(Last updated: February 23rd, 2022)

Criteria to qualify for rankings:

  • Must be younger than 23 years old for skaters, 25 years old for goalies
  • Cannot have played more than 10 NHL games
  • Must be either under contract or drafted by the Golden Knights

Players are ranked based on value to the organization. The most important factor is the player’s ceiling, or how good they can eventually become, but also taken into consideration is how close they are to playing in the NHL and how likely they are to play in the NHL. This is NOT a ranking of which players are the best if a game were to be held today.

Recently Removed: Peyton Krebs (Trade), Jake Leschyshyn (NHL experience), Jonas Rondbjerg (NHL experience), Lucas Elvenes (Waivers), Logan Thompson (Age)

SKATERS

1) Brendan Brisson (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #29 overall
Age: 20 (October 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: University of Michigan (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 4

Brisson has shot up this chart in large part due to his stellar sophomore season at Michigan but also his inclusion and impact on Team USA at the Olympics. Brisson continues to be dangerous on the power play, and his hockey sense has started to shine through. He’s not afraid to stick his nose into traffic to grab a loose puck and he has a good knack for where loose pucks are going to end up. When chaos happens, Brisson is usually there to clean it up. He continues to look like a bonafide NHL prospect with a ceiling in the top-six.

More on Brisson
8/7/21 – Ranking: 4 – Brisson had a solid freshman season at Michigan scoring 10 goals and adding 21 points in 24 games. He’s a power play weapon and will continue to be a point producer at the NCAA level this season. However, with Michigan’s stacked lineup, his playing time will be interesting to monitor. Michigan had four of the top five picks in the 2021 Draft and all are expected to be on the roster this year. As a late 1st round pick from the year prior, Brisson should be able to hold down a permanent spot, but we’re definitely going to learn a lot about him as to where coach Mel Pearson has him in that stacked lineup.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 3 – Brisson’s selection to the eventual gold medal-winning Team USA at the World Juniors was incredibly impressive considering how stacked that team was. He offers something unlike anything we’ve seen from a VGK prospect to this point and that’s an unbelievable shot. He loves to sit in the circle on the power play and rip shots past goalies who know it’s coming and still can’t stop it. He definitely has a ways to go in regards to strength and experience and the offensive play can improve in other areas aside from the shot, but there’s no doubt Brisson has an exciting future. 

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

2) Kaedan Korczak (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #41 overall
Age: 21 (January 29, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #2

Korczak made his NHL debut earlier this season and definitely didn’t look out of place in the big leagues. He’s continued to take strides both offensively and defensively in the AHL and the occasional nonchalant-ness that we had seen previously is dissipating. His biggest challenge with Vegas is going to be the logjam in front of him, not to mention the few challengers pushing behind him. He’s an NHL player without question though.

More on Korczak
8/7/21 – Ranking: 2 – Korczak worked his way up the depth chart for the Silver Knights as the year went on but could never find his place in the lineup permenantly. That should change this year as he’ll probably end up on the HSK top-pair fairly quickly. He’s close to being NHL ready, but the group of seven defensemen in front of him at the NHL level will likely keep him down. Wouldn’t be shocked to see his NHL debut in 2021-22 though.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 4 – The moment Vegas drafted Korczak we knew he was going to be a big guy, but he’s already a monster just one season removed from his draft year and he’s probably only going to get bigger. As he progresses through high levels like World Juniors and the AHL, it appears his calling card will be more as a defense-first penalty kill type player, but he’s certainly looking like he has an NHL future, and probably a long one.

4/16/20 – There’s nothing not to like about Korczak’s game. He’s got size, he’s a good skater, he’s physical, he’s calm on the puck, he can move the puck, and he’ll chip in offensively. His numbers will continue to look good in the WHL, but it’s all about how he looks against better competition going forward and unfortunately we aren’t going to get to see much of that any time soon.

11/16/19 – Korczak looked really good at camp and he has taken that game to the WHL racking up 14 points in 19 games for the Kelowna Rockets. Korczak is the type of defenseman that the Golden Knights are desperately looking for at the NHL level. Of course, he’s not ready at this point (nor would he be available to them anyway) but he’s a mobile, puck-moving d-man who will chip in offensively while taking care of his own end. The next time we really get to see what Korczak has to offer will likely be for Team Canada in December. If he can show something special in that tournament, the 2nd round pick is going to be in the top-five on this list next time for sure.

7/5/19 – The Golden Knights moved up in the draft to select Korczak and it didn’t take long to show why they valued him so much. In his own end, he’s a rock, defending both with his feet (mainly by keeping terrific gaps) and his stick. But what impressed me most with Korczak was his willingness to jump into the rush, or even start a rush. He reminded me a lot of Nate Schmidt, where the entire offense just looks more dangerous in transition when he’s out there.

 

3) Ivan Morozov (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #61 overall
Age: 21 (May 5, 2000)
Most Recent Team: HK Sochi (KHL)
Previous Ranking: #3

The time appears to be getting close for Morozov to try his hand with the Golden Knights. He was traded late in the KHL season to Sochi who did not qualify for the playoffs. Thus, his season is over but he likely must wait until the end of April to sign with the Golden Knights. He should be an instant starter in the Henderson lineup and time will tell if he’ll be able to have enough of an offensive touch to make a difference in the NHL.

More on Morozov
8/7/21 – Ranking: 3 – The biggest question mark right now on Morozov is when is he going to make the trip across the pond and come to North America. Once he does, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he jumps to #1 on this list instantly. He’s been dynamite in the KHL playing center for one of the league’s best teams. He even went to the World Championships where he added three points in eight games. This kid is the real deal, but he’s not worth thinking about until he leaves Russia.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 2 – If Morozov was doing in the AHL what he’s doing in the KHL the excitement level surrounding him as a prospect would be much higher. The KHL is notorious for making life very difficult on young players and at age 20 Morozov is playing at a high level for one of the league’s best team’s. He’s a 200-foot center that has the hands to score and create for others. 11 goals in 47 KHL games is nothing to scoff at and once he decides it’s time to give North America a shot, I think he’ll be a Golden Knight shortly thereafter.

4/16/20 – Morozov had a pretty wild year playing in three different Russian leagues and in the World Juniors. He impressed at the World Juniors and he was starting to really put it all together in the KHL playoffs. He’s the type of player that is going to get a majority of his goals through hard work and willingness. The problem in his game is that he shuts off from time to time. It ends up leading to breakdowns and penalties. Hopefully it’s something he grows out of because he has enough talent to be an NHLer.

11/16/19 – This is a deceptive one because Morozov actually moves up in the rankings, but he really shouldn’t have. He’s been unable to crack the KHL roster for SKA St. Petersburg and he hasn’t exactly ripped up the Russian minor league, the VHL. World Juniors will be important for Morozov as he may be a top-six center for Russia.

7/5/19 – Yet again, we didn’t actually get to see him play as he skipped Development Camp for the second year. Thus, he ends up soaring down the rankings even though he appears to be a player with a real future. He’s young enough to play for Russia in World Juniors this year, and he should have an expanded role. Hopefully the numbers start showing up in the KHL this year too.

