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Golden Knights Prospect Rankings – August 16th, 2022

A lot has changed since the last update to the SinBin.vegas Prospect Rankings. VGK added a new group of prospects via the NHL Draft, a number of former draft picks departed the system, and the first Development Camp in two years took place at City National Arena.

There’s a new prospect atop the skater rankings, a new name atop the goalie rankings, and a bunch of shuffling up and down the rankings.

Here’s the new list, ranking all 26 skaters and 5 goalies in the system.

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: Zack Hayes (Age), Ben Jones (Free Agent), Jack Dugan (Free Agent), Maxim Marushev (Age), Brandon Kruse (Rights Expired), Nick Campoli (Rights Expired), Dylan Ferguson (Free Agent)

SKATERS

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

1) 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

There’s really only one thing holding Korczak back from the NHL and that’s roster space. He’d have to have a massive Training Camp to push any of the top-seven defensemen off the roster, but there’s no denying he’s ready enough to play in the bigs if there were a spot. He completely dominated Development Camp to the point that he was ruining drills because he’s so sound defensively. He physically looks like an NHLer too. There’s no question of if with him now, it’s when and then for how long, and my guess would be once he breaks through, he’s spending a decade plus in the league.

More on Korczak
2/23/22 – 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.

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.

 

2) 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: 1

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.

More on Brisson
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. 

 

3) Lukas Cormier (D)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #68 overall
Age: 20 (March 27, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Previous Ranking: 6

All Lukas Cormier does is post numbers. He once again won the Defensman of the Year award in the QMJHL (first guy ever to win it back-to-back) and he looked comfortable 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.

More on Cormier
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.

 

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

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 a ferocity. He’s definitely not ready for the NHL, maybe not even the AHL, but the future is bright.

More on Brabenec
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.

 

GOALIES 

1) Jesper Vikman
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #125 overall
Age: 20 (March 11, 2002)
Most Recent Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Previous Ranking: 4

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.

More on Vikman
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 hames for the U20 Team Sweden.

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.

 

To see the rest of the SinBin.vegas Prospect Rankings, click here.

Observations On Every Golden Knights Prospect From Development Camp

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Development Camp is done and dusted and there was a lot to learn from the week of drills and weekend of scrimmages. Here’s a quick observation on every prospect under VGK control.

Daniil Chayka

Very steady in the defensive end and a physical nightmare to forecheck against. Scored a nice slap shot in a 4-on-3 situation too. Plus, his translating skills were terrific.

Kaedan Korczak

It’s clear he’s physically ready for the NHL level. There remains a fine line between being calm and under control in the defensive end as opposed to lacking urgency. In Camp, any pressure he invited was fended off easily, time will tell if that will continue against the best players in the world. Either way, there should be zero doubt that his future includes NHL experience.

Ivan Morozov

It felt like most of the week he was trying to do too much. Whether it was trying to dangle guys in the D-zone, making moves at the blue lines, or attempting passes through closed lanes. His backchecking remains excellent though. I came into the week thinking he was going to push for a spot on the NHL roster at camp, I leave knowing he’s a longshot to start anywhere but the AHL.

Jakub Brabanec

The star of the weekend, Brabanec (pronounced Bra-ban-etz) was constantly near the goal creating or finishing chances. His forechecking was too much for many to handle and his hockey-IQ jumped off the page in all three zones. Reminds me a lot of Jonas Rondbjerg from 2018 Dev Camp.

Zach Dean

Skated just one day before being held out for precautionary reasons.

Brendan Brisson

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McCrimmon Shares Four Ways VGK Can Make Up For Lost Offense

When the Golden Knights pulled off the blockbuster trade to acquire Jack Eichel, it became clear they would have to do some serious work to on their salary cap. That work is now complete and it has resulted in the departures of Max Pacioretty, Evgenii Dadonov, and Dylan Coghlan.

The trio of players shipped out accounted for 42 goals last season with Pacioretty missing more than half of the year due to injury. Also, while still unsigned, it’s possible Mattias Janmark and his nine goals exit Vegas as well. That’s more than 50 goals leaving the organization without a single new player being added to the fold (at least to this point).

So, how do they make up that offense?

That question was posed to GM Kelly McCrimmon at today’s press conference and his answer was essentially four-pronged. Let’s go through each of them.

