(Last updated: October 5th, 2023)

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: Zach Dean (Trade), Ivan Morozov (Loan), Pavel Dorofeyev (NHL Experience), Peter Diliberatore (Trade), Connor Corcoran (Age), Ryder Donovan (Age)

SKATERS

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

1) Brendan Brisson (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #29 overall
Age: 21 (October 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 2

The VGK coaching staff has gotten a good hard look at Brisson this offseason and it definitely seems as if they like what they are seeing. He’ll probably still need some seasoning in the NHL, especially when it comes to stick and physical battles, but he will play NHL games this season.

More on Brisson
2/11/23 – Ranking: 2 – Brisson’s first full year as a professional has not gone the way he and the Golden Knights wished. He’s not scoring at the pace expected for a 1st round pick sniper, and his physical game hasn’t matched the level of the AHL level to this point. 19 points including seven goals simply isn’t good enough in 37 AHL games. He still has the elite shot, and he still has some high-end vision with the puck, but there still needs to be quite a bit of improvement if he wants to become the player the Golden Knights expected when they picked him 29th overall.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 2 – It would have been great to have seen more out of Brisson at Development Camp. He didn’t score a goal in the scrimmages and aside from his well-known elite one-timer, he didn’t pop as the only 1st round pick on the ice. Often times players aren’t quite themselves in the summer, especially after a long season. So it’s possible he comes into Rookie Camp, lights it up, and claims a spot. But as of right now, he still appears to need some professional seasoning in the AHL.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 1 – 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.

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.

 

**TRADED TO SAN JOSE** 2) David Edstrom (F)
Acquired: 2023 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #32 overall
Age: 18 (February 18, 2005)
Most Recent Team: Frolunda (SHL)
Previous Ranking: N/A

As an 18-year-old Edstrom has slotted right into professional hockey and he’s already producing. He has 6 points in 7 games and is a mainstay in the Frolunda lineup. He’s a big strong kid who is a good skater for his size. He’s aggressive on the ice and willing to push people around (or out of the way) to get to where he needs to go. As one of two remaining 1st round picks in the VGK system, the upside on Edstrom is definitely as exciting as any prospect in the pool.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

3) Layton Ahac (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #86 overall
Age: 22 (February 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #6

Ahac showed up yet again this summer and training camp and has put himself in the hat as a potential NHL call up this year. He looked every bit the part of an NHL defenseman in the preseason and was calm and collected in all of the rookie games. He’ll need to take some steps offensively if he’s ever going to be a majorly impactful player, but there appear to be NHL games in his future.

More on Ahac
2/1/23 – Ranking: 6 – The biggest riser of any prospect on this update is Ahac. The main reason for this rise was his play at Training Camp when he went up against his NHL teammates. Ahac impressed much more than he ever has both with his composure in the defensive zone and his puck-moving skills. He’d always been thought of as a defense-first d-man but there is definitely more to his game when he’s around more skilled players. The numbers haven’t been there in the AHL (4 points in 34 games) which is concerning, but he didn’t look discernably different than Korczak and Kaedan is knocking at the door of being an NHL regular.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 22 – Coming into camp as one of the older players it was expected that we’d finally start to see what made Ahac a 3rd round pick. There wasn’t much to show for it aside from sound positioning and proper decision-making in the defensive zone. He’s probably not physically imposing enough to make it to the NHL on defense alone, so that offensive touch is going to have to come at some point.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 16 – 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.

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 labeled 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.

 

4) Jackson Hallum (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #91 overall
Age: 21 (September 8, 2002)
Most Recent Team: University of Michigan (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 10

Yet again, Hallum was one of the most exciting players on the ice at Development Camp. His speed and playmaking jump off the page to whoever is watching and it definitely appears he’s starting to truly understand how to play at a speed quicker than everyone else on the ice. He needs a big college season though to keep the upward momentum. It didn’t happen last year, maybe it will this year.

