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.
Jack Hughes of the Devils and Alexis Lafreniere of the Rangers, the No. 1 picks in the past two NHL Drafts, will not play in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.https://t.co/qGq2GTCP0v
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.
Everything is on the table for the NHL in their attempt to save the 2020-21 season. One idea that’s been floating would allow Vegas prospects to get some real hands-on the job type experience. When the league starts up the season, pipeline players like Jimmy Schuldt, Lucas Elvenes, and Dylan Coghlan will be around the Golden Knights roster much more than usual.
A taxi squad is a group of players that practice with the team and could be called upon to play in reserve. There’s actually an amusing story behind the origin of taxi squads.
The NHL’s idea would make it financially viable for team owners and add extra insurance if roster players contract coronavirus and are unable to compete. Major League Baseball adopted the taxi squad system this summer and it worked successfully for the league. Realistically, the extra players would be used for the worst-case scenario, a team-wide breakout. Nevertheless, the next generation of Golden Knights would be given an invaluable experience.
On 31 Thoughts podcast Friedman also touched on how taxi squads would affect the salary cap. The Golden Knights are up to their neck with limited cap space, for it to work for them and other clubs, practice players would have to be exempt from the cap. Friedman tends to believe taxi squads wouldn’t impact a team’s salary cap, which could benefit the Golden Knights.
Yes I think so. That’s why they’re talking about AHL salaries. I don’t know if that’ll be what happens but I’ve had a couple of different people tell me they’re talking about taxi squads. –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast
The reason this benefits Vegas is that they’d be able to have just 19 players on the acrive roster counting against the cap but still run a full practice. Normally, if a player isn’t on the active NHL roster (unless coming off IR), he can’t practice with the team. So, if VGK wanted to drop a player to the AHL to save cap space, he’d have to go practice in Henderson. This year, they might be able to get away with paying just 19 players against the cap all season.
There have been calls to shorten NHL training camps in years past but it sounds like it’s a given for 2020-21. It would speed up the process and help get the shortened season off the ground and on the ice by early January.
Secondly, you are not inviting 60 players to camp this year… I’ve heard talk they are going to cap it at 35. You have the players show up for camp right after Christmas and you play for January 6th. –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast
Adding reserve players is one of the easiest decisions the league needs to make. The only dilemma is if owners complain about the added payroll, albeit AHL salaries. However, in all likelihood, the taxi squad proposal will be approved and all 31 franchises will carry a substitute lineup.
Is it possible we see Peyton Krebs earlier than expected?
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.
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.
Note: This picture is NOT from today’s camp. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
The Golden Knights unveiled their roster of 18 forwards, 12 defensemen, and three goalies Saturday night.
Here’s the full roster.
Forwards: Patrick Brown, William Carrier, Nick Cousins, Reid Duke, William Karlsson, Keegan Kolesar, Peyton Krebs, Jonathan Marchessault, Tomas Nosek, Gage Quinney, Max Pacioretty, Ryan Reaves, Nicolas Roy, Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny, Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone, and Alex Tuch
Defensemen: Jake Bischoff, Dylan Coghlan, Deryk Engelland, Nicolas Hague, Nick Holden, Alec Martinez, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Nate Schmidt, Jimmy Schuldt, Shea Theodore, and Zach Whitecloud
Goaltenders: Oscar Dansk, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Robin Lehner
Vegas’ Phase 3 Training Camp roster didn’t come without a few surprises.
He was around the organization for an extended period of time in the fall as he rehabbed his injury and we were all very impressed by his professionalism. He’s an elite young player that at worst is going to get great experience. It’s a chance for Peter DeBoer to see Peyton Krebs, which he hasn’t had that opportunity. To get through the playoffs there are going to be situations where you are going to rely on your depth and we wanted to see Peyton in this setting to evaluate him further. -Kelly McCrimmon
Krebs missed Development Camp, Rookie Camp, Training Camp, and exhibition games so it would make sense to give him a chance at recovering some lost time, but according to McCrimmon the decision was made because they believe he can help this team win playoff games now. That’s definitely an exciting statement for the 17th overall pick in the 2019 Draft.
This week, according to George McPhee, 30 players are skating at City National Arena for voluntary Phase 2 workouts. With Training Camp right around the corner, that number will probably continue to increase as just about every player under contract with the Golden Knights has to be ready in case selected to the expanded playoff roster.
The Golden Knights 1st round pick in 2019 spent the majority of his time since being drafted rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon. This forced him to miss Development Camp, Rookie Camp, Training Camp, exhibition games, the start of the WHL season, and World Juniors (he participated in camp but was not selected to the team). All Krebs really got with the Golden Knights was a single practice before being shipped back to the WHL.
