And #23 For The Golden Knights In Button’s Top 25 Prospects

A few hours ago TSN released its annual list of the top 5o prospects in the NHL. It should come as no surprise that the Golden Knights are well represented on that list after having three picks in the top 15 in last year’s Entry Draft.

Picked 6th, now ranked 4th. He’s Cody Glass. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Coming in ranked the highest for the Golden Knights is Cody Glass, the 6th overall pick in the draft. He’s now ranked #4 by TSN. Glass has been absolutely tearing up the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks tallying 69 points in just 45 games.

Next up is the diminutive Swedish defenseman, Erik Brannstrom who was ranked #20. Brannstrom wowed at Development Camp here in Vegas before going on to win the silver medal with Team Sweden at the IIHF World Juniors. He’s currently playing in the Swedish Elite League which does not have a maximum age restriction meaning he’s playing in a league much closer to the NHL than Canadian Juniors. Therefore, his numbers (0 goals, 8 assists, 35 GP) don’t look nearly as impressive. However, the “un-forecheck-able” defenseman certainly looks like he’ll be a major piece on the Golden Knights future blue line.

Last but certainly not least is the man who ranks #23 on the TSN list, Nick Suzuki. Suzuki has nearly identical numbers to Glass putting up an equal 25 goals and just two fewer assists (42) than his fellow first round pick. Suzuki tends to put up highlight goals and assists as his hands are simply on another level. Look…

https://twitter.com/OHLHockey/status/960211668394434560

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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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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

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