More on Hallum
2/11/23 – Ranking: 10 – Hallum was impressive in Rookie Camp and the hope was that his speed would help him dominate games in college. That hasn’t quite come to life in his freshman year at Michigan as he’s scored just four goals and added eight assists in 26 games. There has to be more to his game than speed, hopefully, that happens in the next few years at Michigan.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 7 – Everyone knows Jackson Hallum can skate like the wind. That was on display for anyone and everyone to see once again at his first Development Camp. The question was whether or not he could do anything offensively with a gear faster than everyone else on the ice. He didn’t exactly light the scoreboard up, but time and time again he was putting defenders in bad positions either creating scoring chances or drawing penalties. There’s a lot to be excited about for a kid getting ready to make a significant leap in competition this season as he heads to Michigan.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 13 – Moving up a level hasn’t seemed 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.

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.

 

5) Matyas Sapovaliv (F)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #48 overall
Age: 19 (February 12, 2004)
Most Recent Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Previous Ranking: 3

Sapovaliv did not flash like we had hoped in the most recent Development Camp and rookie games but there’s no doubt the skill is there for him to be a useful center. He put on a bunch of weight and it shows in the way he is able to use his body forecheck. The skating, which was a concern, does not seem to be as big a problem as was described after he was drafted.

More on Sapovaliv
2/11/23 – Ranking: 3 – As he’s set to hit his 19th birthday tomorrow, Sapovaliv has soared up the list. This actually has a lot more to do with others dropping, but Matyas has done everything you can ask for in his first season post-draft. He posted seven assists in seven games at World Juniors and was utilized as a defensive specialist as well. He’s also posting strong numbers in the OHL with Saginaw. His forechecking continues to be a strong suit and his ability to read the game as a defensive center is strong. He certainly looks like he has an NHL future.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 11 – The concern during the draft on Sapovaliv was his skating. At Development Camp, it was not notably poor which is a good sign having stepped on the Vegas ice just days after being drafted. He’s a strong forechecker and his awareness in the defensive and neutral zones is great. He potted a goal at World Juniors, but there were definitely some signs that he was struggling to keep up as the tournament went along. He’s a real boom or bust type prospect, and it’s not hard to see some of the characteristics that make VGK believe he’ll boom.

 

6) Mathieu Cataford (F)
Acquired: 2023 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #77 overall
Age: 18 (March 1, 2005)
Most Recent Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Previous Ranking: NR

Cataford is off to a blazing start in the Q, scoring six points in his first three games. Not unexpected, but he did not show much in Development Camp and did not play in the rookie games. He plays with a lot of energy and definitely seems like a complementary player as opposed to a true line driver, however, he’s still so young, so there’s tons of time to develop.

 

7) Jakub Brabenec (F)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #102 overall
Age: 20 (September 11, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 1

There was some definitely excitement for the Czech standout heading into this summer. However, it just did not show up much on the ice as he was unable to generate the offense we expected in his third camp with the team. He played 1st or 2nd line center in all three rookie games and was unable to drive the line he was on. Everyone’s first professional season is crucial, it’s no different for Jakub.

More on Brabenec
2/11/23 – Ranking: 1 – It’s been an eventful year for the 19-year-old 4th round pick. After impressing during his time wearing a VGK sweater both in the summer and fall, Brabenec headed back to the QMJHL where he continued producing both goals and assists. He was traded to the Sherbrooke Phoenix where he has picked up his pace even more. But, the most impressive portion of Brabenec’s year was the trip to World Juniors. He was excellent the entire tournament, one of Czechia’s most influential offensive players. He averaged a point per game and made plays against the biggest teams and players in the tournament. He sees the game at the speed necessary to play at the next level.
8/16/22 – Ranking: 4 – The fastest riser in the rankings, Brabenec finished off an excellent season in the QMJHL and then impressed at Development Camp. It’s a shame he didn’t go to World Juniors because he could have easily turned heads. There’s really not much to dislike about his game. He’s an excellent passer, he has a knack for being in the right place around the blue paint, and he forechecks with ferocity. He’s definitely not ready for the NHL, maybe not even the AHL, but the future is bright.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 10 – 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.

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.

 

8) Jakub Demek
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #128 overall
Age: 20 (June 6, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 12

Like his fellow Jakib above him, Demek did not overwhelm this offseason either. The good news on him is that he was proven to be much more ready physically than many of his counterparts on this list. He should do well in the AHL, the question remains if the skill level is there to be a consistent NHL contributor.