In other words, most of his first year of development since being drafted was lost. However, when he finally got to play for the Winnipeg Ice, he was the same electric player that made him a 1st round pick. He posted 60 points in 38 games which ranked him 3rd on the team despite playing nearly half the games of all his teammates and put up highlight real plays along the way.
With NHL rosters expanding to 28 skaters for the playoffs, it might make sense for the Golden Knights to select Krebs in an attempt to recover some of the missed development time over the past calendar year.
Vegas will enter the playoffs with a fully healthy squad with the exception of Cody Glass. As we showed in our projection, that means 13 forwards that are used to playing every night plus at least five more AHL level forwards behind them. One of Tomas Nosek, Nick Cousins, Nic Roy, William Carrier, or Ryan Reaves will have to be a healthy scratch to start the playoffs and some combination of Brandon Pirri, Patrick Brown, Valentin Zykov, Lucas Elvenes, Keegan Kolesar, Gage Quinney, and Reid Duke will be ready to step in if needed as well.
No matter which forwards the Golden Knights ultimately select, there will be at least five extras available with a strong possibility of a sixth.
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: Cody Glass (NHL), Nic Hague (NHL), Nic Roy (NHL)
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 be wearing 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.
More on Krebs
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, skates 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) Jack Dugan (F) Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #142 overall Age: 21 (March 24, 1998) Most Recent Team: Providence College (NCAA) Previous Ranking: #8
Since his terrific 2019 Development Camp, Dugan has taken his game to the next level absolutely dominating the NCAA. His 24 points in 10 games leads college hockey. Dugan recently mentioned on a podcast that he wants to “dominate” at the level he’s at before moves on. He’s doing that, and then some.
More on Dugan
7/5/19 – Maybe the most impressive player at 2019 Development Camp, Dugan appears on the path to being one of the best picks in the Golden Knights 2017 draft class. He’s absolutely everywhere in the offensive zone whether his team has the puck or not. His skating looks excellent for as large as he’s become and his ability and willingness to carry the puck seems to have come a long way. The one thing missing with Dugan is his finishing ability. It just didn’t show up much at all despite having multiple chances in Dev Camp. He’s going back to Providence this year, and it wouldn’t shock me if he’s there for a few more, but when he’s done, he’s going to be in the picture for the Golden Knights, which is awesome for a 5th round pick.
1/8/19 – The fact that Dugan dropped three spots has much more to do with what I think of the system as a whole as to what I think of Dugan. In short, I really like this kid and think he’s going to be a good player someday. The problem is that NCAA kids take forever to get to the NHL and I don’t see any difference with him. As a freshman he’s put up 22 points in 20 games at Providence so he’s continuing to produce despite the rise in competition.
9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp
7/28/18 – The leap Dugan made from the 2017 Development Camp to 2018 was tremendous. He was a scoring machine in the scrimmages both putting the puck in himself and setting up teammates. Last year he scored 66 points in 54 games with the Chicago Steel. This year he’ll be making the leap to Providence College to play in the strong Hockey East conference. Don’t expect to see Dugan in a Golden Knights uniform anytime soon, it literally might be four years away, but this is a player with a lot of upside and will likely go from relative unknown in the Golden Knights prospect system to an impactful player on NHL ice in a hurry.
3) Lucas Elvenes (F) Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #127 overall Age: 20 (August 18, 1999) Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL) Previous Ranking: #9
Another fast riser on this list, Elvenes is all the way up to #3 since he’s taken over the AHL by storm as a 20-year-old. He’s leading the Wolves, all AHL rookies, and ranks 2nd in the entire league in points with 21. Also, Elvenes leads the A in assists with 16 in 16 games. He’s a young playmaking forward that seemed to be slow to see his game translate to NHL-sized ice. No longer is that an issue as he’s scoring in every situation in the 2nd best league in the world, the AHL. He’s knocking at the door of getting a chance to show his stuff at the NHL level, but don’t expect his stay to be long if he does get that chance due to injury at some point soon.
More on Elvenes
7/5/19 – Admittedly, I’ve been all over the place on Elvenes, but the more I watch him, the more I like him. Plain and simply, he’s a playmaker and the more comfortable he is with the players he’s playing with, the more plays he makes. In Development Camp he and Dorofeyev were shredding defenses, creating scoring chances left and right. The smaller ice appears to be less and less of an issue for him and I think surrounding his with guys who can score will help him a lot. This season with the Wolves is going to be a big one for Elvenes. If he dominates, he’s going to fly up this list, if he’s just so so, he could be near the bottom soon.
1/8/19 – There is obviously an inherent bias towards guys directly after World Juniors, but I will admit, I went in with a keen eye on Elvenes looking for one thing, playmaking at even-strength. Finally, I saw it and I saw it in bunches while Sweden was still in the tournament. He looked dangerous almost every time he was on the ice and with a maligned Swedish forward group he was probably the second or third best forward on the team. Playing in the SHL appears to have him looking for the puck a bit more and becoming more active in the play. I’m still not 100% sold this is an NHL prospect, but he’s a lot closer now than I thought four months ago.
