Defenseman Connor Corcoran has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Golden Knights.
Corcoran is a tall, right-hand shot defenseman who has taken major steps since being selected by the Golden Knights in the 5th round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He tallied 54 points in 62 games with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.
He is currently ranked 9th in the SinBin.vegas Golden Knights Prospect Rankings.
We’ve pretty much all resigned to the fact that the next time we see live hockey, it will be played in an empty arena. With all the discussion of the NHL’s phases, hub cities, and the return to play scenarios, fans remain an afterthought in the grand scheme of completing the season.
However, that doesn’t mean that door won’t open back up assuming the spread of the coronavirus continues trending in the right direction as it has over the past few weeks.
During an interview on NBCSN, Gary Bettman alluded to the league keeping their options open for the possibility of fans returning to the arenas at some point during the playoffs “depending on where the world is” at that point.
With all the restrictions still in place across the US and Canada that seems like a pie in the sky idea, but The Creator seems to believe it might be possible much sooner than most would believe.
Fans will be watching it on TV, certainly through the play-in round. I’m hopeful that by the time we get to August 10th, 1th, or 12th that we’ve successfully come across (the pandemic) and we’re back from the dark side. Then we can start getting some fans in arenas and start playing at home and away. That’s what I’m really hopeful for but we just don’t know. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline
Speaking on the Vegas Hockey Hotline on Friday, The Creator made it clear he is ready to get fans back in the building as soon as it’s safe, even if it doesn’t mean a full 17,500 capacity crowd we are used to at T-Mobile Arena.
I’m hoping if we take long enough that we may be able to get back to some sort of social distancing but people being in the arena, even if it’s only 4,500 people or 5,000 people. I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t be able to get to that point. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline
Obviously, this will all come down to the health and safety of the public, but rest assured the owners in the NHL are not going to wait long once the go-ahead is given that fans can once again be in arenas.
Last night two of the Golden Knights biggest personalities joined Spittin’ Chiclets to sip some brew, talk some trash, and play a little NHL 20.
Schmidty has been nervous about this all week. -Reaves
As usual, Chiclets hosts Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette loosened up their guests and the video chat turned to trash talk, inside jokes and small nuggets of information. The combination podcast/game-watch was close to an hour, and for a guy who doesn’t enjoy watching others play video games, it was very entertaining. Plus, there was one hilarious story involving former Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant.
The two teammates were asked about getting back to work, and if the team has gotten together at all during the pandemic. Reaves mentioned the entire team was in Las Vegas but they haven’t been able to see one another.
Yeah we’re all here, but no you can’t. Yeah but everything is opening up now. I don’t know what’s going to happen.-Reaves
While we assumed most, if not all of the Golden Knights stayed in Las Vegas, Reaves confirmed it. With players from all over the world, you have to wonder if the organization pleaded with the players to stay in town during the coronavirus lockdown or left it up to them. Either way, it makes it easier for the team to fully unite than if they had to wait for other teammates to self-quarantine.
Las Vegas as a potential NHL hub city came up in conversation, and it sure seems like the players know they won’t be getting any advantages.
I was thinking that would be quite a bit of an advantage for the Golden Knights considering they get to stay at home, but that’s not the case. -Paul Bissonnette
Yeah, we still have to go to the hotel and everything.-Reaves
And with no fans, yeah you’re pretty much in the same ballpark. Other than, would you then be able to see your family?-Bissonnette
No. I don’t think so. I think we’re in full lockdown.-Reaves
So it’s clear the Golden Knights have been told some directives regarding the league’s plan to return. With the concern of creating a disadvantage for the other teams, if Vegas is allowed to play in their home city, they really should be looking at it as if they’re on the road.
Schmidt even thinks this could be the toughest Stanley Cup to win for any team.
Don’t you think that if we start up again it’ll actually be even tougher because everyone’s healthy? -Schmidt
Schmidt’s theory has been floating around hockey media and it’s interesting to hear a player talk about how hard it’ll be to hoist the 2020 Stanley Cup.
Okay, okay enough burying the lead. Let’s get to the funniest moment of the entire webcast. Bissonnette and Whitney pushing Reaves to tell the story about the time he took a shot on net and lost the puck in the netting for a delay of game penalty.