More on Demek
2/11/23 – Ranking: 12 – Injuries have ruined Demek’s year as he has yet to step foot on the ice. There’s still a lot of upside with him assuming he returns to form after the injuries.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 15 – Demek’s size is unmistakable on the ice and he uses it to his favor both in forechecking and making life difficult in front of opponents’ goal. The problem is that it doesn’t often translate to much as was the case in Edmonton at World Juniors. There’s still a strong hope he can become a defensive option in the forward pool.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 19 – 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 dark horse in the VGK prospect pool.

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.

 

9) Lukas Cormier (D)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #68 overall
Age: 21 (March 27, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 4

Cormier continues to head in the wrong direction as his offensive game has not popped as expected and his defensive decision making has been troublesome. There are penalty issues that have cropped up as well. There was a time he was looked at as the next prospect to break through on the blue line, now he’s certainly in the double digits on the VGK depth chart of defensemen.

More on Cormier
2/11/23 – Ranking: 4 – The explosiveness that we saw from Cormier in juniors, Development Camp, and Rookie Camp simply has not translated as cleanly to the AHL as hoped. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player with HSK, he’s certainly not, but the tools that had him looking like he had an NHL future aren’t shining through as clearly. He still moves very well and has good instincts with the puck on his stick, he just needs to refine his overall game a bit more. I wouldn’t rule out a trip to the NHL next year for him, but it doesn’t look as clear-cut as it did a year ago.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 3 – All Lukas Cormier does is post numbers. He once again won the Defenseman of the Year award in the QMJHL (first guy ever to win it back-to-back) and he looked comfortable at both Development Camp and World Juniors. Questions will continue to remain about how well he’ll hold up in the defensive end against pros, but his offensive game is easily good enough to play at the NHL level. He’ll probably play at least a full year in the AHL before he makes any real push for playing time with the Golden Knights.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 6 – In maybe the least surprising 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.

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.

 

10) Daniil Chayka (D)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #38 overall
Age: 20 (October 22, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #7

There’s a lot of good in Daniil’s game, especially the way he leads on the ice both physically and vocally. He looked incredibly comfortable in the rookie games and has been just fine in his preseason appearances. Is he an NHL player right now, no? Could he be in the future, maybe.

More on Chayka
2/11/23 – Ranking: 7 – Physically, Chayka looks the part of not only an AHL defensemen, but potentially an NHL one. However, his game just doesn’t do much to inspire a look at a higher level right now. In his own end he’s fine but there are enough mistakes to still have concerns. Offensively, if the puck comes to him and he can unload a shot, it’s dangerous, but he’s not going to do much to put himself in a position to get that shot. A big step is needed in Chayka’s game if he’s going to push his way into the NHL.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 9 Chayka had a nice Development Camp showing off his physical assets and keeping up in the skating department. He also unloaded a bomb of a shot in one of the scrimmages. There’s still a ways to go to make a call on whether or not he’ll be able to keep up physically or mentally with the speed of the professional game.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 14 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 regard 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.

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.

 

12) Jordan Gustafson (F)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #79 overall
Age: 19 (January 20, 2004)
Most Recent Team: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Previous Ranking: 8

Gustafson missed the rookie games due to injury and hasn’t been able to get on the ice so far for his WHL team. He needs a monster year as a 19-year-old in juniors, and assuming he gets healthy, he should have it.

More on Gustafson
2/11/23 – Ranking: 8 – This kid just puts up points and he often does it in exciting ways. There’s no doubt there’s a lot of skill, it’s just the size that remains a bit of a concern. He’s a strong skater which is why he consistently shows up in the highlights zipping past players and heading in on goal. He probably has the most underrated upside in the entire VGK prospect pool.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 16 – The “Gus Bus” as I’m told he’s affectionately called in Seattle showed his speed in Development camp, but not a whole lot else. It’s always tough to get a read on kids in their first pro experience, so there’s no reason to go making any sweeping opinions on the 3rd round pick yet.

 

13) Ben Hemmerling (F)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #177 overall
Age: 19 (April 21, 2004)
Most Recent Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Previous Ranking: 11

An alternate captain for the Silvertips, Hemmerling is clearly a leader on the ice. The challenge so far though has been his inability to make a truly consistent offensive impact. He was not great offensively in the rookie games despite playing in a place in the lineup that was enviable.

