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.
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.
While we continue to grieve, we are doing our best to return to normalcy and know that hockey is a way we, and many of you, escape from the unfortunate realities life often deals us. We will never forget the tragic event that occurred on October 1st.
Here is what happened while we were away mourning the loss of so many innocent victims.
The entire Golden Knights organization, including players, coaches, front office, and business staff, were accounted for. In a press release, they added this statement, “However, we know that this is not the case for many other organizations in our city. Our hearts are with those affected and we will be doing what we can to support the victims, their families and those grieving.”
Fan Fest has been canceled. It was originally scheduled for tonight from 6-8 PM outside The D Casino.
Instead, players will make appearances in the community to show support to first responders and victims.
A Finnish tabloid ran a story including a quote from Erik Haula claiming many members of the Golden Knights were eating dinner at Mandalay Bay when the incident occurred. Here is the story.
The translated version claims a real estate agent called Haula to let him know what was happening. Haula and teammates were unaware until he received the call. He was quoted as saying “there is panic in the streets,” and “the building is closed, we are going to be here all night.”
This is an unconfirmed report. There is a team practice today at 11 AM, with media availability following. We should have more about the validity of this story later today.
The roster deadline is scheduled for today at 2PM PST. The Golden Knights, and all NHL teams, must cut down to 23 players by that time.
One player was placed on and cleared waivers, that was Teemu Pulkkinen. Despite scoring twice including on the power play, Pulkkinen will be sent to the Chicago Wolves.
Last season, Pulkkinen was placed on waivers by the Red Wings, was then claimed by the Wild prior to the season beginning. He was then traded to the Coyotes in February. Vegas selected him from the Coyotes in the Expansion Draft.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a little over a month since the Golden Knights went from having three players to more than 50. Because of the massive influx, certain players have risen to the top of mind when discussing the team. Guys like Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal, Shea Theodore, and Alex Tuch. There’s a reason for it, but as we examined the roster, we realized there are a bunch of players on the Golden Knights roster who will make a significant impact on the ice that we’ve barely even talked about, and we post an article every single day. So,
There’s a reason for it, but as we examined the roster, we realized there are a bunch of players on the Golden Knights roster who will make a significant impact on the ice that we’ve barely even talked about, and we post an article every single day. So, here’s a quick look at some of the under talked about, and kind of underappreciated, inaugural Golden Knights.
David Perron: Forward Career: 652 Games, 159 Goals, 378 Points
Perron is getting overshadowed by his future teammates James Neal, Vadim Shipachyov and Jonathan Marchessault. A potential deadline trade victim, the 12-year veteran has the ability to generate offense. Another Golden Knight with a high career shooting percentage, Perron’s 11.9% will help Vegas put pressure on opposing goaltenders. The former first-round pick in 2007 (26th overall) has scored 15+ goals six times in his career. In the forward’s second go-around in St.Louis, he thankfully improved defensively. Perron had a career highs in blocked shots and came close to a career high in takeaways. Defensive responsibility will be an important aspect for all Vegas forwards.
Erik Haula: Forward Career: 266 Games, 42 Games, 89 Points
The other guy the Golden Knights got from Minnesota, and the one fans will see much more of in the short term. Haula should excite Vegas fans with his speed and strong two-way play. That’s evident by his career 55.5% defensive Zone Starts. (Read more about Zone Starts) The former Golden Gopher is also not afraid to let the puck go. Haula’s 11.2% shooting percentage is above the league average. His three-year $8.25M deal coupled with the Expansion Draft hole the Golden Knights had the Wild in is a strong sign he’s in the organization’s future plans. Hopefully, Haula’s Gopher roommate Nate Schmidt will sign his new deal this week.
At least I’ll have one really familiar face. I’m sure everything is going to fall into place. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun for all of us. I don’t really know what to expect. I’m just going to go to camp and see what happens. It’s all going to be new for me. -Haula
Jon Merrill: Defenseman Career: 216 Games, 30 Assists, 36 Points