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McPhee Says Miller Move Opens Door For Rookie D-Man To Make Roster

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s taken quite some time, but it looks like the rookies are finally fully cooked and ready to play in the NHL.

With the move of Colin Miller the Golden Knights roster currently stands with just five NHL players under contract and likely a sixth when Deryk Engelland re-ups in Vegas.

While the trade was made to help with cap compliance it was also made to provide some hope for the young defensemen we have in the organization. We really believe we have some terrific young defensemen, different flavors, bring different things to our lineup.  -McPhee

There are five players with a legitimate claim to that open spot. They are Nic Hague, Jimmy Schuldt, Zach Whitecloud, Jake Bischoff, and Dylan Coghlan.

So this is going to be a year where we’re going to add a rookie on the blue line and we have different flavors and I’m not sure which one at this point will do it, but it brings some enthusiasm and some freshness to your lineup and we believe will make us better because these kids are good, they are good players. -McPhee

The battle to win that spot will get underway when training camp starts in September.

Will it be Hauge, the tall, strong, puck-moving defenseman with a knack for adding offense especially on the power play? Or Whitecloud, the terrific skating two-way guy who seems to be able to go through entire games without making a single mistake? Or will it be Schuldt, the college free agent who nearly won the Hobey Baker and showed out well in his single game in the NHL? Or even Bischoff, the stay-at-home defenseman who has a chance to step right in as one of Vegas’ best penalty killers or Coghlan, the little defenseman with a wicked shot, the ability to join the rush, and skating ability most defensemen dream of?

McPhee isn’t wrong, they do have plenty of “flavors” as the heir-apparent on the blue line. So, he had to do something to make sure they are being looked after, and in moving Miller, he believes he’s done just that.

You have to give the young players in your organization some hope that there’s something there for them. If they looked at our team without that move they’d say ‘where am I going to play, looks like I’m destined for the American League again’ and while that’s okay in terms of playing in the American League, if you are ready to play here you want to provide that opportunity. -McPhee

Which rookie will reign supreme? That will certainly be a major storyline heading into 2019-20. If you asked me today who I think wins the job, I’d have absolutely no clue. Luckily we’ve got plenty of hockey to watch the decision has to be made. So, I’ll make my pick then, rather than at the end of June.

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7 Comments

  1. Brian

    No pick…..????? Chicken !!

    With an Engo re-signing eminent, you think any other blue line departures likely?

    • Mike G

      I think we see another rookie in the Nick Holden/John Merrill spot. I like both of those guys but neither one has anything special. I think they’d love to move the Nick Holden salary

  2. THE hockey GOD

    it’s going to be rookie defense man by committee until one of them stands out . It will probably be one of the older rookies that will have first shot at it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Coghlan or Hague get the job by end of season. Goghlan style is more like Miller. Except that every time Miller pulled a Bobby Orr he petered out at the blue line and didn’t know what to do in offensive zone. Instead of driving to net, he just dumped it behind the net. Hague needs to improve his D, in Calder Cup he faltered on D several times.

  3. scmitty 88

    my money is on bischoff

  4. Mark

    Not sure who gets in. I like McPhee’s attitude about keeping these guys hungry. Why not give a couple guys a shot? Why only 1 guy ? Play the best guys, if 2 guys standout, let’s see what they got. Nothing like trial by fire. I’m eager to see the young guys, by all indications, these guys can play. I’ve heard guys can play in the Russian league and earn $600,000 a year tax free, our younger players have to know this. I would hate to lose a good young player without seeing him in action.

  5. ken Whitecloud

    Baby Duck Whitecloud is ready. He studies the game. Zero defensive mistakes!! Untapped offensive upside.. I drove my nephew to many minor hockey games . This kid is a driven moose. Both his parents are supreme athletes. And he has the drive to be the best. love him!!

  6. vgk2019

    Whitecloud and Hague were each over +30 as a d pair in Chicago. They got the first line minutes in all the playoff games. they were the go-to guys for coach Rocky T.

    Hague is a great PP quarterback.

    But it will come down to what Gallant wants, and he might opt for the more seasoned rookie, and he might prefer a right handed shot.

    I still think they should dump Holden, as his $2.2m is squeezing the cap

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