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.
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.
Pete DeBoer is no stranger to standing behind incredibly talented players. Over the course of his coaching career in the NHL, he’s had Martin Broder, Patrick Elias, Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Scott Gomez, Stephen Weiss, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, and so many more high-end players in the league.
DeBoer has been to the Stanley Cup Final twice, he’s been in the playoffs five times, and his teams have won nine playoff series. He’s coached four different franchises in almost 900 total games as he’s working into his 12th season this year. Yet for DeBoer, the 2019-20 Golden Knights are unique.
It’s hard to argue with him too. The Golden Knights are pretty stacked, especially following the trade deadline. The line of Mark Stone, William Karlsson, and Max Pacioretty is one of the best in the NHL and the group of forwards behind them is balanced and strong. Shea Theodore is quietly turning himself into an elite defenseman while Nate Schmidt, Brayden McNabb and Alec Martinez round out a top-four group on defense that is reliable in any situation. And the goalie tandem is without question #1 in the league.
As tough as it was for me to leave San Jose 33 games after going to the conference finals the year before, for me the Vegas situation is the opportunity of a lifetime. It seems like a great combination of talent and character and leadership. Great community, great ownership, great management. I think you coach in this league for opportunities like this with teams like this and I’m really thankful for how everything played out even as tough as some of the moments were. –DeBoer on The Chirp Podcast
He’s coached numerous Cup winners, present and future Hall of Famers, countless All Stars, Norris winners, Vezina winners, Richard winners, Calder winners, Hart winners, Ross winners, Lindsay winners, you name it, DeBoer has coached it.
It hasn’t been rare for DeBoer to praise pretty much everything about Vegas since he took the job back in January, but we haven’t quite heard it with this type of historical context in his career. Yet he believes this Golden Knights team is the most talented he’s ever had and offers the opportunity of a lifetime. An even better opportunity than the one he had which have served as the Golden Knights primary rivals for the better part of three seasons.
I’m a big believer that everything in hockey happens for a reason. The way my career has gone, one door closing there’s always been another door opening with a better opportunity. –DeBoer on The Chirp Podcast
Now all he needs is a chance to see this opportunity out. This talented bunch was firing on all cylinders when the league was halted due to the pandemic. They’d just ripped off an eight-game win streak, had won 11 of 13, and hadn’t lost back to back games in almost a month. The league just needs to restart so the Golden Knights can go from the most talented group to play for DeBoer to the most accomplished.
**The quotes for this story were pulled from a recent podcast episode of The Chirp, hosted by VGK TV host Daren Millard. It is a tremendous conversation with DeBoer and his long-time friend Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice. Anyone who likes VGK should listen to this episode, it’s that good. Here’s the link to the episode.**
Whether it means making great selections and developing those players into NHL stars or trading picks/prospects for NHL-ready players, the Draft is the most important tool for a GM to consistently improve his team.
Through three seasons, the Golden Knights have made 28 selections in the Entry Draft. Four have played in NHL games but just two have appeared for the Golden Knights. That being said, Vegas used the selections of the two that didn’t, Erik Brannstrom and Nick Suzuki, to acquire Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty.
So, it’s a bit too early to judge how well they’ve drafted as a team, but there’s no questioning they’ve already been able to utilize the Entry Draft to improve to what ended up being the best roster ever constructed from an Expansion Draft. The future of the franchise will continue to hinge on the successes and failures in the Entry Draft.
During the NHL Pause, NHL.com has been conducting “NHL Redrafts” in which they go back over a previous year’s Entry Draft and reselect them using what we know now. They’ve completed eight years, from 2005 to 2012, which consists of a majority of the players playing in the league right now.
When those eight drafts occurred, George McPhee was the GM of the Washington Capitals. He had 10 1st round picks yet managed to select 13 players that wound up being 1st rounders in NHL.com’s Redrafts. Here’s the full rundown of how McPhee did…