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2023 Golden Knights Draft Picks: Who Are These Guys?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights selected David Edstrom with the 32nd overall pick in the 1st round. They are slated to make four picks on Day 2 with the first coming in the 3rd round at #77. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know about each player selected by the Golden Knights in the 2023 NHL Draft.

3rd Round – #77 (from BUF)
Selection: Mathieu Cataford (F) – Halifax (QMJHL)

An average-sized two-way forward who can play center or wing. Cataford’s biggest strength is how he thinks the game as he’s not the fastest or most skilled forward but knows how to be in the right spots to be a complementary player.

Has a good shot and also knows how to score in tight. Just an overall solid player with every tool in the bag but without any truly wowing qualities.

Posted 75 points on 31 goals and 44 assists in the QMJHL last season.

There are a lot of different layers to Cataford; he can do just about everything to a decent level. There’s no real weakness to him, but also nothing high-end in terms of skill level. If we look at how he scores his goals, yes, he can score from in-tight, but he can also score from distance and from the bumper role on the power play. This demonstrates his potential diversity as a goal-scorer at the next level. He’s an offensive dual-threat with both his shooting and passing skills in addition to playing on the inside (he’s not a perimeter player). He’s physically involved along the boards and has a solid compete level in all three zones. His play away from the puck is also quite advanced, his effort level on backcheck is solid, and he anticipates plays well in the neutral zone with great ability. His great stick activations to block passes and passing lanes make him useful on the PK, and he can sacrifice his body to block shots as well. -NHL Draft Black Book

3rd Round – #96
Selection: Arttu Karki (D) – Tappara (Finland)

Karki is an offensive-minded defenseman who is spectacular on the power play.

Won the Finnish league and was the 2nd leading goal scorer of all defensemen.

His best asset: his hands. He can beat players one-on-one and can get himself out of trouble deep in his zone by displaying his high level of puck handling to escape pressure. He’s very cool under pressure when retrieving pucks, demonstrating a high level of confidence with the puck on his stick. A beast on the power play (in Finland’s junior league, anyway) he has a big-time point shot he uses to one-time pucks effectively. He scored many goals off one-timers in a stationary position, often from the faceoff circle on the right side of the ice. However, he does need to incorporate more deception skills when he uses it, as he’s a bit of a one-trick pony right now. He needs to add more fakes, use off looks and hesitation fakes more often, and incorporate more movement at the line. -NHL Draft Black Book

Offensive-minded defender who controls the offensive blue line with poise. Shows good mobility but needs to improve his overall pace of play in order to maximize his potential as an effective NHL puck mover. –DobberProspects.com

6th Round – #192 Overall
Selection: Toumas Uronen (F) – HIFK (Finland)

A speedy winger, Uronen has shown the ability to score and set up teammates playing in the junior league in Finland. Scored 43 points in 39 games while adding 42 penalty minutes.

He’s a bit small for the rigors of the NHL game though. He’ll have to bulk up while maintaining his speed if he’s going to make it in North America.

He will additionally use his speed in the offensive zone to force defenders to rush their breakouts and cut off passing lanes. He can be a creative player with accurate saucer passes and good vision from the outside but the play is rolling in the offensive zone he tends to stay more on the perimeter as opposed to heading to the net like he does on the rush. He gets off his shot quickly and evades shot blocking defenders but needs to lean into his shot on his front foot as opposed to his back foot. -NHL Draft Black Book

**Trade – VGK trade #224 to CBJ for a 2024 7th round pick*


(Huge shout out to both the NHL Black Book and Draft Recrutes. Both guides are spectacular and are must-buys for anyone who loves the NHL Draft. I’ve bought both every year the site has been around.)

2022 Golden Knights Draft Picks: Who Are These Guys?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas 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, SinBin.vegas)

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, TSN.ca

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, TSN.ca

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

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas 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: SinBin.vegas 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 – QMJHL
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: SinBin.vegas 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 NHLTradeTracker.com, 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*

Total
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.

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