More on Hemmerling
2/11/23 – Ranking: 11 – Despite being physically small, Hemmerling plays a fairly strong style of hockey. He’s able to hang onto the puck in the offensive zone and he’s quick enough to make defenders miss if he gets a head of steam. He’s continuing to score goals as an 18-year-old in the WHL and he’ll be one to keep an eye on when the prospects return to Vegas this summer.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 17 – Hemmerling had a nose for the front of the goal in Development Camp which is a welcome sign for those wearing a Golden Knights uniform. He also popped in many of the drills at the beginning of camp.

 

14) Arttu Karki (D)
Acquired: 2023 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #96 overall
Age: 18 (December 8, 2004)
Most Recent Team: Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
Previous Ranking: NR

Karki was listed on the VGK roster for the rookie games but he did not end up playing in any of them. He’s putting up points early in the OHL, but he’ll need to prove it on VGK ice before he starts making his ascent up this list.

 

15) Mason Primeau (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #141 overall
Age: 22 (July 28, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #17

While many others did not stand out in the rookie games for VGK, Primeau did. He was physically menacing, got himself into a few scraps, and even looked the part offensively. The problem is he’s 22-years-old and should be dominating those games, which didn’t exactly happen.

More on Primeau
2/11/23 – Ranking: 17 – Primeau is one of the rare players in the VGK system that would fill a much-needed void at the NHL level. He’s big, he basically only plays in front of the goal, and he’s able to skate well enough to keep up. But, the production has been far too limited in the AHL (and in a stint in the ECHL) to even think he’s close to being next in line on the call-up list. It’s tough for the biggest of guys to break through, and it’s proving that way for Primeau as well.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 18 – It’s still tough to tell if Primeau’s skill level is only impressive because of his size or if it’s legitimately impressive. Anyone as massive as he is is going to stand out on the ice. Time will tell if that size can translate into something useless in the NHL, or if he’s destined for a long career pushing guys around in the AHL.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 18 – 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.

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. Either 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.

 

16) Patrick Guay (F)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #145 overall
Age: 21 (April 29, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Savannah Ghost Pirates (ECHL)
Previous Ranking: 16

When it comes to little guys like Guay, there needs to be boatloads of offense. There certainly was not that in the rookie games, and in fact, he was barely noticeable at times. The next step for Patrick is spending a full season in the AHL, rather than bouncing between that and the ECHL. Never give up on little guys, but he has a long climb ahead of him.

More on Guay
2/11/23 – Ranking: 16 – He’s been a yo-yo player heading between the AHL and ECHL in his first professional season. At the ECHL level, he’s producing both goals and points, but when he plays in the AHL there’s not a ton there. He clearly knows how to score, but each step up in competition has certainly slowed him down. There’s always something to be said when you are the player that’s being chosen to be sent down a level, and unfortunately it’s not the best thing being said.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 13 – A rare overage draft pick for the Golden Knights, Guay’s stats must have just been too much for Vegas to overlook, and for good reason. 104 points in 68 games with 55 goals is nothing to scoff at, and he looked the part of a bonafide scorer at Development Camp. The issue will lie in his size (he’s small) and his non-noteworthy skating. He has Jonathan Marchessault written all over him, but if you remember #81’s career arc, it took a long time and multiple area code changes before he became the player he is today.

 

17) Tuomas Uronen
Acquired: 2023 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #192 overall
Age: 18 (March 19, 2005)
Most Recent Team: Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Previous Ranking: NR

Uronen struggled in Development Camp and early in rookie camp. He looked like a youngster who had a lot going through his mind and couldn’t just focus on hockey. We know better than to put a label on a player after his first camps, so we won’t with Uronen.

 

18) Joe Fleming (D)
Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent (Signed September 29th, 2022)
Age: 20 (June 19, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 14

Fleming continued to fulfill his role as a pain in the ass of every opponent he comes up again. However, it’s pretty clear there are some concerns with how he plays in the defensive zone. He seems like a very coachable player though, so expect some serious strides by this time next year.

More on Fleming
2/11/23 – Ranking: 14 – Fleming parlayed his strong Development Camp into an entry-level contract with the Golden Knights. He’s a hard-nosed defenseman who loves to use his body both during the play and after. He moves the puck well and is a pain in the butt for everyone to play against.