The team has been purchased and relocated, it now has a name and an awesome logo, and in a few years, the Henderson Silver Knights will be playing their games in an $80 million arena on the corner of Green Valley and Paseo Verde parkways.
I believe this Henderson Arena is going to rival T-Mobile but be better in many ways. It’s going to be more compact and more user-friendly. -The Creator
For anyone who loves hockey, the idea of bringing another professional hockey team to the valley sounds amazing. But, for those who live and work in the area, there are concerns. Namely, traffic.
The area where the Henderson Pavilion currently sits is widely regarded as one of the most congested spots in all of Henderson. Now, the plan is to drag 6,000 more people in, 50+ times a year, without making any significant changes to the physical roadways in the area.
According to the CEO of the traffic consulting firm Ludian LLC, the solution to relieving any added traffic is simple, install “adaptive traffic systems,” or in laymen’s terms, better, smarter stoplights.
With any event, be it sporting or entertainment, traffic is always going to have a preconceived negative connotation. What the adaptive traffic systems aims to do is not allow the traffic to detract from the overall experience, I’m confident of this. -Ian Machen, CEO, Ludian LLC
So is the City of Henderson and the owner of the Henderson Silver Knights.
People should not be concerned about noise or traffic congestion. It just isn’t going to happen. -The Creator
No new lanes, no traffic cops, no special event traffic pattern, nothing. Just new lights.
Whenever the league gives the green light to go ahead with the 24 team playoff format that was unveiled earlier this week, the Golden Knights are going to have some tough decisions both in roster and lineup construction.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the league is expected to allow teams to have 28 skaters on their active roster along with an unlimited number of goalies. Normally, the entire AHL squad is available to any team still remaining in the NHL playoffs, but with the pandemic restrictions, the league likely wants to keep the numbers down.
So, let’s start with the 28 skaters that I project will make the cut for the Golden Knights.
Locks (21) (13 F, 8 D)
William Karlsson, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch, Chandler Stephenson, Nick Cousins, Nic Roy, Ryan Reaves, Tomas Nosek, William Carrier, Nate Schmidt, Brayden McNabb, Alec Martinez, Shea Theodore, Jon Merrill, Nick Holden, Zach Whitecloud, Deryk Engelland
This is the roster Vegas was expecting to go into the playoffs with had the league continued with the regularly scheduled season. Assuming health when the league is ready to return, there’s no way any of these 21 won’t be listed among the Golden Knights allotted 28.
AHL Locks (3) (2 F, 1 D)
Brandon Pirri, Valentin Zykov, Nic Hague
When I set out to do this I actually expected this group to be a little larger, but the group behind these guys is so large, McPhee and McCrimmon can really go a lot of different ways. Will they load up on defensemen because they have a little bit more of a variety of styles? Will they go with more veteran players to be safe? Or will they put a bunch of kids in the mix so they get a taste of “playoff” hockey? No matter which way they choose, these three will be among the 28 selected.
The NHL rolled out their plans on how they will conduct the playoffs, the Draft Lottery, and much more. Here’s a quick roundup of what it all means for the Vegas Golden Knights.
The 2019-20 regular season is over
Golden Knights officially become Pacific Division Champions
Final four home games are canceled. Ticket office sent out an email to fans with tickets telling them another is coming by the end of the week with information on refunds/credits
Team has begun process of distributing money set aside for arena workers
24 team playoff with eight automatically qualified for the round of 16
Vegas is among the eight to have qualified
Golden Knights will play a round-robin against the other three teams (Colorado, St. Louis, and Dallas) to determine seeding
Two hub cities will be used to host playoff games
Las Vegas was listed among the 10 potential hub cities.
The league made it clear their preference is to have any team from a hub city to NOT play their games in that city. Thus, if Las Vegas is selected, the Golden Knights will likely play in the other hub city.
Maybe the largest question mark this offseason, other than the future of Robin Lehner, is what the Golden Knights are planning on doing with soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Tomas Nosek.
Nosek is 27-years-old and has been a staple of the Vegas lineup since the first game in franchise history. He’s played in 202 of the team’s 235 games, appeared in 24 of the 27 playoff games, and has been one of the most consistent penalty killers along the way.