“We anticipate a healthy lineup will put more offense into our lineup”

McCrimmon specifically singled out Stone, but the larger point is that without virtually every important player on the team missing significant time, as we saw last year, there will be an influx in scoring.

Stone, Eichel, Karlsson, and Smith will all likely generate more this coming year than they did last year. Between them, they scored 51 goals and tallied 128 points in 2021-22. The career averages of those four players calls for something closer to 98 goals and 245 points. Throw in Martinez, Howden, and Hague and there’s room for even more.

It’s pretty clear that if the team is significantly healthier, scoring will go up.

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10 Questions I’m Interested To Have Answered At Development Camp Scrimmages

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

For the first time since 2019, the Golden Knights are holding a Development Camp at City National Arena. The pandemic wiped out two years of Dev Camp and it’s left us with a lot of prospects who have either never been in a sweater with a Vegas logo on it or have done it sparingly.

With that, there’s a lot to keep an eye on during the scrimmages at the end of the week. Here’s what I’m looking for.

1) Will Brendan Brisson look like the clear #1 prospect in the VGK system?

Brisson has impressed at every level including his most recent short stint in the AHL. However, I’ve still been left with some questions, most notably his ability to hold the puck in the offensive zone and his overall defensive game. As one of just two 1st round picks, and playing as an older player, Brisson needs to clearly stand out as one of the best players in these scrimmages.

2) Can Lukas Cormier’s offensive game translate against better competition?

Numbers, numbers, and more numbers. That’s all we’ve seen from Cormier in the QMJHL. But, due to the lack of camps the last two years we’ve only seen hin in Vegas for the Rookie Faceoff in Arizona and then a few preseason games. He wasn’t particularly good in either and it seemed like his deficiencies defensively overshadowed his offensive game. It would be great to see that half-goal-per-game player show up with a VGK uni on.

3) Is Kaedan Korczak ready?

If you take one peek at Korczak’s frame, you’ll know he’s more than ready to play in the NHL physically. He was steady through the AHL season and looked competent in his single NHL appearance. Back in September in the Rookie Faceoff, there was a lack of urgency to his game that concerned me. It seemed to dissipate as I watched him a few times for Henderson. I’m hoping to not see it again.

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While Filling One Age Gap, The Golden Knights Have Created Another

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Due to the nature of the Expansion Draft, one of the ongoing challenges the Golden Knights have had to work through is dealing with what’s been coined “the age gap.”

We didn’t have the ability to draft (players with birth years) 1998, 97, 96, 95, or 94. We had no players available to us in those age groups. -Kelly McCrimmon

They were able to acquire a few via trade, but in Vegas’ first season they had just four regulars who were born between 1994-1998, which at the time would have made them 21-23 years old. A year later that number remained at four but there were two different players involved.

At the time, it wasn’t that big of a deal because the majority of the group was hitting their prime, somewhere between the ages of 24-30, but it was always clear what was coming on the horizon if the gap was not addressed.

So, over the course of the previous four seasons, the Golden Knights have worked hard to bulk up that group. The kingpin is 1996-born Jack Eichel (which cost a fellow 96 in Alex Tuch). Vegas also have Shea Theodore, William Carrier, Nic Roy, Zach Whitecloud, Keegan Kolesar, Michael Amadio, Dylan Coghlan, and Logan Thompson in that group. (They’ve also cycled through Dylan Sikura, Jake Bischoff, Valentin Zykov, Gage Quinney, Jimmy Schuldt, Stefan Matteau, Brendan Leipsic, and Oscar Dansk who all played NHL games.)

Trades, free agents, waivers, and diamonds in the rough have helped the Golden Knights find a group that will play next season between the ages of 24-28.

Now, you look at our team today and the players that we have in those age groups are very important. Those players are really important in (developing our identity of rolling four lines), they are really important in a salary cap world. They are good players. They help our team win. That to me is critical in your team having that depth and developing that identity that you want to see. -Kelly McCrimmon

There’s one problem. In the quest to fill one age gap, the Golden Knights have created another one, and one that is of even more significance “in the salary cap world” as McCrimmon puts it. The 94-98 group are no longer on their entry-level deals, meaning they are all being paid something close (or more) than their market value. Meanwhile, the younger group is still bound by the ELC system which caps out at less than $1 million.

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Prospect Updates: Brendan Brisson, Ivan Morozov, And More

April is always an interesting time for prospects, and it’s especially interesting this year with the NHL schedule pushed back a few weeks meaning we’re still in the regular season instead of starting the playoffs as we normally would be at this time.

