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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)

Draft1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
20176, 13, 1534, 626596127, 142158, 161189, 194
2016xxxxxxx
2015xx69xxxx
201418xxxx168x
20132657xxxxx
20124, 29x89x151x185, 202
2011x31, 5366xxxx
2010x38, 49, 57x111xxx
2009xx66, 69, 85xxx182
200819xxxxxx
200726xxxxxx
2005x33xxxxx
2004xx79xxxx
20031xxxxxx
2000xxxxx194x

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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. -DraftRecrutes.ca

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.

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SinBin.vegas 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

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 NHL.com

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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McPhee Calls Entry Draft Weak, Then Says He Doesn’t Call Drafts Weak

GM George McPhee made his first Vegas radio appearance since the lottery debacle on ESPN 1100 this afternoon (interview here, begins at 28:00). McPhee joked with Ed Graney and Mike Pritchard that after he found out the results, he was happy he got stuck in Washington. Stanley the Rooster still believes his presence could have helped the situation. But I digress.

When talking about the draft, McPhee mentioned once again how much of an advantage the Golden Knights have had in knowing they would be selecting the top six from the beginning of the season. In the same answer he then went on to divulge some information we’ve discussed many times, but never thought we’d actually hear from McPhee’s mouth.

With this particular draft there are a couple of players at one and two that I think are a lot better than the next layer of players. You can get the same player at 3 at 6 at 9 so I’m not worried about getting a good player because there are enough them there that we’ll be fine. -George McPhee

Essentially he said, Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are good, and the rest of the players a cut below. However, while most scouts around the continent believe Nico and Nolan are good, no one is ready to compare them to the McDavids, Matthews, and Eichels of the world. So, in agreeing, McPhee basically said the draft is not as strong at the top as in recent year’s past.

A few minutes later, McPhee went on to say he doesn’t calls drafts weak or strong.

I’ve tried to approach every draft in the same way, some people say certain drafts are strong drafts, certain drafts are weak drafts, and I’ve never ever looked at it that way because if you go into what is supposed to be a weak draft and come up with two or three good players then it wasn’t a weak draft. I believe this is where good drafting teams really make their hay. If you go into what’s supposed to be a strong draft, seems like everybody gets good players. When you go into a weak drafts, the good scouting departments come up with the players and create separation between teams. -McPhee

And then there’s me listening to all of what McPhee said thinking, well yeah that’s all accurate. So, let’s try and recap.

The lottery sucked so much it was worth not being at. It’s disappointing the lottery sucked because those top two guys are good. Not that good, but pretty good. After them though, it’s not as good. There’s a big mess of players that are all very similar. We have to now pick from that mess. But this draft isn’t weak because if you pick the good players then you got some good players and the draft can’t be weak if you got multiple good players.

Yup, that all makes sense to me.

McPhee’s Lottery Luck

This Saturday the Golden Knights will have a 10.3% chance to win the NHL Draft Lottery and be awarded the first selection in June’s Entry Draft. It’s the first time Vegas will participate in an NHL “competition” against the Original 30, and while we have no clue what kind luck the new franchise will have, we can only hope GM George McPhee’s luck carries over.

McPhee has been a general manger in the NHL for 17 years, six of which is Capitals missed the playoffs and were in the lottery.

YearFinish (to last)Lottery OddsPick NumberDraft Selection
19995th8.1%*7thKris Beech
200212th0%12thSteve Eminger
20043rd14.2%1stAlex Ovechkin
20064th10.7%4thNicklas Backstrom
20074th10.7%5thKarl Alzner
201414th0.5%13thJakub Vrana

*In 1999 the Thrashers joined the league. The Internet struggled back then, so finding exact odds was tough. If anyone finds them, let me know

Hopefully McPhee is partying like it’s 2004. With just a few percentage points more than the Golden Knights will have this year, McPhee hit the lottery and jumped up to get Ovi. 

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Nolan Patrick Draft Stock Continues To Slip

Months ago Brandon Wheat Kings star prospect Nolan Patrick was the near consensus first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. Through a season of injuries and a fantastic campaign by the Swiss standout, Nico Hischier is starting to find his way to the top of draft boards.

So what do you do if you have the first pick overall this summer? Patrick’s two-way game and 6-foot-3 frame seemed to make him a safe top pick before the injuries, but Hischier’s hockey IQ and elite offensive skills make him look like another Jonathan Drouin. For me, it’s Hischier right now – and he certainly had to earn the distinction. -Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

Hischier has been stupendous all season long and has continued his excellent run during the QJHML playoffs. Meanwhile, Patrick has been out much of the season and missed the Wheaties playoff series in which they were swept.

Here’s the good news, the Golden Knights didn’t need the 2016-17 season to know who Nolan Patrick is. While many teams were set to take advantage of another pre-draft eligible season for Patrick (he missed the cutoff by four days last year), they weren’t afforded a wealth of ice time due to Patrick’s nagging injuries. The Golden Knights on the other hand have Kelly McCrimmon on their staff. The current owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings and the former coach and GM of Patrick through his first three years in Manitoba.

Of course the lottery balls still have to have their say (still no official date on the lottery yet), but it’s likely that if McCrimmon believes Patrick is the next Anze Kopitar, he and McPhee will do what it takes to make him a Golden Knight. Therefore, the injuries, the rise of Hischier, and the lack of minutes from Patrick could in fact be a blessing in disguise for Vegas.

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