If you happened to miss last week’s World Junior Summer Showcase then you
really need to start following us on Twitter missed quite the showing from one of the Golden Knights’ three first round draft picks. Luckily, we were on full Erik Brannstrom watch, and boy was it something to watch.
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) August 5, 2017
Oh, he wasn’t done dishing.
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) August 4, 2017
Let’s face it, we’re Brann-addicts. (Holy balls this nickname is terrible, someone please come up with something better.) We want more, we want more. What made our jaws-drop last week is seeing Brannstrom’s dominance, and then realizing he’s still developing. Which creates a major epidemic of Brannstrom withdrawal. Luckily, the 17-year-old, he’ll be 18 in less than a month, defenseman will be back in Las Vegas later this summer. After camp, who knows how long before fans get to watch the puck-moving defenseman again.
Alas, there is good news, and it happens to be the silver lining Olympic fans, and now Vegas fans, have been waiting for. This week the NHL announced that all players with pro contracts are prohibited from playing in Korea. Players with two-way contracts were also included in the NHL’s decision.
A decision has been made that all players under NHL contract will be subject to similar treatment. -Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner
But the NHL left some wiggle-room that should make Golden Knight fans happy.
Daly confirmed that players signed to NHL deals but who are playing in Europe, like Dallas Stars first-round pick Miro Heiskanen who is expected to spend the season in Finland, would not be precluded from playing in the Olympics. Those players loaned to European teams wouldn’t be playing the season on their NHL contracts, which is the same situation for those on entry-level deals in Canadian major junior leagues. – Stephen Whyno, AP
Whyno used Miro Heiskanen as an example of a qualifying prospect who can play in the Korean Games. Golden Knight fans should read and think this: like Golden Knight’s first-round pick Erik Brannstrom who is expected to spend the season in Sweden, would not be precluded from playing in the Olympics.
Now, this is all speculation, but why couldn’t Brannstrom be featured on Sweden’s Olympic team? The slick-skating defenseman seems very comfortable playing internationally and has the skill to keep up. Without NHL players, the tournament is fully up for grabs. Brannstrom’s offensive instinct would be an added threat for Team Sweden. The discipline, ice-vision, and passing ability he possesses are typical traits of Swedish defensemen. If Brannstrom continues to progress he should get selected to represent his country. Along with other top-prospects, the Three Crowns have a real chance of winning an Olympic medal.
Of course, Golden Knight fans will be forced to wake up inconveniently early. It’s the biggest complaint I’ve heard from hockey fans. If Sweden selects VGK’s top prospect, maybe Las Vegas won’t care what time Olympic hockey is on. We are a 24-hour city. And just to motivate you more… picture, mid-February, and the Golden Knights are hosting Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. Later in the night, like 3 AM later, Brannstrom and Team Sweden will take on Team USA from Pyeongchang. Honestly, come up with a better reason to skip a night’s sleep?