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Tag: Nolan Patrick

If Nolan Patrick’s A Golden Knight, It’ll Be For Good Reason

Since the signing of Reid Duke, the entire Golden Knights fan base have been playing make-believe GM. The dream transaction almost every armchair general manager (including myself) wants to make, is drafting top rated prospect Nolan Patrick. By now, we’re all aware Nolan and Duke play together in Brandon, Manitoba. Patrick is currently projected first or second in most analysts mock drafts. Duke, who becomes the Golden Knights first signed player could also become the team’s first player ambassador.

Of course, we can’t expect Kelly McCrimmon to exchange all of his Brandon currency for Vegas gold but his influence could help. If he believes Patrick is worth trading future assets for, I’m sure his boss will listen. George McPhee wouldn’t just trade up for a splash, but we have to imagine McCrimmon’s opinion is heavily valued by the GM. Conspiracy nuts like myself and Alex Jones expect lottery shenanigans leading to Vegas magically getting the first pick, but the possibility of drafting four to six is real if the odds are legit.

McPhee will be having very serious conversations with all 30 GMs in the near future so he’ll know (he might already) what the price of moving up will be. Analysts like Craig Button and Bob McKenzie are both down on this year’s draft but that doesn’t mean a team will make trade-swapping easy on Vegas.

Now that we know the situation, we have to ask the obvious question, is trading up for Nolan Patrick is even worth it? The projected number one pick’s numbers are silly over the past three plus seasons in Brandon. In 28 games this season, the right-handed center has 42 points. Last year he posted 102 points in 72 games with a rating of +51. Out of Patrick’s 18 goals this season only a few are assisted by Duke. While both centers play many shifts on separate lines, they continuously show up together on Brandon’s lethal power play unit. The Wheat Kings are in the top half of the WHL, scoring 64 PP goals this season. Teaming up on special teams in Vegas could be one reason to reunite Duke and Patrick. 

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Interview: Reid Duke, First Golden Knights Player

The first player in franchise history, Reid Duke, was kind enough to lend us a few minutes to talk about his historic signing with the Vegas Golden Knights. The interview aired live on KXNT Radio as I (Ken Boehlke) filled in as the host of The Alan Stock Show.

Reid and I talked about his decision to come to Vegas, playing with Nolan Patrick, the media tour he’s been on, and played a quick game of trivia.


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2017 Draft Being Compared To Draft That Killed The Thrashers; Beware McPhee

The 1999 NHL Entry Draft… regarded as the worst in NHL history. Here’s the scary part, draft analysts have been pulling out the ’99 term to describe this year’s rookie draft. Even hockey’s most positive analyst isn’t exactly pumped about the prospects available to the Golden Knights in their first ever Entry Draft.

This year’s draft appears to have considerably less sizzle and marquee value than each of the last two that featured the Connor McDavid versus Jack Eichel rivalry in 2015 and the Auston Matthews sweepstakes in 2016. –Bob McKenzie, TSN

Okay, fine. Its not like years past, but how bad could it possibly be?

The last time we had a draft like this, in terms of level of athletic competition was ’99… worst draft in the the history of the league -Pierre McQuire, TSN 690

Oh God, he did it, he said ’99, it’s got to be that bad. Only 16 first round draft picks in ’99 played a total of 82 games. In 1998, 23 out 27, and in 2000, 21 of 30 first-rounders skated for a minimum of 82 games. Sure, we’ve been touting ‘Number one Nolan‘ and ‘Nico the Knight‘ but after ’99, anything is possible. Scouts could easily be wrong on Patrick and Hischier. Analysts are expecting so little, Vegas should feel lucky to be in the mix for two potential goal scorers. If June’s amateur draft is anything like 18 years ago, Vegas should start focusing on 2018’s draft. You think the hockey world is being too dramatic? Here, remind yourself of the negative impact the ’99 draft had.

1999: Top Ten breakdown

1 – Patrik Stefan/Center – Atlanta

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First Two Picks In This Entry Draft A Clear Cut Above

Number One Nolan or Nico the Knight? It’s a question that some lucky NHL general managers and scouts will answer before June. TSN’s Craig Button consistently projects Nolan Patrick as his number one overall pick. Also, Button continues to be impressed by Swiss skater Nico Hischier. Button believes two teams will be happy to select one of the top prospects. After that though… not so much.