The NCAA schedule has remained on track which has led to a flurry of signings around the league as each player’s respective season ends. On top of that, the KHL season came to an abrupt end for many players including a top Vegas prospect in Ivan Morozov. Here’s the latest on a group of VGK prospects that have decisions coming up soon.

Brendan Brisson
1st Round Pick, 2020

Brisson’s Michigan Wolverines were eliminated from the Frozen Four on Thursday. Quickly after, Brisson’s teammates Owen Power, Nick Blankenburg, and Kent Johnson inked contracts with the NHL team that held their rights. Another teammate, Matty Beniers is expected to do the same with Seattle soon.

Brisson finished his sophomore season at Michigan this year leading the team in goals. Vegas holds his rights through August of 2024, but it appears probable that Brisson will want to leave school to sign his entry-level deal this year as opposed to playing out his junior and senior years at Michigan.

If Brisson does indeed want to turn pro, the next decision will be whether or not he and/or the Golden Knights want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract. If he signs prior to Vegas’ season ending, the first year of his three-year contract will elapse meaning he’d become an RFA in the summer of 2024. If they wait until after this season concludes, he’ll be under contract for three more seasons making him an RFA in 2025.

The clock is definitely ticking, but there’s still plenty of time for the team and player to come to the agreement that works best for both using either option. Brisson would be eligible to play for the Golden Knights immediately and in the playoffs should they make it, but both seem rather unlikely at this time.

Ivan Morozov
2nd Round Pick, 2018

Morozov was the first player selected in the 2018 Draft by the Golden Knights after they traded away their 1st round pick for Tomas Tatar at the deadline. Morozov has done nothing but impress since, playing at World Juniors, the IIHF World Championship, and multiple seasons in the KHL.

His KHL contract officially expires on April 30th, but as we’ve seen in the past with Nikita Gusev, teams can come to an agreement to terminate it early.

Morozov is currently in Las Vegas and was seen at the Henderson Silver Knights game last week chatting with VGK Director of Player Development, Wil Nichol.

He is in a similar situation with his contract as the team could choose to burn a season or simply wait until the offseason and have him locked up through 2024-25.

Brandon Kruse
5th Round Pick, 2018

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Kruse played five seasons in college including four years at Bowling Green before transferring for his graduate year to Boston College. When his season ended he quickly signed an AHL player tryout contract (PTO) with the Silver Knights. Kruse played in three games registering one point before he was released from this contract.

The Golden Knights continue to hold Kruse’s NHL rights until August 15th of this year, but it appears clear that his time with the Golden Knights organization has come to an end.

Nick Campoli
6th Round Pick, 2017

Campoli played out his college eligibility at Clarkson University. The Golden Knights hold his rights until August 15th before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Campoli has not been offered a contract with either Vegas or Henderson which indicates Vegas will likely allow his rights to expire.

Golden Knights Prospect Rankings – February 23rd, 2022

As we approach the trade deadline it’s time to reset the rankings on the Golden Knights prospect pool. A large group of players were removed for a variety of reasons which has new prospect atop the list.

The individual rankings have shifted around quite a bit since our last update, but the overall group remains similar. Vegas has a bunch of players who have a legit shot at reaching the NHL, but the number of guys who could be difference-makers is still very low.

Here’s the new list, ranking all 26 skaters and 5 goalies in the system.

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.

 

To see the rest of the SinBin.vegas Prospect Rankings, click here.

SinBin.vegas Golden Knights Prospect Rankings – August 7th

The latest edition of the SinBin.vegas Prospect Rankings is here! We’ve got a player making his first appearance in the Top 5 as well as a pair of 2021 draft picks cracking the Top 10. Here at the Top 5, click through to see all 29 skaters and six goalies.

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: Dylan Coghlan (NHL)

SKATERS

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

1) Peyton Krebs (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #17 overall
Age: 20 (January 26, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Vegas Golden Knights
Previous Ranking: #1

An unfortunate injury kept Krebs from getting his shot to star on the biggest stage in the playoffs this year. Now, he’s going to have to compete amongst a suddenly deep group of forwards to even earn a spot out of camp. His waiver exempt status will certainly play against him early in the season, but by the end of 2021 Krebs should be a mainstay in the VGK lineup.