1/8/19 – The first real chance we’ve gotten to see Morozov was a good one. He looked very good at times as the 4th line center for Team Russia. His selection to this team was impressive in the first place as Russia historically does not like to choose 18-year-olds for their U20 team. However, Morozov helped make an impact and looks like a terrific 200-foot player. His backchecking was probably the most exciting part of his game as he constantly would come back into his own zone, break up a play and then get the puck moving forward. Still want to see a lot more of him, but don’t be surprised if he’s in the top 3 or 4 the next time I update this list.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – Unable to attend Development Camp following the Draft, Morozov remains a bit of an unknown. However, he has recently signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg (yeah, the Shippy one) and was selected with Vegas’ only pick in the top 75 of the 2018 Draft which indicates he’s highly regarded. He has quick hands and should be a strong two-way center if/when he makes it to the NHL. A trip to World Juniors would do well for him to move up this list where he probably belongs.

 

4) Zach Dean
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 1sr Round, #30 overall
Age: 19 (January 4, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Previous Ranking: 6

Dean is doing exactly what you’d hope to see from a 1st round pick playing in the CHL, dominating. He’s a point per game player that is driving play using his hockey sense to help his team win games. It was a bit disappointing to see him left off the World Junior roster, but he could have another shot with the tournament expected to be replayed this Summer.

More on Dean
8/7/21 Ranking: 6 – VGK’s 1st round pick in 2021 is the prototypical selection from the Golden Knights. He’s a good skater that pays in all situations and has a high hockey IQ. The most exciting part of his game is his skating ability, which he told me he believes can get even better. He’ll probably need another two years of seasoning before he’s knocking on the NHL door, but there’s not a ton of negatives to go along with this 1st round pick.

 

5) Paul Cotter (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #115 overall
Age: 22 (November 16, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #9

Of the group of players to come up and get their first taste of the NHL, Cotter was certainly the most impactful. That doesn’t mean he was the best of the bunch as an all-around player, but he showed scoring touch and his style of play translated to the NHL level, even if just for a short time.  There’s always been some hope that Cotter could become an NHL player, that has only gotten stronger this season.

More on Cotter
8/7/21 – Ranking: 9 – It would have been great to have seen a bit more scoring from Cotter in the AHL, but overall it’s hard to be too disappointed with his second season as a pro. This is the year that he’ll have to really take a jump and prove he’s more deserving of an NHL shot than guys like Dugan, Elvenes, Rondbjerg, and others.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 11 – You aren’t going to find a much bigger fan of Paul Cotter than me. The way he plays the game has NHL written all over it, I just think it’s going to take some time for him to become truly trustworthy enough to play at that level. He’s a handful in the corners, he loves the dirty areas in front of the goal, and he has enough scoring touch to do some damage.

4/16/20 – Like Dorofeyev in the KHL, Cotter spent the whole year gaining the trust of the coaching staff in the AHL but never put the numbers up to go with it. Cotter is plays with a bulldog-like style which may or may not translate to the NHL (or even the AHL). But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of time since the Golden Knights selected Cotter, it’s never to give up on this guy.

11/16/19 – Cotter had a goal of earning his spot in the AHL out of Rookie Camp this September. He did just that playing very well both in the rookie games in Irvine, CA as well as in the preseason when he got a chance. Cotter is a bulldog on the ice and plays the style of game that Gerard Gallant will love. Thus far, his AHL numbers have not translated, but he’s been a constant in the lineup and should get the call for Team USA for World Juniors.

7/5/19 – Missing Development Camp really hurt Cotter in these rankings. It’s probably unfair because he’s almost certainly better now than he was a year ago, but not getting to see him with the likes of Dorofeyev, Elvenes, Rondbjerg, and Dugan made it tough to keep him above all of those guys. He was out with an injury and didn’t even attend camp to my knowledge. I still really like the skill level and scoring ability Cotter possesses. Hopefully, he has a monster year and rips up World Juniors and he can bully his way back into the top five.

1/8/19 – Cotter has had an interesting year after starting at Western Michigan. He was having limited success and even found himself scratched from a game at one point. He decided to leave school to go play with the London Knights of the OHL where he’s thrived. 12 points in 17 games has earned him a consistent role in the lineup of a good team. Also, Cotter signed a contract with the Golden Knights recently. This kid can score and he’s probably going to keep doing it at every level he plays at. I’d still guess he’s two or three years away from making his way to Vegas, but you can bet he’ll be a name to keep an eye on at next year’s World Juniors.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp.

7/28/18 – The clear standout from the draft class of 2018 at Development Camp. Cotter has since been invited to play for Team USA at the World Junior Showcase where he’ll be joined by fellow VGK prospect Brandon Kruse. There’s just a certain smoothness to Cotter’s game that is fun to watch. He barely looks like he’s moving when he has the puck and has shown an innate ability to make good passes in traffic. Plus, he has a lightning quick release on his shot which gives most goalies trouble. He’ll head to Western Michigan this year to play in the NCAA and hopefully, he’ll have a spot on the World Junior Championship team in early 2019.

 

6) Lukas Cormier (D)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #68 overall
Age: 19 (March 27, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Previous Ranking: 10

In maybe the least suprising prospect news, Lukas Cormier is filling it up in the QMJHL. He’s been doing it for three years and is likely to continue his upward trajectory in Juniors. He was also selected to Team Canada and played in two games in World Juniors before it was postponed. It wasn’t perfect for him in that tournament, but he was able to get on the board with a point and an assist. The question marks are still there, but he’s still looking like he could be a 3rd round diamond in the rough.

More on Cormier
8/7/21 – Ranking: 5 – Cormier took the most significant jump in this edition of the rankings and it’s well deserved. 54 points in 39 games in the regular season to go along with nine more in eight playoff games cannot go unrecognized. He’s still young and with his small frame he’s likely to take a little longer to even be ready for the AHL, let alone the NHL. He should get a chance to participate in training camp with VGK and maybe even get into a few preseason games. Both will be key in seeing where the ceiling could be on him. Basing it just on his junior stats though, the ceiling is very high.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 10 – This kid is a little firecracker and he’s going to be a fun one to keep an eye on as his career progresses. He’s an offensive wizard, especially on the power play and he’s feisty enough to give people problems in his own end. 21 points in his first 14 QMJHL games has people in Eastern Canada buzzing and his invitation to the ridiculously stacked Team Canada World Junior camp should turn heads. We’re a long way from seeing Lukas in a Golden or even Silver Knights jersey, but there’s absolutely some intriguing upside here.

 

7) Brayden Pachal (D)
Acquired: Signed as a Free Agent on September 20, 2019
Age: 21 (August 23, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 14

Being named captain of the Silver Knights cannot be taken lightly. There are a lot of potential NHL players on that roster and he was the one that rose to the top in terms of leadership and garnered that role. There’s still not a ton of offense in his game, but he’s a trusty guy that certainly could find his way into the NHL at some point.

More on Pachal
8/7/21 – Ranking: 14 – Pachal was a steady defenseman for the Silver Knights, but he rarely stood out. There’s reason to believe he could be the next Zach Whitecloud because of the consistency in his play, but there’s also a chance he’s simply just an AHL level guy. With the departures of Dahlstrom, Murphy, and Schuldt, Pachal is likely in for a larger role. Handle it well, and he’ll be back in the Top 10 in no time.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 9 – Keep an eye out for Pachal. He plays with an edge and always makes the right play in his own end. He skates well and has just enough offensive spark to make him an interesting prospect for the future. He’s going to grow and grow in his role in the AHL and I have a feeling he’s going to become one of the guys Manny Viveiros leans on when the Horsies need a big defensive shift. Fans of the Silver Knights are going to like him, and I think there’s a chance fans of the Golden Knights get a look before he moves on from this organization. 

