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Finding AHL Gems

The Golden Knights NHL roster is very good. With a top-six that can compete with anyone, as a complete forward corps as there is, and a defensive group that may not be filled with huge names but has always gotten the job done, there’s not much space for additions in the offseason.

However, the depth of the organization disappears the moment you look outside of the NHL. After a trip to the Calder Cup Final a year ago, the Wolves watched their three leading scorers walk out the door in July 2019. That left a bit of a void in the AHL scoring department which led to 21-year-old AHL rookie Lucas Elvenes to lead the team in scoring.

The Wolves had just one player, Brandon Pirri, who averaged more than 0.85 points per game. Compare that to both 2017-18 and 2018-19 when they had five in each season.

The Golden Knights didn’t receive a ton of production out of those players at the NHL level, but the luxury of having multiple scoring options in the AHL is certainly something they should always be striving for. A few weeks ago we projected the 2020-21 Henderson Blank Blank roster and came to the conclusion that there will need to be at least two new forwards on the roster. George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon should be looking for guys who have proven they can score at the AHL level and have the potential upside to slide into the Golden Knights roster and have an impact. Here are a few potential candidates to fill those holes.

You better believe we have a Pontus Aberg picture in the archives! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Pontus Aberg
Previous Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how this guy hasn’t gotten more of a shot at the NHL level. In his first season in the NHL, he played just 15 regular season games with the Predators, but when the playoffs rolled around, he became a permanent member of their run to the Stanley Cup Final. He played 16 playoff games, scored two goals, including one in the Final, and registered three assists while averaging just 12 minutes per game.

Since, he’s bounced around quite a bit spending time with Anaheim, Edmonton, Minnesota, and Toronto. In his stops with the Ducks and Oilers, he put up 27 points in 53 games in the NHL. However, he just hasn’t ever seemed to stick. He registered 44 points (20g, 24a) in 55 games with the Toronto Marlies good for second on the team in both goals and points this season.

He’s a great skater with excellent speed, is a strong forechecker, and has shown the ability to score on the biggest stage.

The Silver Knights Blank Blanks have a hole in the top-six in the AHL, and Aberg is the perfect fit to fill it. Plus, the potential upside he can bring to the NHL roster makes him a player the Golden Knights absolutely need to look into when he hits free agency this summer.

Colin Blackwell
Previous Organization: Nashville Predators

The diminutive center has been a thorn in the Wolves’ side scoring eight points in nine games against Chicago. He’s had limited success at the NHL level with 10 points in 33 games for the Predators. He’s definitely not expected to be a big-time scorer as his style is much more defensive-minded, but when he’s been given a chance he’s been productive in a bottom-six NHL role.

At just 5’10”, he registered 43 hits in 27 games with the Predators and put up 23 blocks to go along with it. He played in the Sharks system while DeBoer was the coach in 2016-17 after signing his first AHL contract. He went on to play in Buffalo’s system for a year on a PTO before signing his first two-way deal with Nashville in 2018. Now, as a UFA, he’d be a great fit to fill a bottom-six AHL role and step into the NHL as a role-player where needed.

Jonny Brodzinski
Previous Organization: San Jose Sharks

Brodzinski played just three games in the NHL this season, but they were all for DeBoer. He posted one assist in those three games despite averaging about seven minutes per game.

He went to the AHL and fared pretty well scoring 14 goals and gathering 16 assists in 44 games. He’s played NHL games in four different seasons amassing 12 points in 57 games.

Brodzinski is right-handed power forward weighing in at 208 pounds and standing 6’1″. The Golden Knights have seen quite a bit of him having played for the Sharks and Kings. There’s a familiarity with DeBoer and he’s produced consistently in the AHL.

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12 Comments

  1. "DOC"

    The Silver (Knights) ah maybe SQUIRES? My only interest here is to be able to afford some live hockey If they can be successful, all the better and if they can develop quality NHL players for the Knights, then best of all. It will all work out over time as we all ALREADY know. Of course Ken baby, earns his living telling us a lot of things we already know. Good for him, smart guy! πŸ™‚

  2. Tim

    I’m having a dilemma with which way to go. We draft all these guys and put in maybe 3 years and hope they become NHL players but so far that hasn’t worked out. Cody G. is iffy, Nick H, is iffy, Jake B, and Jimmy S, are history and all the other guys are just AHL players. Lucas E has a shot, the 2 Russians signed with KHL through 2022 probably aren’t coming, Payton K. and if we sign Jack D look pretty good but on the other side of the coin this is my dilemma. We pick up Chandler S. for a fifth round he’s 25 and makes a million he’s been trained and is better then any of our draft choices. Next we trade for Nick R, and he’s better then any of our draft picks, same goes for Nick C. good player cheap and plays hard. Don’t get me wrong draft picks are good and they’ve helped us get Stone and Patch and once in a while we might get a gem in the draft but not often. I’d rather deal with 25 year old players good skaters there bodies are already filled out and they for what ever reason don’t fit with the team their on. Best example’s are Chandler Stephenson, Nick C, and Nick Roy. Ken in a way we agree the kids you named for one reason or another can’t stick with a team but somehow the Knights have a way of getting the best out of them. Hence our original team of misfits have all developed into a fine team so somehow we have the Midas touch.

  3. "DOC"

    Drafts are very uncertain things at best. A significant % of players (much like the NFL) never even make NHL rosters or at best become “depth” players or assets for trades. So, they hold these drafts and you do what is required, you draft! Hoping you hit that 1-2 “gems” every few years. On the comment about Glass. He is a slow developing player body wise. He must “beef-up” to stand up to NHL play. But, He certainly has some nice skills and playing him at wing certainly did NOT help his development this season. He’s a center and could be really good given time to actually PLAY at that position!!!!!!!!!

    • Tim

      Doc I agree Glass much better at center problem is he was hurt with the Winter Hawks, hurt with the Wolves and hurt with the Knights. He was there first pick ever sure there going to say great vision, great shot etc. but if your never on the ice whats the point. I think his last name says it all Glass much to fragile to play with the big boys. Nick Hague under Gallant played as soon as DeBoer came down he went and up came Whitecloud. that tells me he’s not in the picture.

      • "DOC"

        Yea Tim, That Hague move has confused me at times. I thought he was doing a pretty good job when up with Knights. But, I can see why Whitecloud was elevated. His calm demeaner and steady play have been impressive!

    • THE hockey GOD

      having met his family, there is little chance that he “will beef up ” based upon the DNA.

      • "DOC"

        He needs a good weight training coach. They are good putting some weight/muscle on most body types. He will still fill-out some as he matures.

  4. "DOC"

    Hey Ken ….. The latest news is NHL looking for a July start, in 3-4 “centralized” sites with few or no fans. Also, sounds like most favor best of FIVE series, with best of SEVEN for Cup final only. Thoughts on this? Or any further you can add … as our cherished expert!!! πŸ™‚ (Hey PS … Are you able to monitor how many times a person actually clicks on sinbin Dailey? I’m addicted to putting coins in your pocket! I must be one of the leaders) ha

    • I think they might do best of five in the first and second rounds but I can’t see them doing it beyond that.

      Yes, you’ve got to hold the record for most visits per day.

  5. THE hockey GOD

    this valley isn’t big enough to support two hockey teams, wait for it .

  6. THE hockey GOD

    you can put lipstick on a pig but it still oinks like a pig, smells like a pig and eats like a pig…..just sayin’. Good luck with that.

  7. Jonny Brodzinski is a stud and could help them in the NHL, Pure goal scorer that hasnt had a chance to play on a regular basic there, Could be the next Marchessault

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