More on Krebs
2/3/21 – Peyton Krebs is close. He’s not there yet, but he’s close. If there’s one positive that’s come out of COVID is that it’s given the Golden Knights a chance to drag Krebs along the development path. He was in the bubble in Edmonton, he was in camp with the Golden Knights, and now he has a chance to be in AHL camp and maybe even play a few games before he has to go back to the WHL. I know people want him on the roster now, but it’s not time yet. His acceleration is impressive, his vision is very good, and his ability to make the right play in tight spaces and along the walls is solid for a player of his size. I think the future is as a winger, not a center, but I think the future is bright for this kid.

4/16/20 – Krebs did everything he was supposed to since the moment he was drafted. He got himself healthy, he had a chance to practice with the NHL team for a day, and then he went back to the WHL and dominated putting up 48 assists to lead his team despite playing only 38 of the team’s 63 games. The only disappointment was that he was not selected for Team Canada at the World Juniors, but that was more due to where he was in his rehab as opposed to his skill level and worthiness to be on the team.

11/16/19 – Krebs is finally back from the Achilles injury. He skated in one practice with the Golden Knights before heading back to Winnipeg to play in the WHL. He’ll wear the “C” for the Ice and is expected to be a dominant force in the league again this year. The big test will come at the World Junior Championships in December. He’ll be one of the best players on the Team Canada roster, and coming off their disappointment last year, the pressure will be on.

7/5/19 – The Golden Knights first pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is everything and more that you can ask for out of a center prospect. He’s a 200 foot player, plays in all situations, has a high level of skill, drives the offense on his line, and has great hockey sense and compete level. Unfortunately, Krebs came to camp with an injury and wasn’t able to skate. Had he gone out and dominated camp, he would have had a real shot to have been #1 on this list due to his ceiling. Hopefully he makes it took rookie camp in September, if not, World Juniors will be his next real shot to show he’s ready. By then, Glass will probably have played in 10 games, so don’t be surprised if Krebs is atop this list the next time it is updated.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

2) Kaedan Korczak (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #41 overall
Age: 20 (January 29, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #4

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.

More on Korczak
2/3/21 – 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: SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
Previous Ranking: #2

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.

More on Morozov
2/3/21 – 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) Brendan Brisson (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #29 overall
Age: 19 (October 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: University of Michigan (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 3

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.

More on Brisson
2/3/21 – 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. 

 

5) 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

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.

More on Cormier
2/3/21 – 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.

Click through to see all 29 skaters and six goalies.

GOALIES 

1) Logan Thompson
Acquired: Signed as Free Agent on July 13, 2020
Age: 24 (February 25, 1997)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL)
Previous Ranking: 1

While Thompson still remains the clear #1 goalie in the system, VGK’s unwillingness to hand him the reigns in 2021-22 is concerning. He won the award for best goalie in the AHL and served as the backup for many games throughout the postseason, however when Vegas moved Fleury, they quickly went out and replaced him with an NHL level backup in Laurent Brossoit. Now the question is how do the Golden Knights keep him if he doesn’t get the 28 games necessary to avoid Group 6 free agency.

More on Thompson 2/3/21 – This kid has impressed me so much that I decided to change the qualifications so he could be on this list. Thompson was dynamite in both preseason games in the AHL and he’s been a nightmare to score against in every practice. He’s a very confident goalie that loves to chirp at shooters, whether in practice or in games. For the first time in VGK history, they may have a legitmate NHL goalie in waiting.

Click through to see all 29 skaters and six goalies.

SinBin.vegas Golden Knights Prospect Rankings – February 3rd, 2021

Here at SinBin.vegas we have a static page on the site called our Golden Knights Prospect Rankings. We try to update it about once every four months but the wackiness of the 2020 calendar year has thrown that for a look. We ended up going 10 months between ranking updates but the new one is finally here.

There’s a new goalie atop the list, a few newcomers to the Top 5 skaters, and all new draft picks are on the list. Here they are…

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: Xavier Bouchard (Rights Expired), Jordan Kooy (Rights Expired)

SKATERS

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

1) Peyton Krebs (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #17 overall
Age: 20 (January 26, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL) / Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Previous Ranking: #1

Peyton Krebs is close. He’s not there yet, but he’s close. If there’s one positive that’s come out of COVID is that it’s given the Golden Knights a chance to drag Krebs along the development path. He was in the bubble in Edmonton, he was in camp with the Golden Knights, and now he has a chance to be in AHL camp and maybe even play a few games before he has to go back to the WHL. I know people want him on the roster now, but it’s not time yet. His acceleration is impressive, his vision is very good, and his ability to make the right play in tight spaces and along the walls is solid for a player of his size. I think the future is as a winger, not a center, but I think the future is bight for this kid.

