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2022 Golden Knights Draft Picks: Who Are These Guys?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights did not have a 1st round pick due to the trade of Jack Eichel. They are slated to make six picks on Day 2 however with the first coming at #48. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know about each player selected by the Golden Knights in the 2021 NHL Draft.

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How Would An Early June Draft Affect The Golden Knights?

No matter when the Draft happens, it won’t look like this. (Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

The NHL is doing its best to fill the void. With the season halted since March 12th and no hockey seemingly on the horizon until July at the earliest, the league has been pushing the idea of hosting a virtual Entry Draft in early June.

Last week Bill Daly, the NHL’s Deputy Commissioner, reportedly sent a memo to all 31 teams making the case for an early Draft.

There are obviously all sorts of issues that come with holding the Draft prior to the conclusion of the season. Elliotte Friedman listed them all including the league’s proposed solutions. Here, I’m going to go through each to illustrate the effects each will have on the Golden Knights.

Using each team’s points percentage to determine the Order of Selection. (That’s under the current playoff format, so 16 teams would be out of the lottery and 15 would be in.) -Elliotte Friedman,

That would mean the Golden Knights’ 1st round pick would happen at #24. Vegas is without a 2nd round selection but hold four more selections in the 2020 Draft.

1st – #24
3rd (from NJD) – #68
3rd – #86
6th – #179
7th – #210

There’s a chance this could have negatively affected the Golden Knights a bit as Vegas was set to play out the rest of the regular season without Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. On February 12th, just one month before the league stopped, the Golden Knights were in 17th by points percentage, but 11 wins in 13 before the pause shot Vegas up the standings.

We’ll obviously never know how things would have played out, but it’s reasonable to think Vegas was at its peak when the season was postponed. Six teams were within .027 points percentage of the Golden Knights while Vegas had only one team within that range above them. So, Vegas could have reasonably fallen as low as about 15th (draft selection 17), while risen as high as 7th (draft selection 25).

However, points/points percentage only comes into play if a team busts out of the playoffs prior to the conference finals. So, if the season were to resume and the Golden Knights were to make it out of the first two rounds, their pick would have dropped to 28-31.

All in all, using points percentage as of March 12th isn’t ideal for the Golden Knights, but selecting 24th isn’t the end of the world, and if the season does resume, they’ll have the chance to make #24 look like a gift by winning at least two playoff rounds.

Changing the lottery format this season only — picking just one winner, and limiting any move-up to a maximum of four spots. -Friedman,

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What The Golden Knights Look For In A Draft Pick (Part II)

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In Part I, we identified what the Golden Knights looks for in a player, now it’s time to try and figure out which draft-eligible players in 2019 fit the mold.

In trying to identify players I had to rank what I thought was most valued by the team. Here’s the order of criteria I came up with.

  1. Most used style traits (Two-way, skilled, long-stride, strong, good vision, quickness, etc)
  2. Less frequently used style traits (All-Situations, Transition, Possession, Work-Ethic, Hands, Forecheck, etc)
  3. Skating ability
  4. Height/Weight
  5. League
  6. Age

Note: I don’t go too in-depth in describing the players because you really should buy the NHL Black Book and Draft Recrutes prospect guides, they are terrific.)

1st Round

Philip Tomasino
Forward, Niagara (OHL), 6’0″, 183 lbs

Tomasino checks almost every single box. You can’t find a preview on this kid that doesn’t include it saying that he’s a two-way player that can do it all on the ice. He’s a good skater who is terrific on the forecheck as well. He’s the right size, he plays the right position, he uses the right hand, he comes from the right league, and he’s the right age. He looks like the perfect fit for Vegas.

Alex Newhook
Forward, Victoria (BCHL), 5’10”, 195 lbs

Another player that scouts can’t make it a full paragraph without calling a two-way player. He’s often described as explosive and deceptive and his ability to put pressure on defensemen makes him a great fit in the Golden Knights system.

Likely unavailable but fit: Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs

2nd Round 

Layton Ahac
Defenseman, Prince George (BCHL), 6’2″, 188 lbs

I nearly put him in the 1st round group because he fits what the Golden Knights are looking for incredibly well. He’s an all-around defensive player who takes care of his own end and jumps into the rush whenever possible. He’s an excellent puck-handler and skates well for his size. If this guy is there three times for the Golden Knights, I’d be shocked if they pass on him.

Simon Holmstrom
Forward, HV 71 Jr. (Sweden), 6’1″, 183 lbs

Holmstrom is a player that slipped in the rankings due to injuries. The Golden Knights have shown a willingness to pick a player that drops due to injury and hope they can grab a steal. He’s the exact type of player Vegas likes though, described as a two-way player with dynamic offensive upside.