 

8) Zach Hayes
Acquired: Signed as a Free Agent on March 30th, 2021
Age: 22 (April 24th, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 10

Zach Hayes continues to do Zach Hayes things. He’s not flashy in any way, he doesn’t add much offense, and you’d probably often forget he’s even playing if you were watching a Henderson game. That doesn’t mean he’s not a good hockey player, because he absolutely is. If VGK are ever in a pinch for a defense-first defenseman, it’s him or Pachal to get the call and it’s a close call.

More on Hayes
8/7/21 – Ranking: 10 – Hayes is your classic stay-at-home defenseman. He’s about as reliable as they come and is stellar in any defensive situation. His skating helps him maintain excellent gap control and he has a strong stick to poke pucks away and control sticks in front of the net. There’s not much offense to his game, but he’s certainly good enough in his own end to potentially make it to the NHL.

 

9) Pavel Dorofeyev (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #79 overall
Age: 21 (October 26, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #13

It’s hard to read much of anything from his appearance in the NHL on Opening Night because the coach didn’t even want to put him on the ice. His offensive game is still not developing the way we had hoped when we first saw him. There’s still a ceiling there that most players below him in these rankings do not have though which is why he’s back into the Top 10 after slipping out last time.

More on Dorofeyev
8/7/21 – Ranking: 13 – When I first saw Dorofeyev in a Henderson uni, I thought there was a real chance he was ready for the NHL right then and there. But as I got to watch him more and more, I started to pick up some of the inconsistencies in his game. To me, he’s just not quite strong enough at the moment to be able to handle himself and unleash his best skills at the NHL level. He must be able to possess the puck and create space, if he can’t, he becomes a very average player. There were moments in the AHL where he could, but also moments where he couldn’t. It’s going to take time with him, so there’s no reason to give up, but if he was going to be a superstar, he’d have lit up the AHL much more than he did.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 5 – Dorofeyev is nowhere near as close to the NHL as a few of the players behind him, but he still represents the player in the Vegas system not named Krebs with the most upside. The decision to come to North America and join the Silver Knights is going to be huge in his development and could put him on a path to challenge for a roster spot in a few years. He’s the type of player that Vegas hasn’t had since David Perron and will offer offense to any line they put him on at any level. He needs to get bigger, he’s going to have to prove he can do it in a bit of a grittier league, but this guy has a chance to be a top-six player in the NHL, not many others on this list can.

4/16/20 – There are two ways to look at Dorofeyev’s season. On one hand you can say, “he spent the entire year in the KHL” while on the other you can say “but he did nothing while he was there.” Clearly he earned the trust of the coaching staff of Metallurg Magnitogorsk which is a huge plus as a 19-year-old, but the results simply weren’t there. His performance in World Juniors was just so-so too. Dorofeyev remains a boom or bust prospect, but the boom would be much more significant than the bust.

11/16/19 – Playing in the KHL at the age of 19 is an impressive feat. Early in the season he hasn’t really put up much by way of numbers, but no matter what the stats say, there’s no denying the talent Dorofeyev possesses. The more professional experience he gets under his belt, the better he’s going to become. He’ll be at World Juniors for Team Russia, and he’ll likely put on a show.

7/5/19 – This guy has skill for days and he’s only 18-years-old. Dorofeyev slipped in the draft, but he impressed mightily at Development Camp in his first appearance. The KHL prospect is incredible controlling the puck and advancing it to dangerous areas. His vision is stupendous which matches his passing. After a full season on the international-sized ice it was to be expected that Dorofeyev would not look as comfortable on the puck on the smaller rink, but that couldn’t have been further from reality. He’s got a long way to go physically, but the upside on Dorofeyev is incredibly exciting.

 

(Photo Credit: Rob Schneidmiller, Ice Time Southwest)

10) Jakub Brabenec (F)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #102 overall
Age: 18 (September 11, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Previous Ranking: 25

In his first season in North America, Brabenec is lighting it up with one of the league’s best teams. He’s tallied 28 assists in 34 games and added 12 goals too. Plus, he was named to the Czechia team at World Juniors where he looked decent in his appearance. He still has a long way to go as he’s still very young, but the ceiling on Brabenec now is much higher than it was a year ago.

More on Brabenec
8/7/21 – Ranking: 25 – One of the youngest players in the entire Draft, Brabenec has plenty of time to develop and move up this list. He’s done well internationally but has been underwhelming in the Czech league. He’s expected to be much more of a defensive center than anything else though.

 

11) Peter Diliberatore (D)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #180 overall
Age: 21 (March 31, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #20

A year ago when it looked like the AHL was a bit too much for Diliberatore, now he seems to belong. He’s playing regular minutes and has been a special teams option for much of the season as well. He has the offensive instincts of a forward yet still defends well enough. His skating looks better and better and there now should certainly be some hope that he can continue to develop and potentially push for a spot in the NHL.

More on Diliberatore
8/7/21 – Ranking: 20 – The hope was an AHL stint would push Dilberatore up this list, unfortunately, it did the opposite. The few times I was able to watch him he just didn’t quite look like he belonged. Obviously, last year was a rough year on a lot of people, so it’s not time to give up here, but while there was some hope a while back, it’s certainly fading.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 14 – Rather than signing a pro contract, which I believe the Golden Knights would have offered him, Diliberatore headed back to Quinnipiac where he’s been excellent as an alternate captain on a good team.

4/16/20 – Diliberatore had his name announced to the world when he was invited to the Team Canada World Junior camp ahead of the tournament. He was one of the final players cut from the team that went on to win the tournament. Numbers-wise there’s nothing to get too excited about, but a 6th round pick almost making that team is nothing to scoff at. Look for Diliberatore to make an impression the next time he wears a sweater with a Golden Knight on it.

11/16/19 – It would have been nice to have seen more of Diliberatore in Rookie Camp, but as an NCAA player he was not eligible to participate. He was one of the players that showed the most amount of development from 2018 to 2019 and he’s continuing to show that at Quinnipiac. Six points in nine games and 21 PIM shows he’s got a little grit to his game.

7/5/19 – Diliberatore was the last prospect in the rankings both times he’s been eligible. Not anymore. He now looks like a confident, steady defenseman with smooth, strong skating which allows him to generate offense in transition. He was one of, if not the most, impressive defensemen in camp and he’s starting to look like a player who has a real shot at becoming an NHLer. His size didn’t seem to impede anything he was trying to do on the ice and his decision making was nearly flawless the entire week. He’s a good example of why you don’t write off draft picks after one Development Camp a few days after they are drafted.

1/8/19 – A rare smaller defensive-minded defenseman (or at least that’s what he’s been scouted as), Diliberatore has nine points in 20 games as a freshman at Quinnipiac.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – As a high schooler playing with many high-end prospects and even a few professionals, Diliberatore kind of looked like a high schooler. It’s really not too fair to judge him on the performance at Development Camp though because as a shorter defenseman he was kind of thrown to the wolves.

 

12) Ben Jones (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #189 overall
Age: 22 (February 26, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #19

Jones’ game at the NHL level was better than I would have expected, but he still doesn’t quite appear to be on track to be a majorly impactful guy. Maybe there is a ceiling as a bottom-six guy there that I hadn’t really seen much of before, but I’d still say he’s an AHL quality talent.

