Vegas, we’ve got player number two. Well really, #87. Vegas fans by now know Vadim Shipachyov’s KHL stats, skate size, and wife’s name. As Reid Duke is starting to realize, some Golden Knight fans have become proud stalkers.
At $9M for two years, the KHL champion, who we are now fondly calling Shippy, will be expected to score, facilitate, and protect the puck. All while getting accustomed to a new country and a new style of hockey.
— Mark Grainda (@mgrainda71) August 30, 2016
As expected, the Golden Knights wisely went to the KHL to address the expected shortage of scoring, with Vadim Shipachyov, 2yrs, $4.5M/yr.
— Rob Vollman (@robvollmanNHL) May 5, 2017
In February, we highlighted Rob Vollman’s analysis of Shipachyov’s KHL to NHL conversion statistics.
(Yeah, that’s right, Shippy’s name was on SinBin.vegas in February. Suck it Granger!) (Disclaimer: We really like Jesse Granger.)
Vollman, a hockey analyst who works for ESPN and NHL.com, calculated Shipachyov would score .80 points per game. The KHL center’s NHL projections
compare with T.J. Oshie (.82), Jonathan Toews (.81), and Jeff Carter (.80) in North America.
Marc Bergevin says Vadim Shipachyov is a player who intrigues him.
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) July 1, 2016
In addition to the Canadiens, the Panthers, Red Wings, Rangers, and Canucks were also intrigued by the KHL star.
Arguably the biggest KHL free agent. Surprised it was Vegas. https://t.co/LdDCr6eMZk
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) May 5, 2017
McPhee signed a hot commodity and Shipachyov could be incredibly valuable to the organization’s future. Not only is there a high chance he’s a top line player for the Golden Knights, but the skilled center may have major value down the road to a contending team. If he transitions successfully to the NHL, Shipachyov could demand a long-term commitment, something the Golden Knights might want to avoid early on. Radulov could lead the KHL path seeking an eight-year deal. That’s a big risk for any team, but Shipachyov’s play could be difficult for Vegas to give up.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 19, 2016
Scouts are certain Shipachyov has the frame, talent, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. If this KHL free agent trend continues, Shipachyov’s KHL linemate could be making the move to Las Vegas as well. Elliotte Friedman reported in March that Vegas had been linked to St. Petersburg forward Evgeni Dadonov. Pro Hockey Talk doubled down on that claim this morning as well. Adding both SKA players would be a major statement from Vegas. Certainly, The Creator’s willingness to spend and McPhee’s vision to develop around skill became more apparent yesterday.
Dadonov. With a beauty. Again. pic.twitter.com/lGuZ0NQpxB
— KHL (@khl_eng) April 8, 2017
— SKA Ice Hockey Club (@hcSKA_News) January 13, 2017
It’s a good risk by the organization. Shipachyov is a high reward player that the Golden Knights got at or below the expected market value, and on a short term deal. If he works out like Radulov or Panarin, he could become a cornerstone of the NHL’s newest team, if not, they cut bait in two years and move on. It really is a win win signing.
Oh and by the way, Shipachyov is already tied in to one of international hockey’s coolest moments. If the Golden Knights #87 is anything like Pittsburgh’s #87, the six-year Cup winning plan might become the most memorable hockey promise since 1994.