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What The Golden Knights Look For In A Draft Pick (Part I)

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have only participated in two NHL Entry Drafts to this point. They’ve selected 20 players including 10 forwards, seven defensemen, and three goalies. Vegas has signed eight of those draft picks, still hold the rights to 11, and forfeited the rights to one (Maxim Zhukov).

It’s a fairly small sample size, but a sample of 20 at least gives us some sort of idea of what types of players the Golden Knights prefer.

4 – Offensive D (Brannstrom, Campoli, Demin, Diliberatore)
4 – Skilled F (Suzuki, Elvenes, Dugan, Kruse)
3 – All-Around Center (Glass, Morozov, Cotter)
3 – Two-Way D (Hague, Corcoran, Bouchard)
3 – Defensive F (Leschyshyn, Rondbjerg, Jones)

To dig a little deeper on that, I went through what I believe to be the two best draft guides (NHL Black Book and Draft Recrutes) to come up with a list of descriptors used on Golden Knights draft picks in 2017 and 2018. I only used terms that were used to positively describe the player. I then formatted them into a “word cloud” to show exactly what Vegas likes in a draft selection.

As you can see, the most commonly used terms are Skill (14), Quickness (9), Two-Way (9), Strong (8), Shot (7), Long-Stride (7), Skating (7), and Vision (6).

These terms are for skaters only, which represent 17 of the Golden Knights 20 draft picks. Brandon Kruse was not listed in either guide, so he was skipped meaning there were 16 players counted. Thus, 14 of the 16 (88%) players were considered to have above average skill. More than half (56%) were also listed as two-way players.

Another term that was commonly seen was “All Situations.” Clearly, McPhee, McCrimmon and the Golden Knights front office like players who show out at even-strength, on the power play and who penalty kill.

Other terms that were used at least four times were Transition, Possession, Work-Ethic, Release (in terms of shot), Hands, Forecheck and Active.

One of the main points of emphasis for scouts is skating. Of the 16 players we have profiles on, seven were described as plus skaters while just two had skating considered a weakness. That also jives with what Scott Luce said before the Golden Knights inaugural Entry Draft in 2017.

You have to be able to skate, first and foremost, because you have to play at a pace that seems to get higher and higher every season. These young players are making plays at such great speed, so you have to be able to skate. You need to have the sense and feel for the game. It’s that combination of speed, skill and sense, in addition to having a willingness to compete on a nightly basis, that are important. –Scott Luce, Director of Amateur Scouting

Vegas has selected more players from the OHL than any other league, however, they’ve never selected two players from the same team.

5 – OHL
3 – Sweden
3 – USHL
2 – WHL
2 – US High School
1 – NCAA
1 – BCHL
1 – OJHL
1 – Russia

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Trades Are Coming, But When?

The Golden Knights acquired Dylan Ferguson on June 26th. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are in a bit of a roster pickle. They have too many wingers, too many defensemen, and too many prospects seemingly ready to make the leap to the NHL level. Plus, there’s not a ton of wiggle room in the salary cap department.

All of it adds up to a high probability of a trade coming in the near future. Who that may be? Let’s cast that to the side for this article. Instead, let’s try to figure out when it might happen.

According to, since 2010, a total of 250 trades made between April 30th and July 6th*. 106 of the 250, or 42%, happened during the two days of NHL Draft. That’s an overwhelming number as no other pair of days registers even 15% of total trades.

Only 63, or 25%, happened in the months leading up to the Draft, and just 34, or 14% happened in the days between the Draft and free agency beginning on July 1.

Here’s a full breakdown of when all trades occurred over the past nine years.

*In 2013 the Draft was on June 30th, so there is no time in between the Draft and free agency. We have extended the post draft date to July 10th for that year only*

April to Draft Day – 63
Draft Day – 106
Post Draft – 34
July 1 to 6th* – 47

2018 (June 22, 23) <—NHL Draft Date
April to Draft Day – 7
Draft Day – 2
Post Draft – 6
July 1 to 6th – 2

2017 (June 23, 24)
May to Draft Day – 9
Draft Day – 6
Post Draft – 4
July 1 to 6th – 7

2016 (June 24, 25)
May to Draft Day – 10
Draft Day – 13
Post Draft – 3
July 1 to 6th – 1

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Bathroom Bill Could Force NHL Draft Out Of Dallas, You Know Where It Should Go

The controversial “bathroom bill” in the Texas Legislature has a chance to cross over into the world of the NHL if passed later this month. The bill, which requires people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in schools and public buildings, is viewed by many as homophobic and discriminatory.

In the event it’s passed into law, the NHL could decide to pull the 2018 Entry Draft from American Airlines Arena in Dallas.