More on Jones
8/7/21 – Ranking: 19 – You always have to be wary of putting a prospect into a box and then not allowing themselves to play their way out of it. With Jones, the box I put him in the very first time I saw him is still the box he remains in now.  He’s a good player, but he’s just not likely to be an NHLer.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 19 – I’ll never say never on anybody, but if you had to pin me to it, I’d say Jones is slated for a long, solid career in the AHL. He’s exactly the type of player you want on your team. Hard worker, plays in all situations, smart, and a leader. I’m just not quite convinced the talent is there for him to make an impact in the NHL.

4/16/20 – Jones, like Leschyshyn, has established himself at the AHL level, but needs to add more offense to his game to ever become a full-time guy at the NHL level. He’s got the ability right now to come in and contribute defensively in the NHL, but I wouldn’t be counting on him to break through the crowded Golden Knights forward group any time soon.

11/16/19 – Jones has pretty much always looked the same player, a defensive center who scored in Canadian juniors but no where else. He’s certainly good enough to have a professional career, but it’s hard to project him as anything but a long-shot to make the NHL at this point.

7/5/19 – Jones continued to look like the player we’ve seen in the past. He’s a defensive forward who puts up points because of his forechecking and the way he takes care of the puck. This year will be a big step for him playing in Chicago with the Wolves. If the offensive numbers translate, he’ll shoot up these rankings, but I’m not so sure they will. I still expect him to eventually become a bottom-six penalty kill type guy.

1/8/19 – Now the captain of the IceDogs, Jones has continued to dominate the OHL. He’s a +26 38 games into the season which is likely more due to his defensive prowess than offensive. I’m ready to see what he can do in a league with better competition.

9/12/18 – Here’s a guy who took a nice step in the right direction at Rookie Camp. Jones is probably not ever going to be a top-six type player, but he has workhorse bottom-six guy written all over him. He has a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare style to his game. He’s an excellent penalty killer, always seems to be in the right place defensively as a center, and just outworks guys all over the ice. The 7th Round pick definitely didn’t look like it among a group of players drafted above him.

7/28/18 – The last skater selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 Entry Draft was one of the eight players from that draft who signed a contract. He was a bit more noteworthy in 2017 than 2018, but there was nothing glaring to the negative either year. Jones had a huge year in Niagara scoring 79 points in 68 games and added 12 more in 10 playoff games. Late round picks have an incredibly low success rate, which is why he is so low on this list, but he’ll be a guy to keep an eye on in Training Camp this year. Wouldn’t be a major surprise if he’s top 15 or even top 10 by the time he heads back to Niagara.

 

13) Jackson Hallum (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #91 overall
Age: 19 (September 8, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Previous Ranking: 12

Moving up a level hasn’t seem to slow down Hallum, either physically in his skating or in his scoring. There’s always going to be a concern as he continues to progress to tougher levels, but 49 points in 41 games is nothing to scoff at in the USHL. The penalty numbers are a bit odd though as he’s taken 70 PIM this season. Will be interesting to see if he remains this type of pest.

More on Hallum
8/7/21 – Ranking: 12 – Yet again, Hallum torched the high school circuit, putting up 41 points in 21 games. Now it’s time for a massive step up in competition, not only in who he’ll play against, but who he’s playing with. We mentioned the stacked University of Michigan team when talking about Brisson, it’s even more interesting for Hallum, who may not even find his way onto the ice at all. If he can make an impact on that team, we’re really onto something, if he doesn’t, we might learn that the high school numbers were a mirage.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 17 – The speedy high schooler is once again shredding kids he’s much better than in Minnesota preps. Seven goals in six games and another 10 assists is certainly going to excite anyone, but the competition is about as weak as it gets for an NHL Draft pick that it’s not time to get overly excited. Missed seeing him in a Development Camp, hopefully we do in 2021.

 

(Photo Credit: Rob Schneidmiller, Ice Time Southwest)

14) Daniil Chayka (D)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #38 overall
Age: 19 (October 22, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Guelph Storm (OHL)
Previous Ranking: #8

Chayka is doing what he should be for the Storm of the OHL. However, the World Junior run that he had is a bit concerning in regards to his offensive upside. It’s just six games, but he was unable to register a point playing against the better players in the world at his age group. After the so-so KHL run last year, he’s going to have to show a lot more before we can truly expect anything out of him for Vegas.

More on Chayka
8/7/21 – Ranking: 8 – The pandemic excuse is a popular one for prospects who had down years last season, but for Chayka it actually seems to be fair. After an excellent season with Guelph, he was forced back to Russia with the OHL taking the season off. He did not fare well at all spitting time between their three leagues. The scouting report is exciting on this kid, so the hope is the return to North America will bring back out the best in him.

 

15) Jack Dugan (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #142 overall
Age: 23 (March 24, 1998)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #7

Being passed up by Leschyshyn, Rondbjerg, Jones, Cotter, and Dorofeyev has to tell us at least something about where the organization sees Dugan. He seems to be slipping down the list even at the AHL level and doesn’t appear like he’s anywhere near the player he was projected to be during his final year in college.

More on Dugan
8/7/21 – Ranking: 7 Dugan put together a very nice season in his first year in the AHL. One has to wonder when his chance will come to make the leap to the NHL, but as long as he’s a member of the Golden Knights, that’s going to be tough. Being passed up for Dylan Sikura and Tomas Jurco last year proved VGK doesn’t quite believe Dugan is ready. Maybe they will this year, assuming there’s ever a need.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 8 – This is a big step for Dugan. After leaving college and quickly signing a contract with the Golden Knights, he’s set to play a big role for the Silver Knights. He needs to be an offense-driving player both at even-strength and on the power play. So far, through camp and a few preseason games, it hasn’t happened, but that definitely doesn’t mean it can’t as time goes on. He’s scored at every level he’s played at, but this is going to be easily his stiffest test. Don’t expect an NHL call this year, but a big AHL year could put him in the mix for a bottom-six role in the near future.

4/16/20 – It’s still a mystery how Dugan was not among the three finalists to win the Hobey Baker Award after leading college hockey in points the entire season. Even without the honor though he clearly defined himself as one of the best players in college hockey. Now the question is what’s next? He could stick around for one more year after missing out on the playoffs this year, or he could sign a contract and play with the AHL team in Vegas. Either way, he’s going to be pushing for an NHL spot by the back end of the 2020-21 season.

11/16/19 – Since his terrific 2019 Development Camp, Dugan has taken his game to the next level absolutely dominating the NCAA. His 24 points in 10 games leads college hockey. Dugan recently mentioned on a podcast that he wants to “dominate” at the level he’s at before moves on. He’s doing that, and then some.

7/5/19 – Maybe the most impressive player at 2019 Development Camp, Dugan appears on the path to being one of the best picks in the Golden Knights 2017 draft class. He’s absolutely everywhere in the offensive zone whether his team has the puck or not. His skating looks excellent for as large as he’s become and his ability and willingness to carry the puck seems to have come a long way. The one thing missing with Dugan is his finishing ability. It just didn’t show up much at all despite having multiple chances in Dev Camp. He’s going back to Providence this year, and it wouldn’t shock me if he’s there for a few more, but when he’s done, he’s going to be in the picture for the Golden Knights, which is awesome for a 5th round pick.