I’m not so sure there’s a difference between the 3rd and the 15th pick… The top two guys, Patrick and Hischier have separated themselves. They’re a cut above. –Craig Button, TSN’s Director of Scouting

Patrick has gone bananas in his return from injury. The Brandon Wheat King center has five goals and 13 points in seven games since his return. Including four helpers in last night’s Wheat King 6-3 victory. Wow, right? Most analysts say it’s easy scouting Patrick. He was on the outside cusp of last year’s draft, so they’re very aware of his talent.

It definitely is a two-player field for the top [North America] ranking and Nolan Patrick was the frontrunner going into the season for the 2017 draft and remains the top candidate for NHL Central Scouting. It’s unfortunate [Patrick] had to miss so much time but it was necessary for him to be able to return at 100 percent. He’s been well known to NHL scouts for the past three years; his game continues to show he’s a top prospect. –Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting

Patrick may not be deemed a “generational” talent like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews but has the size and skill to be an NHL All-Star.

There’s no franchise-type player in this draft and even the No. 1 consensus pick, Nolan Patrick, had the injury factor so there are still questions. That said, Patrick is a big, strong center and can skate well. It’s just a matter of his development and getting more experience and strength. But he has all the pro attributes that you’re looking for. –Joe McDonnell, Dallas Stars Director of Amateur Scouting

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2017 Prospect Spotlight – Martin Necas

TSN’s Craig Button came out with his latest draft prospect power rankings. Leading the board was the expected number one overall pick Nolan Patrick. The Brandon Wheat King is expected to return to after a long lay off recovering from a sports hernia. Ouch. We profiled Patrick way back in 2015, and discussed him as a potential franchise player. Even after missed time, Button still ranks the 17-year old center above any other amateur. However, if Vegas misses out on Patrick there are other potential star prospects. has already spotlighted two of them in Nico “The Knight” Hischier and top defensive prospect Timothy Liljegren. Both could be more realistic options if Vegas doesn’t pick first. If the Golden Knights get bumped out of the top three, the following top prospects should still get fans excited. We’ve talked about the top three and now it’s time to dig deeper.

Fourth on Button’s big board is Czech center Martin Necas. The 6’0 right-hander plays in the Czech Extra League and is known for his competitive edge, which scouts love.

He refuses to be denied when he’s faced with a challenge, and his game will only become that much better as he matures physically. -Craig Button, TSN

Continued mentions of Necas’s competitiveness is what Vegas scouts should like the most about the young Czech’s scouting report.

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When It Comes To Draft Risk, Center > Defenseman

Over the last few weeks I’ve highlighted the top defenseman Timothy Liljegren and a top three forward Nico Hischier. Either prospect would be a great start for Vegas. Stud defenseman like Liljegren don’t come around often. In fact, 2012 was the last draft multiple defenseman were selected in the top five. Crazy enough, eight rookie blueliners were picked in the top ten that year. (Ryan Murray, Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Rielly, Hampus Lindholm, Mathew Dumba, Derrick Pouliot, Jacob Trouba, Slater Koekkoek)

All this draft chat had me thinking about McPhee’s strategy. Who would the Golden Knights draft between the highest rated defenseman, or a top three center? commenter James made a strong point about a few somewhat recent drafts. Drew Doughty selected second could easily have jumped over Steven Stamkos. Same with the 2009 draft with John Tavares and Victor Hedman. Of course, all four organizations feel incredibly satisfied with their selections. I will always lean towards a top-rated center over a defenseman. As important as goaltending and defense is, NHL offense comes at a premium. However, if a talent like Doughty comes up my decision wouldn’t be tough.

Drafting a center in the Top-5 of the NHL Entry Draft has been almost ridiculously successful for NHL clubs over the past 10-15 years. There will always be a few misses, like Alex Galchenyuk in 2012 or Kyle Turris in 2007, but just about every other one during the past 13 years has had major impact. Take a look at the centers drafted early from 2003-2016.

