Annually around this time of year dozens of NHL quality players become virtually up for grabs. Their college seasons and careers have ended, and they are looking for the next chapter. Over the past, the Golden Knights have taken advantage of college free agency, finding a mainstay in their lineup, defenseman Zach Whitecloud. The former Bemidji State blueliner was heavily touted in the spring of 2018 but the 31st franchise convinced the senior to join them in the Pacific Division. As Golden Knights fans have witnessed, Whitecloud might be the front office’s best amateur acquisition. Several draft picks have either flamed out or have been moved in deals for established NHL’ers. Meanwhile, Whitecloud has 177 games under his belt as one of VGK’s everyday defensemen.
Keeping in mind that many of these available collegiate athletes went undrafted or couldn’t come to terms with the club that selected them. Some were doubted, some were deemed undersized, and some were scouted as slow or not skilled enough for the NHL. As many amateur free agents prove each year, NHL teams often get it wrong. The college free agency period, front offices across the league can erase mistakes by signing a diamond in the rough from the NCAA.
It’s no secret, we are concerned about scoring in the playoffs. Back in the offseason, the Golden Knights traded scoring for cap space which could become a problem when facing one of the league’s best 16 teams. While a college free agent signing wouldn’t be eligible to play for VGK this postseason, here are some that could give the organization some much-needed organizational depth for years to come.