1/8/19 – The fact that Dugan dropped three spots has much more to do with what I think of the system as a whole as to what I think of Dugan. In short, I really like this kid and think he’s going to be a good player someday. The problem is that NCAA kids take forever to get to the NHL and I don’t see any difference with him. As a freshman he’s put up 22 points in 20 games at Providence so he’s continuing to produce despite the rise in competition.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – The leap Dugan made from the 2017 Development Camp to 2018 was tremendous. He was a scoring machine in the scrimmages both putting the puck in himself and setting up teammates. Last year he scored 66 points in 54 games with the Chicago Steel. This year he’ll be making the leap to Providence College to play in the strong Hockey East conference. Don’t expect to see Dugan in a Golden Knights uniform anytime soon, it literally might be four years away, but this is a player with a lot of upside and will likely go from relative unknown in the Golden Knights prospect system to an impactful player on NHL ice in a hurry.

 

16) Layton Ahac (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #86 overall
Age: 21 (February 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #15

Ahac has been battling through an injury that kept him out for the majority of the first half of the season. He’s finally gotten himself into the lineup but hasn’t made a huge impact at the AHL level. His skating looks good, especially in going back to get pucks, but there will likely need to be a little more willingness to jump into the play if he’s going to become an NHL player.

More on Ahac
8/7/21 – Ranking: 15 – Scouting stay-at-home defensemen is always going to be tough, and that’s the case with Ahac. He actually flashed a lot more of an offensive game on different viewings I had, but he’s certainly not going to be labled as an offensive-minded defenseman any time soon. Like Pachal, there’s probably a bit more of a role of him this season. Can he climb the depth chart?

2/3/21 – Ranking: 15 – Unlike the player ahead of him at this point (Diliberatore), he needed to go back to college to continue developing on both ends of the ice. Scoring as a defenseman at the NCAA level is tricky, and Ahac still likely projects as more of a defense-first option. He has one goal and six assists in 17 games, numbers that would need to improve if he’s going to stake his claim as a high-end prospect he was hoped to be as a 3rd round selection.

4/16/20 – Ahac disappointed a bit at the Fortress Invitational in Vegas and didn’t make much noise as a freshman at Ohio St. However, there’s no way that should mean it’s time to write him off. His skating ability alone is worth keeping him on the radar and he should get better and better as he progresses through his college career. It might be a while until we see him in Vegas, even in the AHL, but if he can develop the way the Golden Knights envisioned, he has the tools to be a solid player.

11/16/19 – Ahac has cemented himself as a staple in the Ohio State defense, which is impressive as a freshman. Statistically, he’s not going to blow you out of the water, but Ahac is a very good defense-first defenseman. He and the Buckeyes will be at T-Mobile Arena for the Fortress Invitational in early January.

7/5/19 – The tall, skinny, defenseman is headed to Ohio State to play college hockey this year, but he sure impressed in camp before leaving. His skating was impressive, his poise was excellent, and his passing from the defensive zone was suburb. I would have liked to see a little more jump to his offensive game, but in a first camp, as a 3rd round pick defenseman, he looked pretty darn good.

 

17) Maxim Marushev (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #215 overall
Age: 23 (January 1, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights
Previous Ranking: 16

Marushev has turned into the type of player that you tend to forget is on the ice. He rarely makes mistakes with the puck in any of the three zones, but he just doesn’t seem to have that scoring touch that excites us about prospects.

More on Marushev
8/7/21 – Ranking: 16 – After surprisingly coming over to play in the AHL, Marushev grew into the league and started to really make an impact in the playoffs. The style of game he plays still has me a bit concerned that he’s only an AHL producer and not an NHL producer, but as a 7th round pick, it’s awesome to see him here and with a shot to be something in this system.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 21 – The dream is for Marushev to be the next Nikita Gusev. A late pick that really never was expected to come to North America, but plays so well in Russia that he kind of has to. Marushev’s spot on this list is solely because of the fact that Vegas decided to take him, not due to anything he’s done on the ice that I’ve seen or read about. They’re willing to throw a 7th round pick his way knowing he may never come to America, there’s got to be something there. Hopefully we learn about it over the next five years.

 

18) Mason Primeau (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #141 overall
Age: 20 (July 28, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #24

Primeau was a standout in the rookie tournament before the season, finally starting to flash an ability to control a game with his size. He showed much better hands that we’ve seen before from him and appeared to be headed for a nice first full season in the AHL. The offense hasn’t translated yet to the AHL game though. At times, the skill does flash through, but it’s been too few and far between to get too excited about.

More on Primeau
8/7/21 – Ranking: 24 – Earning a contract is certainly a nice step for Primeau and a sign the Golden Knights really believe in him. However, the on-ice performance really hasn’t matched it as he was a non-factor at the AHL level. A few ECHL games saw him produce a bit more but nothing spectacular. He’s young, he’s big, there’s still plenty of time, but so far, he looks like a 5th round pick.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 22 – Primeau is currently skating with the Silver Knights as the OHL awaits a start date. In practice, he certainly doesn’t stand out, which can be interpreted one of two ways. Eiter he’s good enough to play at that level or he’s not doing anything good enough to get noticed. He’s still super young, so the 6’5″ forward still has a chance to turn himself into something.

4/16/20 – When in doubt, the story about Mason is going to head towards his bloodlines, ones that run deep with NHL experience. To this point though, he hasn’t shown much aside from the last name as to indicate he’s got NHL caliber skill. He’s a gigantic kid and he skates well for his size, but 19 points and a -36 rating in 45 games in the OHL isn’t going to cut it.

11/16/19 – Named an assistant for North Bay, Primeau has decreased his penalty minutes while increasing his scoring through 20 games.

7/5/19 – I’m not normally a fan of bigger guys, he wasn’t able to use his physicality in camp, and he was one of the youngest guys on the ice. It was all cut out for Primeau to be the last ranked player on a list made by me. Truthfully, it’s unfair, because his hands were better than expected and he didn’t stand out as slow, but someone has to be on the bottom, so here we are.

 

19) Jakub Demek
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #128 overall
Age: 18 (June 6, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Previous Ranking: 26

From basically unscouted to posting 44 points in 38 games in the WHL, Demek is already a bit of a success story. He was selected to play for Team Slovakia at World Juniors as well but only got to play in two games with them before the tournament was shut down. He remains the biggest darkhorse in the VGK prospect pool.

More on Demek
8/7/21 – Ranking: 26 – We’re still trying to figure out how the Golden Knights found this kid as he was unlisted on most draft guides and was ranked very poorly by NHL Central Scouting. VGK have reached for players like this before and they’ve succeeded at the lower levels. Let’s see if Demek can do it as well.

 

20) Marcus Kallionkieli (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #139 overall
Age: 20 (March 20, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Previous Ranking: #21

Yet again, we were supposed to see Kallionkieli in a Golden Knights sweater at the Rookie Faceoff in Arizona. And yet again, it didn’t happen. He’s not producing as well as he should at the WHL level as an overaged player too. It’s trending in the wrong direction, unfortunately.