 

19) Abram Wiebe (D)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #209 overall
Age: 20 (August 28, 2003)
Most Recent Team: University of North Dakota (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 15

The next step for Wiebe is to continue posting the scoring numbers in the NCAA that he did in the BCHL. This is a major step up in competition.

More on Wiebe
2/11/23 – Ranking: 15 – An assist machine in the BCHL, Wiebe has raced out to 59 points in 54 games. The level of competition remains a major question mark, but a 7th round pick being 11th in scoring in any league is a positive.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 20 – The biggest part of Wiebe that made itself known at Development Camp was his personality. While most were seemingly a bit nervous to chat with the local media Wiebe seemed right at home.

 

20) Artur Cholach (D)
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #190 overall
Age: 20 (June 6, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Previous Ranking: 19

Cholach did some good things defensively in the pair of rookie games he participated in. That being said, he’s still a long ways away from being considered as a true professional option. Plus, a move from the OHL to the USHL is rarely a good thing.

More on Cholach
2/11/23 – Ranking: 19 – Big defensemen that don’t score are so difficult to judge without understanding the full context of the team they play on. That’s certainly the case for Cholach and his 13 points in 40 OHL games. That being said, most NHL-quality defensemen posted massive point totals at some point in their junior career. Until that happens, it’s hard to project much for Cholach.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 19 – Much better at Development Camp than he was at the Rookie Faceoff, there are definitely some aspects of Cholach’s game that may help him push up this list. At this point though, we need a see a lot more of it before we make a judgment on whether or not there’s a pro career ahead of him.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 21 – 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 to learn how to be able to offset his footspeed as he gets older and more experienced.

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.

 

21) Noah Ellis (D)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #184 overall
Age: 21 (February 1, 2002)
Most Recent Team: University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 20

Yet another new team for Ellis as he’ll play on his fourth different team in the last four seasons. He posted just two points in 23 games with UMass this year, he’ll need to massively improve on that in Omaha.

More on Ellis
2/11/23 – Ranking: 20 – We won’t know for sure until he gets a chance at the professional level, but there’s starting to be more of a question of if he’ll ever get that chance. Ellis is not making much of an impact in the NCAA and he was not particularly good in Development Camp either. He still has a bunch of time to spend in college while VGK maintain his rights, but the road to a contract seems steep.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 25 – As a defense-first defenseman, it’s usually best to be almost forgotten on the ice. However, Ellis was so unnoticeable that at times I did legitimately forget he was out there. Not a good sign as a 20-year-old playing with a lot of 18’s and 19’s.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 24 – 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.

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.

 

22) Marcus Kallionkieli (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #139 overall
Age: 22 (March 20, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Savannah Ghost Pirates (ECHL)
Previous Ranking: #22

Let’s see where Kallionkieli plays his games this year. If he can stick in the AHL, maybe the door isn’t completely closed on him as a prospect.

More on Kallionkieli
2/11/23 – Ranking:22 – The slide has unfortunately continued for Kallionkieli who remains one of the few players on this list that has actually signed a VGK contract. He’s only played five games this season and they were in the ECHL where he tallied just one point. The ship has likely sailed on what once looked like a promising 5th round pick.
8/16/22 – Ranking: 24 – He looked big and strong and it was nice to see him finally participating in a Golden Knights sweater, but there just wasn’t a ton to his game that stood out. He seemed to be able to hold onto the puck longer than most, but rarely did much come from it.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 20 – 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.

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.

 

GOALIES

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

1) Jiri Patera
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #161 overall
Age: 24 (February 24, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #1

Patera enters the season as the clear 3rd goalie for the Golden Knights, the organization has even outright said it. It’s up to him to keep that spot and take his chance when it comes in the NHL. I’m not too worried about what the numbers look like in the AHL, it’ll be about how ready he is when he’s called upon by the big club.

More on Patera
2/11/23 – Ranking:1 – Patera has been excellent in the Silver Knights’ goal despite playing behind one of the worst teams in the AHL. He’s been clearly better than NHL veteran Michael Hutchinson and at times he’s even looked better than another NHLer, Laurent Brossoit. VGK’s future between the pipes is very cloudy heading into next year, there’s a real chance Patera inserts himself into that picture.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 2 – Patera is going to get a shot to state his case in camp, then preseason, and then early in the regular season likely at the AHL level. With the VGK goalie room either inexperienced and banged up, opportunity is there for the taking for everyone wants to take it. Patera has shown out well in some chances and not as well in others.