His numbers in the regular season are underwhelming (23G, 24A, 202 games) as primarily a fourth-liner but his three goals in the Cup Final sets him apart from most of the upcoming free agent class.
Nosek has signed four contracts in his short NHL career. Two with Detroit prior to being selected in the Expansion Draft, and then two as a restricted free agent in Vegas. He’s never made more than he did this season when he was paid $1 million.
Nosek recently appeared in an interview, conducted in Czech and translated via closed captioning, on the Xaver Live YouTube channel. He was asked about his future plans but made it sound like the decision is mostly out of his hands.
First we need to know where I will play. There’s no agreement about next season yet so we need to wait until the situation is clear and that will determine where my family will stay and live. Of course I don’t want to leave the Vegas team. I started here, so it would be great to stay. However, it’s all about business so it’s a management decision. The current chance is 50/50. –Nosek on Xaver Live YouTube
This previous offseason, Nosek technically hit unrestricted free agency for a moment. The Golden Knights did not extend a qualifying offer which made him a UFA before he signed the one-year $1 million deal that set him up to become a free agent again this summer.
Despite making it clear he wants to stay, Nosek says the Golden Knights are not ready to sign an extension while the season is paused.
Now that there’s a format in place (kinda), fans can finally feel good about the NHL getting back on the ice. The timetable hasn’t been set yet, but before the games begin, clubs will hold some sort of training/mini-camp. George McPhee mentioned a couple of weeks back that Golden Knights players shouldn’t need much time to prepare.
I think after a week or 10 days of skating they’d be fine. Are they really going to want four weeks? I don’t think so. After a week of hard skating, they’ll probably be saying ‘You know what, I’d rather be playing than practicing, so let’s get going.’ –George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline
After the training period is over and the players are ready for action, which position will be at their best first? The shooter or the stopper?
Because (goalies) motor skills don’t have to be as refined. Their crease movement is something they can practice on their driveway, they can practice in their basement. Their angle play, their awareness of the game, they can watch tape. There’s a lot of things they can do, they don’t really need ice.-Pierre McGuire, NBC Analyst
If goaltenders find their way back to form quicker, teams with better goaltending and defense have an early edge. The fear of the hot goaltender is so real reports were Montreal Canadiens star goalie Carey Price was one of the factors why the play-in series will be nothing less than a best-of-five finish.
The league initially suggested this play-in round be best two out of three and the players said no way… they felt it was not acceptable enough for the teams that had a better regular season and Pittsburgh looked at its matchup and it said ‘two out of three against Carey Price is not fair for a team that had zero percentage points to play in the playoffs.-Elliotte Friedman, SportsNet
Depending on the Golden Knights offense, either of their goalies have the ability to get hot and grab an early edge in a series. It should be a concern for any team in the Western Conference.
It certainly is for Winnipeg Jets sniper Patrick Laine.
My game is probably gonna look terrible since I haven’t skated for two months… It’s always a struggle to come back after a long period when you haven’t skated.-Patrick Laine, Jets forward
Between the pipes, Vegas should get strong goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner, so it’ll be up to their offense to advance to the later rounds. Scorers like Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith will need to quickly get into midseason form and continue the offensive success they had in the regular season. Since scoring is projected to be low in the opening games, it’ll be important for the Golden Knights forwards to shake off any early rust.
For the offensive players there’s a tempo element to the game that really can’t be duplicated unless you’re on the ice. With hand skills, with shooting skills, with foot movements. Until you’re on the ice doing them, it doesn’t work.-McGuire, NBC Sports
If the Golden Knights score 3.5 goals per game like they did last postseason, the backend duo of Fleury and Lehner should save enough to clinch multiple playoff rounds. The question is which goalie will take on the heavier load?
The intimidation factor of a goalie. I think a goalie can get up to speed a little bit quicker than they offense can. Carey (Price) is a guy that can definitely steal a series. Vasilevskiy can steal a series.-McGuire, NBC Sports
Vegas has the goaltending and the offensive talent to go on a run, however, it will all have to come together at the right time. If the offense struggles, it could come down to which Golden Knight goalie has the longer leash, and if Pete DeBoer pushes the right buttons going back and forth.