We’ve discussed countless times the future of the NHL roster including free agents such as Robin Lehner, Ryan Reaves, Deryk Engelland, and others, but the look of AHL roster is a different story.
With the minor league affiliate moving to Henderson, it’s likely that we’ll all want to be a little more familiar with the everyday roster than many were when they were in Chicago. So, I decided to look at all three positions and attempt to project who will be on the AHL roster when the league starts up the 2020-21 season. Then, at the end, I take a stab at guessing the first lineup the Silver Knights roll out when they step on the ice for the first time at Orleans Arena.
(Also, since this is a projection article, I’m using the name Henderson Silver Knights. Of all projections in this article, that’s the one I’m most confident about getting right.)
Bold = Projected to be on roster
* = Signed AHL contract
Under Contract: Jonas Rondbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Lucas Elvenes, Brandon Pirri, Paul Cotter, Ben Jones, Patrick Brown, Tyrell Goulbourne
RFA: Reid Duke, Gage Quinney, Keegan Kolesar
UFA: Curtis McKenzie, Valentin Zykov, Tye McGinn*, Jermaine Loewen*
Unsigned: Jack Dugan
There aren’t too many question marks surrounding the group of forwards that will be with the Silver Knights next season. There are eight forwards under contract and most are expected to at least start the season in the AHL. Elvenes is the one that may potentially push in camp to make the NHL roster, but with the logjam of forwards currently on the Golden Knights, Elvenes’ waiver-exempt status likely means he’s wearing silver instead of gold when camp breaks. Pirri is an interesting case with the team moving to Henderson. One of the biggest benefits to the Vegas organization to Pirri was the fact that if he’s not in the NHL, he’s in Chicago, closer to his family. He has one year left on his deal, so he doesn’t have a ton of power, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he politely asks for a trade, one Vegas would likely grant.
The RFA class is an interesting one as all three have been recalled to the NHL during their time with the Wolves and Quinney and Kolesar both made NHL appearances. No reason to let any of the three of them walk. Don’t really see a place on the NHL roster for any of them straight out of camp though.
Dugan is a bit of a wild card as we would have expected a contract to have been signed by now if he were indeed ready to leave college. There’s no rush with the sports world paused, so it still could get done any day (which I expect to eventually happen), but every day that passes has to make you wonder a little more if he’s headed back to Providence. In the end, he’s a pro player, and he should be a Silver Knight next season.