More on Krebs
4/16/20 – Krebs did everything he was supposed to since the moment he was drafted. He got himself healthy, he had a chance to practice with the NHL team for a day, and then he went back to the WHL and dominated putting up 48 assists to lead his team despite playing only 38 of the team’s 63 games. The only disappointment was that he was not selected for Team Canada at the World Juniors, but that was more due to where he was in his rehab as opposed to his skill level and worthiness to be on the team.

11/16/19 – Krebs is finally back from the Achilles injury. He skated in one practice with the Golden Knights before heading back to Winnipeg to play in the WHL. He’ll wear the “C” for the Ice and is expected to be a dominant force in the league again this year. The big test will come at the World Junior Championships in December. He’ll be one of the best players on the Team Canada roster, and coming off their disappointment last year, the pressure will be on.

7/5/19 – The Golden Knights first pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is everything and more that you can ask for out of a center prospect. He’s a 200 foot player, plays in all situations, has a high level of skill, drives the offense on his line, and has great hockey sense and compete level. Unfortunately, Krebs came to camp with an injury and wasn’t able to skate. Had he gone out and dominated camp, he would have had a real shot to have been #1 on this list due to his ceiling. Hopefully he makes it took rookie camp in September, if not, World Juniors will be his next real shot to show he’s ready. By then, Glass will probably have played in 10 games, so don’t be surprised if Krebs is atop this list the next time it is updated.

 

2) Ivan Morozov (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #61 overall
Age: 20 (May 5, 2000)
Most Recent Team: SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
Previous Ranking: #5

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.

More on Morozov
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.

 

3) Brendan Brisson (F)
Acquired: 2020 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #29 overall
Age: 19 (October 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Michigan University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: N/A

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)

4) Kaedan Korczak (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #41 overall
Age: 20 (January 29, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Henderson Silver Knights (AHL) / Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Previous 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.

More on Korczak
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.

 

See the rest of the rankings here.

Sending Star Prospects To World Juniors; Teams Aren’t, But They Should

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Like most things in the world nowadays, this year’s World Junior Championship is unique. Because there’s no NHL season currently taking place, many countries have access to players they would otherwise not be able to have on their rosters. Names like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Kirby Dach, Jack Hughes, and others are all eligible to play but teams are starting to hold them back.

The Golden Knights have multiple players who are expected to take part in the competition. Peyton Krebs and Kaedan Korczak seem like locks for Canada, Brendan Brisson will be on Team USA, and Marcus Kallionkieli and Lukas Cormier each could be there as well.

For Vegas, none of these players are expected to make major impacts at the NHL level, well, at least not to the level of a Hughes or Lafreniere.

But what if they did? Where would we stand?

It’s a tough decision for any NHL club, especially with the uncertainty of the upcoming season. However, with the schedule of the tournament, there’s no reason to hold these guys back from a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The World Junior tournament is slated to end on January 6th. Even those most optimistic NHL fan knows the regular season isn’t starting before then. So, these key young players would be missing the beginning of training camp and at the very least one preseason game.

In exchange, they’d be playing in competitive games on an international stage with massive expectations on their shoulders. For me, this is exactly what you want for your upcoming stars.

Personally, the benefits seem to far outweigh the drawbacks. Missing camp means very little, especially this year when many of the meetings will be conducted virtually. I’ve seen COVID used as an excuse not to send a player when really it should be an excuse to send the player. There will be no safer place than the World Junior bubble. Finally, injury fears have to be put aside considering we are expecting these guys to play 60 games in four months. If we are afraid of 10 games at the junior level, how can you expect a player to survive the rigors of an NHL season?

Highly competitive games are hard to find, especially in 2020. For guys like Lafreniere and Hughes, they may not see a game as important as the ones the kids at World Juniors will see for years.

It’s an enviable situation to be in and unfortunately, the Golden Knights are not in it. If they were, I’d be strongly in favor of sending anyone eligible, even if that player was expected to have a massive impact in the NHL.

Luckily, this poor decision by the Rangers and Devils will actually benefit the Golden Knights. Krebs and Brisson will find themselves higher up the depth chart and get more minutes.

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