More on Kallionkieli
8/7/21 – Ranking: 21 – Kallionkieli has been in the Golden Knights’ system for a while now, but he just hasn’t been on the ice enough to make a true impact in that time. He scored twice in six games in Henderson, but even while doing so he wasn’t really popping on the AHL ice. A solid full pro season could really shoot him up this list.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 18 – It was certainly a disappointment to not see Kallionkieli’s name listed on the Finnish World Junior roster. He’s currently playing on a U20 team in Finland where he’s done fine to start the year. There’s still quite a bit of upside to his game, so at this point he’s not plummeting down the rankings.

4/16/20 – After the injury that took him out of both Development and Training camps, Kallionkieli headed up to McCrimmon’s Brandon Wheat Kings where he took some time to get his feet underneath him. Just as he started to get it going and show his ability to drive offense, he got hurt again. Injuries obviously now become a concern, but this kid can flat out play when he’s healthy.

11/16/19 – Kallionkieli has been injured since Development Camp and has been rehabbing with the NHL team at City National Arena. Without the ability to see him play, it’s hard to really judge much on him since the draft. Scouts like him a lot, and the Golden Knights are investing in him by keeping him around. Plus, he signed a contract, which many above him on this list have not. That’s a good sign in what the team thinks of him.

7/5/19 – Kallionkieli was fairly unnoticeable in the short time he was able to spend on the ice during the scrimmage at Development Camp. He did not play in the final two games due to injury which could certainly have been a reason his skill level didn’t shine through when he was out there. His skating looked good though, which is why he’s not at the very bottom of this list. Just need to see a lot more from him.

 

21) Artur Cholach (D)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #190 overall
Age: 18 (June 6, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Barrier Colts (OHL)
Previous Ranking: 27

Cholach did not impress during the Rookie Faceoff in Arizona. He constantly looked a step behind and because of it he was out of position defensively far too often. He’s a defense-first guy, but he’ll have learn how to be able to offset his footspeed as he gets older and more experienced.

More on Cholach
8/7/21 – Ranking: 27 – It’s all going to come down to how well Choclach can skate for his size. A gigantic kid at 6’4″, 200 pounds, he may even get bigger by the time he makes his way onto VGK or HSK ice. The numbers have been pedestrian, but he’ll likely fare much better playing against kids instead of men.

 

22) Connor Corcoran (D)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #154 overall
Age: 20 (August 7th, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL)
Previous Ranking: #18

Corcoran is continuing to head in the wrong direction, mainly due to the fact that he’s been stuck in the ECHL. It’s not impossible, but usually when guys spend multiple seasons in “The Coast” you don’t see them pushing for NHL jobs at any point.

More on Corcoran
8/7/21 – Ranking: 18 – Corcoran only saw two games with the Silver Knights and was unspectacular in both. He eventually made his way to the ECHL where he was able to put up three assists in four games. Expect to see him in the AHL much of this season competing for time amongst the group of young D.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 12 – Unfortunately, Corcoran has not been available for the start of camp, the AHL preseason, and likely the start of the regular season. It’s a crowded blue line in Henderson that he’s going to have to compete with and missing time never helps anyone. Will the offensive game translate from Juniors to the AHL? If the answer is yes, he’ll be on track for an NHL job in a year or two. If it doesn’t, the development as a newer defenseman will have to continue.

4/16/20 – Corcoran took a huge step in the right direction in his second season as a full-time defenseman. His defensive game has always been there but this season in the OHL the offensive game came with. Corcoran was a risky pick as a defenseman who had barely even played the position when he was selected, and he looked that way when we first saw him in Vegas, but he’s come a long way and he’s turned himself into a player with massive upside.

11/16/19 – Corcoran is expected to be a defense-first player, but he’s lighting it up offensively in his fourth season in the OHL. Four goals and nine assists in 16 games has him in the top 15 for defenseman in points per game and he’s taking care of his own end as well posting a +3 thus far. Considering he ended last year with a -45 rating, that’s quite a step in the right direction.

7/5/19 – He continued to look like the player we’ve expected him to be. He’s a defense-first guy who relies on fundamentals over flash. These types of guys are so hard to keep tabs on, even when you get to watch them live, because the best thing they can do is be unnoticeable. He was that in Development Camp, which I think is a good thing, right?

1/8/19 – He’s going to be a tough one to keep track of because he’s a typical defensive-minded defenseman. The stats won’t look good and he’s not going to find his way into many glowing postgame stories. He’s kind of in a class of his own among VGK prospects as there aren’t many giant defensemen list.

9/12/18 – In the rookie games, Corcoran looked like the youngest player on the ice. As the weekend went on he certainly grew and started to seem a bit more comfortable, but like Bouchard, it’s not really fair to judge him against the other four defensemen. We’ll learn a lot more about him when he returns next year for camp.

7/28/18 – The youngest Golden Knight prospect is likely going to be a more defensive minded player as he matures. He’s physically very strong and looked excellent along the boards at Development Camp, but his skating and puck-moving skills never quite displayed themselves at City National Arena.

 

23) Brandon Kruse (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #135 overall
Age: 22 (March 26, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Boston College (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #17

The move to Boston College has not risen Kruse’s stock. As a super-senior, you’d hope to see him dominating at that level as he gets ready to move up to the professional ranks. It’s simply not happening, which means his time in the VGK system is probably about to come to an end.

More on Kruse
8/7/21 – Ranking: 17 – After yet another successful offensive season, Kruse is now on his way to Boston College to finish up his final college season. We can definitely expect him to dominate offensively again but what comes next is the real question.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 16 – Once again, Kruse is dominating at the NCAA level, so far putting up 25 points in 20 games. He also carries an impressive +24 rating through 20 games which is strong, but his team has a +42 goal differential so it would be concerning if Kruse’s rating was anything but soaring. He’s still a smaller player that is going to have a lot to prove at the AHL level when he finally gets there.

4/16/20 – Kruse has quietly had a terrific NCAA career consistently putting up points in bunches. He’s basically become a point per game player at Bowling Green and his speed and creativity have allowed him as a small winger to succeed in the heavier college game. We’ve seen some of the playmaking in Vegas and as he gets older it will be interesting to see if he can push for a roster spot in the AHL. That is, if he doesn’t go backt to school for his senior year.

11/16/19 – The little speedy forward has continued to do nothing but produce at George McPhee’s alma mater. He’s essentially a point-per-game player and is keeping that up in his junior year in college. That being said, his so-so performance at Development Camp is keeping him from flying up the rankings. A selection to the Team USA World Junior roster would go a long way in helping him up into the top ten.

7/5/19 – Kruse was a standout in 2018 Development Camp, he was not in 2019 Camp. That’s not to say he was bad, but the passing skills that made him jump off the ice a year ago didn’t really shine through this time around. All he does is put up numbers in college, so hopefully, that translates a little better the next time we see him.

1/8/19 – Kruse continues to put up solid numbers at Bowling Green as a sophomore. Seven goals and 26 points in 21 games is exactly what he needs to be doing. Look forward to seeing how much bigger he’s gotten when he gets to come back to Vegas in July for Development Camp.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – The other Golden Knight prospect to be invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase is 19-year-old Kruse. He’s an excellent passer that is a good skater and has the ability to score. As a freshman at Bowling Green, he scored 33 points in 41 games. At Development Camp, Kruse was impressive despite looking tiny. Just 5’9″ and weighing less than 160 pounds Kruse is a long way from being NHL-ready, however, the tools are there and he looks to be a promising prospect.