2/23/22 – 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.

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.

 

2) Carl Lindbom
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #222 overall
Age: 20 (May 20, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Farjestad BK (Sweden)
Previous Ranking: 2

Lindbom has done nothing but dominate statistically the last few seasons. He’s off to an incredible 4-0-0 start allowing less than a goal per game with his new Swedish team too. It’s a shame he wasn’t at rookie camp to see how he stacks up with Patera. Carl’s clearly the most exciting goalie prospect in the pool.

More on Lindbom
2/11/23 – Ranking: 2 – Lindbom is having one of the most impressive underaged seasons we’ve ever seen from a VGK goalie prospect. He’s been stupendous in the Hockey Allsvenskan league, posting what could be a record season for a rookie in that league. In the middle of that season, he went to World Juniors and was one of, if not the, best goalie in the tournament. There’s still a concern about his size, but he’s certainly raising his profile this year.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 5 – He really didn’t do anything wrong, other guys have just been better than him. This is both at Development Camp and at World Juniors where he has yet to dress for Team Sweden.

2/23/22 – 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.

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.

3) Jesper Vikman
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #125 overall
Age: 21 (March 11, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 4

Vikman looked solid in the pair of rookie games he participated in. His first shot at professional action will be telling. HSK have a 27-year-old goalie that must be leapfrogged for playing time, that’s the next step for Vikman.

More on Vikman
2/11/23 – Ranking: 4 – His great showing in Development Camp has not extended to his year in the WHL. All of his numbers have increased from a year ago and his team is struggling, sitting at 7th in the division.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 1 – Wow did Vikman look good in the net at City National Arena during Development Camp. He was extremely calm in the net, moved well for a bigger guy, and was positionally sound all week long. I know he’s probably not, because he’s yet to become old enough to drink in the United States, but he looked good enough to be able to play in an AHL game tomorrow.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 4 – 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 games for the U20 Team Sweden.

8/7/21 – Ranking: 6 – Vikman bounced between three leagues in Sweden and didn’t have a ton of success 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.

4) Isaiah Saville
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #135 overall
Age: 23 (September 21, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Savannah Ghost Pirates (ECHL)
Previous Ranking: #3

All of a sudden injuries have started to get in the way of Saville’s progress. He was expected to come in and be the best of the goalies in Development and Rookie Camp but he was unable to be a part of either (for the most part). He was also not listed on the opening roster for the Silver Knights. Health comes first, then he can start gunning for Patera’s spot as the AHL starter.

More on Saville
2/11/23 – Ranking: 3 – With the logjam of goalies above him, Savvile has spent much of his year in Savannah. He’s been pretty good there including posting the franchise’s first shutout a few days ago, but the wins have not followed. It’s probably unfair, but a 6-15-5 record is not ideal. He’ll likely have plenty of chances next year to compete in the AHL though, which should help give us a better idea of his future.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 3 – Like each of the goalies in Development Camp, Saville looked comfortable and confident in the goal. He was better than expected to start his AHL career as well. There are a lot of balls up in the air for the new Director of Goaltending Sean Burke to figure out, where Saville plays his games this year is an important one of them.

2/23/22 – Ranking: 3 – 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.

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.

 

5) Cameron Whitehead
Acquired: 2021 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #128 overall
Age: 21 (June 13, 2003)
Most Recent Team: Northeastern University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 5

It’s going to be about his season in the NCAA this year. If it’s great, we can start considering him among the future options in the goalie pool. Until he does it at a decent level though, it’s hard to move him up.

More on Whitehead
2/11/23 – Ranking: 5 – Whitehead’s numbers have improved from last year in the USHL, but the quality of that league makes it very difficult to compare him to the others ahead of him on this list. He’ll head to Northeastern University next season where he’ll see a step up. If the numbers continue trending well, he will here too.

8/16/22 – Ranking: 4 – For a first-timer in Development Camp, Whitehead looked composed. He was really good in the shootouts and rarely allowed a goal in scrimmages. It was a little more hit and miss in the drills, but usually goalies in their first camps don’t do well. You can’t say that about him.