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2017 Prospect Spotlight – Timothy Liljegren

When it comes to the 2017 NHL amateur draft we’ve really only heard one name at the top, Nolan Patrick. Names like Maxime Comtois and Kristian Vesalainen have come up as possible candidates for the Golden Knights, but we’ve already crowned Patrick as the prized jewel of next June’s draft. However, TSN’s Craig Button wrote an article last week about Swedish prospect Timothy Liljegren as a possible number one. Since Patrick has only skated in 10 games this season for the Brandon Wheat Kings, other options are starting to creep into the picture. The 6’2″ defenseman is described as smooth and mature. Liljegren the number one rated blue liner, could be a future player Vegas fans root for. Although, the ping pong balls have to fall our way.

What makes Liljegren a top talent is his maturity and effective play in high competition. The 17 year-old Swede is currently playing in the Swedish Elite league for Rögle BK. There’s not much footage on him available, and he’s been sidelined with mono, but most believe he’s ready for the big stage in North America, so we’ll have to take their word for it. Lately, the NHL has showcased its young talent sooner than later. McJesus, Jack Terrier Eichel, Papi Matthews and Patrick ‘Laine’s Better’ all made a pro-roster their first year.

Are Nolan Patrick and Liljegren prospects ready for the NHL? Neither are rated like McDavid, Eichel and Matthews were, yet Patrick and Liljegren are still considered franchise players. If the Golden Knights are lucky enough to draft either, fans should be very excited. I couldn’t imagine Vegas rushing draft picks to the big club, so fans might wait a year or two. George McPhee has already discussed developing his prospects. With that in mind, McPhee will probably plan on expansion and free agency for his 2017 roster. As we’ve discussed already, playoffs are not the Golden Knights main concern out of the gate. Building for the future is hopefully what this organization is planning. A big, two-way defenseman like Liljegren would be top priority to the organization.

As a talent evaluator, Button is well respected around domestic and international hockey. He’s had success projecting a prospects impact in the past. Even with limited playing time for both, they’re in Button’s top two draft slots. What does that say for the rest of the top ten? If he’s convinced there are two highly skilled prospects then Vegas fans should be very optimistic. Look out if Patrick or Liljegren end up with the Golden Knights. The Pacific teams won’t be winning as much as they’re expecting on the Strip.

The Wheat King Connection; Reuniting McCrimmon And Patrick Would Be Magic

It’s a dream scenario, one we were dreaming about before we knew who Kelly McCrimmon was. Hire McCrimmon, then draft his stud center from Brandon, Manitoba. Projected 2017 #1 pick Nolan Patrick isn’t Connor McDavid, but he may be Auston Matthews. If you noticed, Toronto has had a resurgence after drafting the Arizonan, Matthews, #1 overall. The Leafs haven’t hit the ice yet, but rookie camp was packed in Toronto. Fans were pumped to get a sneak peak of their new rookie sensation. Could the Wheat King Center do that for his former coach here in Las Vegas?

Number one picks have become a crapshoot in most sports, but not the NHL. Going back to the amateur draft in 2000, there’s really only been one bust. I’m giving Neil Yakupov a little more time before he reaches Rick DiPietro status. The NBA for example, has had four #1 busts since 2000. That’s a big difference. Out of the last sixteen #1 overall picks, twelve have made an NHL All-Star game. If Connor McDavid played a full season, it would have been thirteen. So you see what I’m getting at, number one NHL picks usually work out.

Even though McCrimmon coached the seventeen year-old Patrick the past few seasons, it comes down to the fate of the ping pong balls cause if Patrick is that good, teams won’t be giving him away. The Center is 6’3 200lbs and distributes the puck as well as he scores. 61 assists, to go along with 41 goals this season was a good example of Patrick’s high hockey IQ. Comparable with this year’s #1 pick Matthews at 6’2, 215lbs and plays the center position. Some even expect a big year from Matthews, like

Landing a franchise player can stimulate an organization and fanbase. Not like Las Vegas will need any stimulation, but imagine a top prospect along with the excitement. Even though, Patrick or whomever they select wouldn’t play their first season in Las Vegas. Ending up with the number one pick is a long shot (essentially 12%), but ending up with Kailer Yamamoto or Maxime Comtois might work out for Las Vegas too. More on those prospects later, but for now, let’s keep dreaming about the Wheat King Connection.

Skate Like Max: Vegas’ First Pick Should Be Gildon

Most of you probably haven’t heard of 16 year-old Defenseman Max Gildon. You will. In my eyes he’s the ideal player for Las Vegas to select in the 2017 NHL draft. Building a team around talent is necessary, but talent that connects with fans can be just as important. Not only is the blue liner big, and skilled but he’s also an American.