 

24) Noah Ellis (D)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #184 overall
Age: 20 (February 1, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Previous Ranking: 28

Ellis is headed to UMass next season to play college hockey, but the numbers as a 20-year-old in the USHL leave a lot of room for concern about his future as an NHLer before he gets there.

More on Ellis
8/7/21 – Ranking: 28 – Ellis had a nice season in the USHL last year as he plans on heading to college this year. Coming off a -20 rating in 2019-20, he turned it into a 0 in 2020-21. This year will represent a step up in competition, ice time will be telling for Ellis.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 24 – As a product of not being on the ice this season at all, Ellis has never had a chance to show much of anything since being drafted. He’s a big kid that’s likely to get bigger, but until we see him, he has to be near the bottom of these rankings.

 

25) Ryder Donovan (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #110 overall
Age: 21 (October 4, 2000)
Most Recent Team: University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #29

Two goals in 20 games for a strong team just isn’t going to cut it. He’s basically become a 4th line option in college, which doesn’t bode too well for him finding his way onto even the AHL squad when his time is up at school.

More on Donovan
8/7/21 – Ranking: 29 – After a pair of underwhelming seasons for Wisconsin, it’s going to be crucial that Donovan starts to prove himself in his Junior season. He has just eight points in 54 collegiate games. That number needs to be upwards of 20 if he wants a legitimate shot of earning a VGK contract.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 20 – Man, I was really hoping this would be the year he’d take a huge step forward with a very good Wisconsin team. It just hasn’t happened and it’s concerning for his future as a prospect. He’s playing on the 4th line and has scored just twice in 16 games adding one assist. He’s spent a ton of time in the penalty box too, 38 minutes.

4/16/20 – Donovan had an unspectacular freshman year, but the jump in competition is a big one for a high school senior to a freshman in college. His size and speed along with playmaking ability continue to be exciting, but he’s going to have to start producing over the next few years if he’s ever going to prove he can make an impact professionally.

11/16/19 – Donovan hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard, but he’s been a constant in a very talented Wisconsin lineup. A big, speedy player, he needs experience for his hands to catch up to his mind and feet. The more he plays in college, the better he’ll get.

7/5/19 – The name of the game for Donovan is speed. He just needs the rest of his game to catch up to his feet. Playing with much better players than he’s used to, he didn’t look out of place at all because his skating kept him around the action. His hands need to get much better but I definitely think they can as he heads to the University of Wisconsin. I expect when we see him again that he’ll be a standout in the “look how far this guy progressed” category.

 

26) Nick Campoli (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #158 overall
Age: 23 (February 16, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Clarkson University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #30

Campoli is likely to finish out his senior season and then see his Golden Knights rights expire. There just hasn’t been enough production in four seasons in college.

More on Campoli
8/7/21 – Ranking: 30 – The only reason Campoli is still on this list is because the Golden Knights still hold his rights. That likely won’t be the case in the coming months.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 25 – The numbers just haven’t been there for Campoli. As a junior in college he’s 18 games into the season he has just four points and a -4 rating. Vegas holds his rights until August of 2022, but at that point, I think his time in the Golden Knights system will come to a close.

4/16/20 – 17 points in almost 70 games in college doesn’t stir up much excitement for Campoli. Plus, he’s consistently been “just a guy” when we’ve seen him in Vegas. Luckily for him, being an NCAA player, there’s still plenty of time before the Golden Knights have to move on, but he has to show a major improvement in his junior and senior years if he’s going to end up going pro.

11/16/19 – Before you go crazy saying “woah, up eight spots!” understand that this has a lot more to do with players coming down and him staying steady than anything else. As a 2017 Draft pick, he’s starting to run low on time to prove himself worthy of a contract. Vegas has until August of 2022, so we aren’t that close, but his four points in 10 games (including zero goals) is a bit concerning for a 20-year-old forward in college.

7/5/19 – Multiple times I found myself looking down the roster sheet thinking, which players have I not focused some attention on. Multiple times the name Nick Campoli came to mind. So, in the final game, I made a point to watch him specifically in as many shifts as I could. He didn’t make a mistake that I could pick out, but he also didn’t do much to help his team drive offense. As an older player in the camp, I expected him to pop a few times, I didn’t see it, which means he has to stay near the bottom of this list.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – Campoli is already a Golden Knight, heading to Clarkson University to play in the NCAA. He scored and in bunches in the OJHL but it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up at the collegiate level. He’s short, but has a stout frame and a strong accurate shot.

 

GOALIES 

1) Dylan Ferguson
Acquired: via Trade from Dallas Stars with 2020 2nd Round Pick for Marc Methot (selected in 2017 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #194 overall)
Age: 23 (September 20, 1998)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #3

He’s clearly a spot behind Logan Thompson, but he’s become the clear backup in the AHL, which means we have to place him above Patera. The numbers have been pretty good in the AHL and the few times I’ve gotten to see him play he still looks like the type of guy who has enough skill to go with his elite compete level.

More on Ferguson
8/7/21 – Ranking: 3 – Ferguson took his ECHL “demotion” in stride and absolutely dominated in his time with the Fort Wayne Komets. He allowed less than two goals per game and posted a 7-3-1 record before leading his team to the Kelly Cup winning eight of 12 playoff games.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 4 – I wouldn’t say there’s been much wrong with Ferguson’s game to this point in Henderson, but it’s clear he’s behind Thompson and it’s arguable that he’s well behind. He’s going to get plenty of chances to play with the abridged AHL season, he has to make the most of it.

4/16/20 – Ferguson’s season in the ECHL was less than stellar but most of the time that has little to do with the goalie as it does the porous defense in front of him. Ferguson’s competitive drive still makes me believe he’s got a shot to make it in the NHL. Where he lands to start next season will be a telling sign of what lies ahead in his future.

11/16/19 – Ferguson has officially cemented his spot as a professional goalie starting the season in the ECHL and making two AHL appearances in Chicago. He’s clearly on the right path and will likely start to push Dansk and/or Sparks next season. As for this season, he needs to keep showing consistency, something he’s done over his first two months as a professional.

7/5/19 – The one aspect of Ferguson’s game that shows up the most when watching him is his compete level. He looks like he wants to save every single shot, no matter the situation or likelihood he should actually save it. In the scrimmage that he was able to play in Development Camp it appeared like he was planning on winning the game singlehandedly for his team. The intensity is there, his style is good, and he’s getting more and more consistent. For a smaller guy, his ability to look big inside of the goal is impressive and his athleticism is exciting. It appears like the Golden Knights’ plan for Ferguson is to hand him the reigns as the backup in Chicago, which says a lot about what the organization thinks of him as well.

1/8/19 – Ferguson has put up similar numbers to his other seasons in the WHL saving a little over 90% of shots. Due to his age he seems to be a bit further along than Kooy but the physical tools aren’t as promising. Don’t forget that he was the first to sign a contract, he was specifically targeted by VGK in a trade and he was seemingly the highest rated goalie in rookie camp. It’s neck and neck with Kooy but ties are no fun so Dylan drops down a spot.

9/12/18 – Ferguson didn’t play in any of the rookie games, which in theory should be a bad thing. Instead though, it indicates the Golden Knights rank him the highest, by giving him the first preseason game rather than a rookie game. We’ll heed VGK’s rankings and leave him atop the list.

