Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Paul Cotter And Sakari Manninen Making Early Push For Roster Spots

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights came into training camp without much uncertainty in the lineup. Sure there are guys who could solidify roles on different lines or pairs, but the 18 skaters expected to be on the ice for Vegas when they head to Los Angeles are pretty set.

That being said, there are a few guys in camp trying to challenge that sentiment, and through just a few days, they are doing it.

The first of those is Paul Cotter. The former 4th round pick saw minimal action in the NHL a year ago, but he made the most of it scoring twice in seven games.

In his first preseason game, he scored again, and drew high praise from the new head coach.

He was our best player. Not because he scored. He had three good looks. The offensive side was really good. He tracked and finished at least three checks, took good angles, and eliminated guys from the play. -Bruce Cassidy

For the first time in his career, Cotter is no long waiver exempt, which makes the decision even more difficult on the Golden Knights. If he can continue to do the things that impress Cassidy, he’ll likely pique the interest of other coaches around the league making him dangerous to place on waivers.

The message to Paul this morning was if you are playing for the Vegas Golden Knights, that’s game one, you’ve got to do that 82 times. The puck found you last night, you did good things with it. The puck may not find you in game two, you’ve still got to do those other things like track, be physical, be in the right spots. So we’ll see where it goes from here but I like his game a lot. -Cassidy

Cotter did not participate in morning skate, but is expected to play in tonight’s game on the third line with Jake Leschyshyn and Jonas Rondbjerg.

The other player making noise early in camp is Sakari Manninen. Arriving from the KHL, the hero of the Finnish National Team has ripped his lethal shot past every goalie they’ve put in front of him.

Plus, in the first power play practice, he participated as a penalty killer and was making life difficult on the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, Jack Eichel, and Phil Kessel.

The 5’7″ (which is probably generous) forward has been playing center in most of the practices and he’s scheduled to start in the middle of the ice in his first preseason game tonight as well. Cassidy said he was relying on the team’s European scouts for that decision. Manninen says he’s very comfortable in both positions.

For the last three or four years I’ve primarily played center. Before that I played a lot of winger, so I feel good playing both. -Manninen

Manninen also worked with the power play units in advance of tonight’s game. Historically he’s operated in the left circle, including where he scored the game-winning goal against Team Canada in the IIHF World Championships, but it appears he’ll work as the bumper with Brendan Brisson and Sheldon Rempal on his wings tonight.

To overtake anyone in the expected Opening Night starting lineup, it’s going to take consistent pressure from guys like Cotter and Manninen. It’s been less than a week, but they are definitely applying it and look to continue tonight.




LOS ANGELES KINGS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (Preseason Game 2) (Shootout 6-5 VGK)


  1. Chuckles

    I see UNLV Rebels have a new local sports channel. Those were the days when one could see UNLV Running Rebels the years they were great. Channel 8 including CBS. Times not easy on the wallet nowadays with Rent, Utilities , both Gas and Electric plus Rent up.!!! Thanks Channel 13 airing the Exhibition games. A few on TNT so Dynamite!! Who can afford pay sports these days??? ESPN was great as included with most of basic channels. Left basketball college and pro for our Knights!! Who wants to pay upwards $90 these daze. Chuckles Out.

    • Emmanuel

      I used to see the Rebels hockey team at Fiesta casino, they had a pretty good hockey arena there. I regret not seeing the wranglers when they played at the Orleans.

  2. Emmanuel

    Crazy prediction:

    MS plays half a year, JE has an off year……

    ……and Sakari Manninen Leads VGK to the cup.

    The Finnish Theo Fleury.

  3. vgk21

    Hill sucks…..too slow and awkward

    LT is the clear #1, and Hutchinson may be the backup to start the season.

    the Eichel line with Kessel and Smith looks good… and Cotter looks good…. but Vgk scoring any goals will be a real chore this season

  4. Tim

    Well I watched 2 periods last night of the L.A. game it was like watching grass grow. Hockey’s biggest problem is excitement and excitement is goals and there’s just not enough goals most times. I’d hate to compare hockey to my Cleveland Guardians but it’s no contest every game they play is exciting and then I watch the Knights and it’s a downer. I know you diehard fans just think hockey is the greatest game ever invented but I don’t get it it’s like soccer in both sports your lucky if you score a couple of goals. Don’t get me wrong I’m looking forward to the hockey season and hope we do well but I try to keep it all in perspective the truth is it’s 15 % exciting and 85 % boring.

    • Daniel Marquez

      This is the weirdest post I’ve ever seen on a hockey forum in my entire life. Aside from all the off-topic MAGA raving that happens here, of course.

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