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The New Golden Knight Is No Joke; Shippy’s Got Star Written All Over Him

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.

At 30-years-old, the SKA St. Petersburg center will get a chance to breakout in Las Vegas like fellow Russians Artemi Panarin and Alexander Radulov did recently in Chicago and Montreal.

In February, we highlighted Rob Vollman’s analysis of Shipachyov’s KHL to NHL conversion statistics.

A Look At The Best Available KHL Free Agents

(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.

In addition to the Canadiens, the Panthers, Red Wings, Rangers, and Canucks were also intrigued by the KHL star.

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.

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.

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.

Viva Shippy!

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10 Comments

  1. RJ

    No disrespect to Reid Duke, but I think Shippy will be remembered as the first ‘big’ signing of the Las Vegas NHL franchise.

    By the way the KHL team he played for, SKA, essentially translates to “Sport Club of the Army”, which if Foley had his way is exactly what he’d have named this team.

    I’m pretty up on this signing. If there is a downside, I just don’t see it. Also the guys on Sirius XM NHL radio just reported that we should expect another KHL signing coming to Las Vegas announcement today.

    • Couldn’t agree more with this. Shippy is going to be on the NHL club without question. Hopefully Reid turns into a solid NHL player, but his ceiling is probably lower than Shippy’s floor.

  2. Phisig150

    Well now I’m excited. I always enjoy your player write ups Jason. Is this a player we can market around as our “star”? I like that we’re building a Las Vegas Red Army. Maybe we won’t suck as much this year as I was predicting.

    • RJ

      Shippy might very well be one of our best players year one, but I’m hoping we get a couple more familiar faces via expansion draft or FA to be the primary focus of marketing. Maybe Jakob Silfverburg, Jason Zucker, Jimmy Howard and Shippy as the cover of our first program?

    • Based on what I’ve heard, they are going to be hesitant to call anyone a “star” right away. They want to focus more on the team first.

      • PhiSig 150

        Yeah I get that. Maybe if we sign some more Ruskies we could get a fun Vegas Red Army thing going but I still want a star ASAP.

      • PhiSig 150

        By focus on the team I hope it’s not a focus on the values and virtues that the team or Knight is supposed to represent because that’s lame and is going to fall flat on its face. A winning team is easy to market but those teams also almost always have stars fans can get excited about. You could try to sell style of play like building a fast paced high scoring team. The NBA equivalent is probably the 7 seconds of less Suns but if you’re scoring points in bunches again you’re going to have a star player that comes along with that ala Steve Nash. You can try to build a defensive juggernaut but even the 85 Bears had Payton and the Bad Boys had Isaiah so even legendary defensive teams still have star power. Besides this isn’t the style of play that Foley says he wants. You can market the youth movement (if Foley has the patience) but once again aren’t you best case scenario marketing future stars. Anyway you slice it I don’t see how landing a star and making them an integral part of selling the team isn’t top priority. Fans, especially ones new to the game, need a star(s) to rally behind. I don’t need my hockey team to teach me morals and ethics, if I wanted that I would go to church not the rink. If you get him back on the show I think you need to press Nehme on just how deep they’re going to dive into this whole Knights concept.

  3. James

    @PhiSig 150
    Sounds like a NHL problem. They just do a poor job marketing their stars. P. K. Subban is raked over the coals by the media for showing an ounce of personality. Then the media have the audacity to criticize players for giving cliche answers to questions.

    Personally, I think it’s the name on the front of the jersey that matters most, not the one on the back. I’m in the minority. Humbleness is a good personality trait, but humble doesn’t sell. Hockey players have been programmed to always put the team first. The Spurs play such an unselfish brand of basketball, but are considered boring to some people

    • Phisig150

      Humbleness is so overrated but maybe that’s just the ugly American in me. I love a good shit talker like my boy Conor who tells you exactly what he’s going to do then goes out and does just that. Not sure if there even exsists a guy like that in the NHL but if there is give that dude please. Sports are entertainment and I find trash talk endlessly entertaining.

      The name on the front of the jersey blah blah blah is such an overused cliche. True to the point that you don’t abandon your team because a certain player leaves but ignores the fact that what makes being a fan so great is all the meomorable names on the backs of the jerseys that gave you years of great moments you’ll never forget.

      Glad you brought up the Spurs because you’re absolutely right they’re so damn boring. No persoanlity at all. But “they played the game the right way” because they didn’t do anything that pissed off uptight middle aged white people. Give me the Showtime Lakers or Shaq and Kobe anyday. Those teams were so fun because of the power of the stars. Tim Duncan always looked like a giant sad puppy to me. Kobe is my all time favorite player because he was an unrepentant asshole with the ultimate killer instinct who was obessed with the game and winning. He’d rip your heart out then openly gloat about it in front of 20k screaming fans. Timmy the Big Lobotomy Duncan wins the championship and there’s hardly any emotion at all. I’ll gladly take an alpha dog like the Mamba but maybe our goalie can be polite and humble.

  4. Dwayne Lucyk

    Not only does the NHL do a poor job of marketing their stars, the NHL referees do a very poor job of calling the rule book, especially in the playoffs. As an example, I do not know what goaltender interference is anymore. I always thought the blue paint in the crease was the area to protect the goalies. On some instances, they have video review, at their disposal, and are still reluctant to overturn their decisions because it makes them look bad for making the wrong call in the first place. I thought modern technology was instituted to ensure the initial calls are right or overturned if wrong. I am not referring to borderline calls that are deemed incidental contact that can be interpreted either way. I am referring to the video reviews that all the neutral panelists on all the networks agree was blatant goalie interference preventing a goalie from making a save and the referees decision is the opposite. So far, the playoffs have been great but some of the games are being ruined by incompetent officiating. Hopefully, those officials will be reprimanded by not being allowed to referee the Stanley Cup final series. Another thing, don’t get me started with video review for offsides. I agree with NBC Jeremy Roenick today that it should be obolished.

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