Let’s be serious, most high draft picks come out of Canada. Of course Canada’s Nolan Patrick or Finland’s Juuso Välimäki would be fine in Las Vegas. However, having a highly ranked American skater could add to the city’s excitement.

The evidence is the Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick Jack Eichel. The buzz in Buffalo right now is reminiscent of the Miraslov Satan and Matthew Barnaby days. Eichel is the next big star in Buffalo. Already visiting hospitals, holding meet and greets with fans. He’s become the darling of the Nickel City and he hasn’t played in one regular season game. The resurgence has already begun in upstate NY, which is good for the league. It’s been a while since Brett Hull’s goal/no goal. I feel for you Sabres fans.

I’m not against Canadian skaters, most of my favorite players to watch are Canadian. However, Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Benn and Drew Doughty were drafted by teams with an established fan base. Connecting with fans is a way to build when winning might not be an option right away. I’d think Quebec City is planning the same with Nolan Patrick.

Don’t you think Las Vegas would rally around a young superstar defenseman from America? Sure a high Canadian draft pick would be just as good on the ice, but off the ice is just as important. Especially when the new franchise is building from scratch. Can you imagine the Max Gildon t-shirt and jersey sales? Every young Las Vegas kid would want to “Skate Like Max.

It’s the same reason I want The Creator to make one of his first trades on Minnesota Wild Forward Jason Zucker. It’s all about the connection.

Hockey fans throughout the valley like me don’t need to be hooked. Attracting NBA, NFL, NASCAR and even Opera fans is a must. Zucker’s local connection could attract a different fan, fringe fans. Which is what a young franchise needs to build team support.

Now to get started on that Zucker proposal. Stay tuned…

2017 Prospect Spotlight – Nolan Patrick

Let’s go ahead and say the newly expanded Quebec Nordiques and the Las Vegas Team Yo Be Named Later were granted franchises by the NHL. In that case, the 2017 NHL Rookie Draft will be the overall foundation for both teams.

The expansion teams will draft number one and two overall in each round (we better win that coin flip), giving them a leg up on other struggling teams that would normally hold those picks.

Since we have two seasons to kill before the draft I’m going to keep an eye on the projected class of 2017. Nowadays with juniors, college and select teams, it’s easier to spot NHL quality talent even younger than before.

The competition and quality of Canadian Juniors is arguably better than most minor leagues in the world. Hockey East, Big Ten, ECAC and WHCA all produce high level U.S. talent too. As well as high school select teams that are basically all stars from collective towns and cities.

In New England, there are schools nicknamed “hockey factories” that fine tune young players to be college ready and beyond.

Schools like Thayer Academy have notable alums like; Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Brooks Orpik, Ryan Whitney and 2000 Hobey Baker winner Mike Mottau.

Check out Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, NHL alums include; Jonathan Quick, Brian Leetch, Cam Atkinson, Nick Bonino and Chris Higgins. Crazy loaded.

So all that being said, let’s lookout at one of the top prospects ranked for the 2017 draft.

Nolan Patrick – 6’3 190lbs, Center – Brandon Wheat Kings

That’s right the Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League baby. The almost 17-years-old (9/19/98) Patrick, will be draft eligible in 2017 and is widely considered the front runner as the top pick. Top line Centers are tough to come by, especially at 6’3 and growing (watch him light a kid up in December of 2014. He’s #19 in white and yellow).

Nolan had a monster rookie season with the Wheat Kings totaling 30 goals, 56 points in 55 games. More importantly he scored 15 goals in the playoffs. That’s why he is a top prospect.

After being placed on Team Canada for the 2015 Memorial Cup, reviews were strong about the young Center. Patrick scored 3 goals in four games for the Canadian Juniors, and won the gold medal. Scouts after the tournament said Patrick’s maturity was showing much faster than some thought.

Las Vegas and Quebec will be heavily scouting Nolan Patrick over his next two seasons of Juniors, as well as many other players. It’ll be interesting to see how Nolan follows up his stellar rookie season. One point a game is going to be tough to beat.

Do yourself a favor and catch a Wheat Kings game sometime. Great jerseys, great talent, and you might be watching the next Strip headliner.

Could Nolan Patrick be Las Vegas’ 2017 #01 Pick?

Stay Tuned…

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