We strongly oppose the bill in its original form. We hope and expect that bill in that form will not be passed into law. We would obviously have to reassess the situation in the event that happens. –Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner

If the bill is passed, and the NHL Draft is forced out of Dallas, Vegas would likely be a leading candidate as its replacement.

Every year for the past nine years the NHL has held the annual Awards show in Vegas, including this past year which coincided with the Expansion Draft. That event usually occurs two days prior to the first round of the Entry Draft.

This is complete speculation, but Vegas makes perfect sense not just as a replacement for the NHL Draft in the event it needs to be pulled from Dallas this year, but for every year in the future. Having the two events back to back in the same location will increase coverage nationally and internationally of both events and likely bring in more revenue. Plus, there’s simply no easier place to hold an event like the draft than Vegas when it comes to lodging, transportation, and logistics.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen this year, in fact, I’m rooting against it, cause that bathroom bill is a joke, but eventually, the NHL Draft is going to come to Vegas, and when it does, it’s never going to leave.

Where Were The Golden Knights Expansion Picks Selected In The Entry Draft

The Golden Knights made 11 selections in their first NHL Entry Draft in Chicago, including Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Erik Brannstrom, who became the first 1st round picks in franchise history. The draft a few days prior, which netted the majority of the Golden Knights inaugural franchise, brought in seven 1st round picks as well.

The Expansion Draft is usually, and understandably, viewed through the lens of “where did he come from” not “when was he picked.” Here’s a look at when each player was drafted to see how the team looks from an Entry Draft perspective. (Individual player list at bottom)

20176, 13, 1534, 626596127, 142158, 161189, 194
20124, 29x89x151x185, 202
2011x31, 5366xxxx
2010x38, 49, 57x111xxx
2009xx66, 69, 85xxx182

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Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, And Erik Brannstrom In First Round

Despite all the rumors of the Golden Knights moving up in the Entry Draft, they decided to stand pat and make picks at #6, #13, and #15.

Their first pick was Cody Glass. Glass is a center from the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL.

Glass is one of the premiere playmakers in this draft thanks to his puck-protection skills, elite vision and soft hands. What makes him even more valuable is his great all-around game at such a tender age – he anticipates and reads the play well at both ends and does a tremendous job cutting o the middle of the ice.

No surprise the first pick in team history is from the WHL, the league assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon has been a coach, owner, and GM in for the last decade or so. Most mock drafts had Glass going in the top five, before Vegas, so this certainly appeared to be a steal for McPhee and Co.

Read More Entry Draft Live Blog

The Golden Knights have three picks in the top 15 in their first ever NHL Entry Draft. Ken is in Chicago at the Draft, Jason is at T-Mobile Arena at the Draft Party, and we’d like to officially announce our SinBin.chicago reporter, Brian Idziak, who is with Ken at the Draft. We’ll be covering the event all night tonight for Round 1, and will fire it back up tomorrow for Rounds 2 through 7.

High Skill AND High Character

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Next week when the Penguins and Predators compete for the best trophy in sports, the next generation will be preparing for Stanley Cup dreams of their own. 18-year-olds from around the globe will be in Buffalo for the NHL Draft Combine lifting weights, long-jumping, and doing extreme cardio tests like the Wingate and VO2. Golden Knights GM George McPhee and Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce will be in attendance looking for the sixth overall pick.

It’s a brand-new process for all the scouts on board, and you’re looking at [the] best available that could deliver the best asset possible to the organization. Whether that’s a forward, defenseman or a goalie may vary with each selection. We’ll look at the best asset at that draft slot. That’s what you’re looking to add. -Scott Luce, Vegas Amateur Scouting Director to

Luce continued to open up their process to fans and described the perfect candidate. The Golden Knights are looking for prospects with talent, determination and high hockey IQ. Most importantly, Vegas is specifically targeting players with elite skating skills, but it seems like Vegas wont be drafting players on ability only.

We want high-character, low-maintenance type players. It’ll be a good learning curve for the entire staff going to the combine and representing our organization. -Luce

Ah ha. There it is, the key word, high-character. Look across the NHL, successful teams of course have stars, but are full of impact role players. For example, Chris Kunitz went 35 games without a goal before his superb two-goal game seven. The owner of three Stanley Cup rings has dropped major minutes from his second and third Cup. However, a role player like Kunitz impacts the team through his professionalism and leadership. There are countless “character players” in the league that add much more than points. McPhee and Luce will scout for those prospects over a basket of Wild Wings.

We’re going to try and ascertain best practices we’ve used in other various organizations, so I think this year will be a great learning experience for us as a staff. But we want to come out of there with a comfort level with the young players knowing that they have what it takes to be a Vegas Golden Knight. -Luce

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