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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.

VGK And The 2021 World Junior Championships

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the NHL’s next season, there is meaningful hockey on the horizon. The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship starts on Christmas Day and multiple Golden Knights prospects will be there participating.

The tournament is scheduled to be played inside the Edmonton bubble from December 25th to January 5th.

The Golden Knights have five players with a chance at participating.

Peyton Krebs
Canada

Krebs participated in camp with Team Canada ahead of last year’s World Juniors. Having just returned from his Achilles injury Krebs was left off the final roster that ultimately went on to win the gold medal. This year, Krebs will be a focal point to the Canadian roster, likely centering one of its top two lines.

Team Canada will be stacked this year with a host of 1st round picks that will include the 2nd overall pick in this past Draft, Quinton Byfield, and may even include the #1 selection, Alexis Lafreniere as well.

No matter how it all shakes out though, this will be Golden Knights fans first chance to see the most important prospect in the VGK system play meaningful high-level competition.

Kaedan Korczak
Canada

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It would be a surprise if Korczak misses out on the final roster but his role on the team is very much in question. There are six 1st round pick defensemen that have been selected to the initial 46-man Team Canada roster. But, only two, Bowen Byram and Thomas Harley, were selected in the 2019 Draft with Korczak.

Being older and right-handed will likely give Korczak a leg up but these are still tough waters to navigate to get significant playing time on a roster brimming with talent.

Hopefully, for the Golden Knights sake, he has a strong camp in November and the claims a spot for the important group stage games in late December.

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2019 Draft Pick Kaedan Korczak Feeling Confident Heading Into Camp

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Young defensive prospect Kaedan Korczak was one of the top performers from last weekend’s Rookie Showcase in Irvine. The defenseman played against other prospects that were three, four, even five-years older, and it was an eye-opening experience for the 18-year-old.

I got my first taste of pro hockey. First game I felt pretty comfortable. Ten minutes in, I kind of got my feet wet and felt it out. -Korczak

The Golden Knights’ 2019 2nd round draft pick had no problem keeping up with the “pros” and felt confident on the ice among other, more mature prospects.

Once I got comfortable I began to add layers to my game. Overall, I felt pretty good.-Korczak

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Korczak was happy to get in some action at the rookie tournament, but he’s mostly looking forward to Golden Knights training camp. Where he’ll get to skate with NHL veterans.

His plan is to soak it all in, observe how Golden Knights players build a routine to maximize their skill level.

How they handle themselves away from the rink. The small habits that aren’t seen by anyone. Putting in extra time in the gym, stuff like that.-Korczak

 

Nate Schmidt told us last season eating right and getting plenty of sleep was a key to be successful in the NHL. Korczak quickly found that to be the case for himself and his peers.

Very, very important. I learned that too since I’ve been here. All of the guys are in their rooms by 9-9:30p. We’re all getting our rest and come prepared ready to go.-Korczak

It’ll be interesting to watch Korczak compete in camp against, and with established NHL players. With his size, skill, and maturity it’s possible the youngster will develop quickly enough to skate for Vegas in a few seasons.

After he’s “overcooked” of course.

Canadiens Tweet Indicates Golden Knights Offered 3rd Round Pick To Move Up In 1st Round

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the Golden Knights selected Peyton Krebs at #17 in the 2019 NHL Draft, they had to sit and wait. They watched names like Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, and Kirby Dach be selected by other NHL teams as the clock ticked closer and closer to the Golden Knights turn.

However, thanks to a little behind the scenes video tweeted out by the Montreal Canadiens, we now know that the Golden Knights weren’t just sitting on their hands waiting. The video shows Canadiens GM, Marc Bergevin, picking up the phone while Montreal was on the clock.

Hello. Yeah. What are you offering? Hold on. (sets phone down to speak to staff) 3rd round pick to move two spots. (Staff member shakes head and says “No.”) No, we’re picking. -Marc Bergevin

Here’s the video so you can see it yourself.

On the other side of the phone was almost certainly George McPhee (or Kelly McCrimmon or someone else on the Golden Knights staff). We can only speculate this because the Golden Knights were the team that held the pick “two spots” from the Canadiens.

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2019 Golden Knights Draft Picks: Who Are These Guys?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights entered with nine picks in the 2019 Draft. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know about each player selected by the Golden Knights in the 2019 NHL Draft.

1st Round – #17 Overall
Selection: Peyton Krebs (C) – Kootenay Ice (WHL)

Krebs is an elite talent who tore his Achilles tendon in early June. He was projected as a potential top-five pick but fell all the way to #17. Krebs is a 200-foot player that is a playmaker and described as a “constant difference maker.” He’s a two-way center who played on one of the worst teams in the WHL, yet he still put up 86 points.

Krebs is an excellent passer who has terrific vision as well. He’s a high-end skater who has very good speed and good burst. He’s also described as a player with excellent creativity.

Krebs was the captain of his WHL team the Kootenay Ice. He was also the captain of the Team Canada U18 team. Krebs led both teams in points.

Vegas was one of the meetings that I came out of and I felt really good about. They felt like family from the get go and so happy to be picked by them. -Krebs

 He’s a very mature kid. He does everything possible off ice to make himself better. He goes full out effort all the time on the ice. He’s skilled, he can skate, he can make so many plays. I expect him to be an explosive top-six forward in the NHL. –James Patrick, Winnipeg Ice coach to The Athletic

**TRADE**
Vegas acquires pick #41 for #48 and #82

2nd Round – #41 Overall (from SJS)
Selection: Kaedan Korczak (D) – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

A well-rounded defenseman who skates well for his size. He’s steady in all areas and is considered one of the best defensive defenseman available in this Draft. He’s a 6’3″ right-handed defenseman who is very strong physically.

The Golden Knights traded up, ahead of Minnesota and Chicago to select Korczak forfeiting one of their 3rd round picks to make the deal happen.

3rd Round – #79 Overall
Selection: Pavel Dorofeyev (F) – Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia)

Dorofeyev is a skilled forward with a deadly shot. He is said to be very calm with the puck and has the ability to create time and space while holding the puck. He has a sneaky release on his shot which can be deceptive to many goalies.

He’s listed at 167 pounds, becoming the lightest forward the Golden Knights have ever selected.

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