7/28/18 – You might remember young Dylan from his short stint with the Golden Knights, but you should remember him from his solid showing at Development Camp. He looked confident in the goal, something he didn’t look while in the net in Edmonton or even at Development Camp in 2017. Ferguson has a little bit of an edge to him, and it seems to translate to confidence and swagger on the ice. Plus, he’s awesome interacting with kid fans when he comes off the ice.

 

2) Jiri Patera
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #161 overall
Age: 22 (February 24, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL)
Previous Ranking: #2

When given the chance, Patera has looked every bit an AHL caliber goalie, and I mean that in a good way. Despite bouncing between the AHL and ECHL this season, he’s been strong when he’s been in the net in either Henderson or Fort Wayne. It’s incredibly close between he and Ferguson, but they are both miles behind Thompson.

More on Patera
8/7/21 – Ranking: 2 – It was definitely good to see Patera getting plenty of time with the NHLers at the end of the season on the taxi squad. His AHL numbers were a bit of a mess however as he went 2-4-0 on a team that won the division. It’ll be interesting to see if he wins the job as the backup in Henderson this season. There will be a battle to back up Thompson, and Ferguson absolutely might win it.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 3 I probably dock players for injuries more than I should, but it’s just tough to keep guys up in the rankings when they aren’t healthy. Value certainly has dropped on Patera as he was likely to compete for the backup AHL job and now he’s on the sideline watching Ferguson and Thompson compete for it. His injury isn’t expected to be too long-term, but every day missed hurts.

4/16/20 – Patera had a masterful year in the WHL playing for his NHL GM’s team. He was easily the best goalie in the league and showed the promise that had him as the second goalie ever selected by the Golden Knights. Now it’s time for Patera to really face some challenges. He’ll likely sign a contract and end up in the ECHL where he’ll have to compete for a starting role. He went from #4 to #1 in these rankings in a short time, which proves just how close this group of goalies still is.

11/16/19 – Patera has found himself in a bit of a battle just for playing time in Brandon. He has started just eight games, while draft eligible Ethan Kruger has seen the nets 14 times. Patera’s stats are better, but playing time is a good indicator of form in Canadian juniors.

7/5/19 -He dropped down to 4th on the list last time due to a shoddy performance at World Juniors. He stays at #4 now because the guys in front of him all look very good. As a whole the goaltenders had their best camp yet, with all four of them looking good for the most part. Patera definitely seems to be progressing and is starting to track the puck a bit better than he had the previous times we’ve seen him. I was down on the goalie prospects in the system, but after doing this exercise again, ranking Patera 4th, and realizing how good he was in camp, the depth in the system actually looks pretty good.

1/8/19 – Patera is the only one of the Golden Knights goalie prospects to have made a World Junior roster. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very good while playing with the Czech team. He had a miserable game the one he was in the net and even had the blooper of the tourney tripping while trying to get back to the net. His numbers in Brandon have been pretty good though, so don’t go crazy. These are 19-year-old goalies we are talking about, if any of them pan out it would be amazing.

9/12/18 – Despite having the best stat line of any of the three goalies, he was the least impressive. It may have a lot to do with the fact that the Kings rookies did not generate much offense, but Patera seemed to lose track of the puck quite a bit. It’s important to note though that the gap between #1 to #4 is fairly slim here. Couple good periods and Patera could be first.

7/28/18 – Patera was selected by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the CHL Import Draft and is looking forward to trying his hand against better competition this season. He made a couple of incredible reactionary saves during 2018 Development Camp, one in particular that still boggles the mind as to how he kept the puck out. He seems to have quick reflexes and is a fairly large guy for his age.

 

3) Isaiah Saville
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #135 overall
Age: 20 (September 21, 2000)
Most Recent Team: University of Omaha-Nebraska (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #4

Yet again, Saville is doing his job at the college ranks. He has the best goals against average of his career and his save percentage has been steady across each of his three seasons. Plus, he was voted as having the best dance moves in postgame celebrations for the Mavericks. That has to count for something.

More on Saville
8/7/21 – Ranking: 4 – Another similar season has Saville sticking right where he has always been among the Golden Knights goalie prospects. That spot is as a hopeful option to turn pro and become a good minor league and eventually push to make the NHL. At this point, he doesn’t have much to prove in college, but there’s really no sense in leaving yet either as there’s not a spot for him in the VGK system. Based on talent alone, he is probably #2 on the list, but being stuck in college has dropped him to #4.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 2 – Nothing but steady play from Saville has his climbing back into the #2 spot for the Golden Knights. The question now becomes how long does he stay in college and then when he does decide to turn pro, what does the organizational depth look like at that time. He’s probably ready to be an AHL backup already, one has to wonder how long he’s willing to wait to make that a reality.

4/16/20 – Saville’s freshman season was solid in Omaha, especially for a newcomer goalie. He got the call to be a part of Team USA at the World Juniors but served as the third goalie and never saw action. Nonetheless, everything is headed in the right direction for Saville despite heading in the wrong direction on these rankings.

11/16/19 – “The Mayor” has gotten off to a nice start in his collegiate career. Posting a 2.27 GAA in seven games, Saville has helped the Mavericks get out to a 5-3-1 start. He’ll always be a bit of an anomaly as a right-hand catching goalie, but there’s nothing to make anyone doubt this kid to this point. Plus, he’s got a heck of a personality, which is going to make him a fan favorite no matter where he plays.

7/5/19 – Saville has been by far the most impressive goalie in his first appearance with the Golden Knights. He looked incredibly confident in the goal and his technique was terrific for an 18-year-old. Dave Prior is constantly working with goalies to try and make minor changes to their game, often times throwing them off a bit, but with Saville that wasn’t the case. Prior wanted Saville to challenge shooters further out of the goal cutting down angles. He did it, and it seemed to make him even better as the week went on. Of the goalies remaining in the Golden Knights system, he’s the highest draft pick and he looks like he’s on the right path to becoming a solid prospect.

 

4) Jesper Vikman
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #125 overall
Age: 19 (April 30, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Previous Ranking: 6

Vikman was fairly good in his start in the Rookie Faceoff and looked like he was right on par with Patera in the practices. He’s been solid in the WHL and he was very good in his pair of hames for the U20 Team Sweden.

More on Vikman
8/7/21 – Ranking: 6 – Vikman bounced between three leagues in Sweden and didn’t have a ton of sucess in any of them. He’s still very young, so there’s no reason to give up, but at the moment, this is the only place he can be in these rankings.

2/3/21 – Ranking: 5 – Vikman is the earliest drafted goalie in the VGK system (2nd all-time behind Maxim Zhukov). The Golden Knights moved up in the Draft to get him so there has to be plenty they like. At the moment though, unspectacular stats in Sweden make it hard for me to assign much value.

 

5) Carl Lindbom
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #222 overall
Age: 18 (May 20, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Djurgardens IF (Sweden)
Previous Ranking: 5

Lindbom looked very uncomfortable in the goal during his time in practice with the Golden Knights in Phoenix. However, when he got into the game he was much better and made a number of strong saves. His raw numbers don’t say he’s that small, but he looks pretty small in the goal, which could be a problem.

More on Lindbom
8/7/21 – Ranking: 5 He served as the main goalie for Team Sweden in the U18 Championships where they earned a bronze medal. It will be interesting to see how his aggressive nature is coached as the Golden Knights have headed more towards the passive style of goaltending since relieving Dave Prior.