9/12/18 – Elvenes has been flying up the charts on prospect ranking charts all over the place, but not here. He moves up a bit because he showed out very well on the Golden Knights power play, but at 5-on-5 he continued to be invisible. In practice he looked like he was primed to go out and have a huge impact on the games, then he didn’t. Not even close to time to give up in him, but he’s got to figure out the even strength on the small ice.
7/28/18 – A member of Team Sweden for the second consecutive World Junior Summer Showcase, Elvenes needs to build on his last international appearance. He put up four assists and a goal in two games last year with the Swedish U20 team but his game hasn’t translated on the North American ice at Development Camp. He didn’t flash much at all during the scrimmages either year. Playing on the smaller ice may be a factor.
(Prospect Rankings update following each significant event including prospects such as Development Camp, Rookie Camp, World Juniors, etc. They can always be found on the static page listed in the navigation bar on the site.)
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.
The moment when Habs staff knew they were getting their man.
Watch the full behind-the-scenes video from the #NHLDraft in Vancouver.
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.
Nearly two hours after the start of the 2019 NHL Draft, Peyton Krebs’ family finally got to let out the massive cheer they’ve been planning for years. 18-year-old Peyton stood up, dolled out some hugs, and then he made the long trek from Section 117 to center stage at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. He hobbled down the arena stairs, limped along the draft floor, and staggered his way up onto the stage to accept his Vegas Golden Knights jersey and hat before taking a picture with his new GM and President of Hockey Operations.
Photo courtesy of NBCSN on NBCSports.com
And he did it all with a giant smile on his face.
17 days ago Peyton Krebs was participating in an on-ice training session when another player’s skate cut through his sock slicing into his Achilles tendon. Three days later Krebs was under the knife having surgery to repair the “partially torn” tendon.
A player who was previously expected to be picked in the top 10, and maybe even the top five, had gone from a high-end NHL prospect to a risky one. All because of a freak accident.
That didn’t stop the Golden Knights though, who made Krebs the fourth 1st round pick in team history and the first since Vegas’ first Entry Draft in 2017. But now, the focus really intensifies on the new prized prospect’s heel.
It’s definitely something (teams) wanted to know about, how it’s healing and everything, but I don’t think it was a huge factor. I think I went where I was supposed to and I’m going to make the most of it. -Krebs
Luckily for Krebs, all Achilles injuries are not alike. Recently, Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury during the NBA Finals, ending his postseason and leaving his availability for all of next season in jeopardy. NFL superstar cornerback Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles in November of 2017 and despite getting back on the field in 2018, most believed he returned a different player. Krebs’ injury is very different.
It’s way better to happen with a cut, or a laceration. If it gets cut clean, that means that the two ends of the tendon prior to the injury were healthy. You would assume the cut was little higher up than the typical tear because the skate protects the lowest part of the tendon, which is normally where people hurt it. -Dr. Caleb Pinegar, Crovetti Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
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
I absolutely love Krebs game. I’ve said thi all year long. He drives the bus. He’s a line driver. Think Turcotte light. #NHLDraft
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
"I wanted to go to a place where I get the shivers every time I walk in the building. So, I think Vegas will do that. I'm pretty pumped." – Krebs on his excitement to play in Vegas. #VegasBorn
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.
"Just a steady reliable guy on the back end. I’ll take guys like him every year." -NHL Scout "No real weakness and I think he's just scratching the surface. I see a lot of room to grow.” -NHL Scout
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.
Peyton Krebs is a skilled forward from the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. He’s described as a high-end playmaker and a constant difference maker and excelled despite playing for one of the worst teams in the WHL. Most consider him one of the best forwards eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
However, last week it was revealed that he tore his Achilles tendon in an offseason training session.
Mishap happened Tuesday on the ice … another player's skate blade cut through Krebs's cut-proof sock and into his Achilles tendon. Underwent surgery for partial tear Friday in Calgary. Full recovery expected, according to agent Kevin Korol. No timeline yet. https://t.co/Ih6zS4OWV1
Now, a player previously considered a top 10 caliber pick could slip down the draft boards of many teams. What was once a player the Golden Knights had almost no chance of getting ay pick 17, suddenly might be available when Vegas is on the clock on June 21st.
The question is whether George McPhee, Kelly McCrimmon, and the Golden Knights front office would be willing to take the leap of faith that he’ll recover and end up being the player he was projected to become.
The Golden Knights have only participated in two entry drafts since becoming a franchise. In the first of them, in 2017, they selected Jake Leschyshyn with the final pick of the 2nd Round. Four months prior to the selection Leschyshyn was widely considered a 1st round talent, but his season was cut short when he tore his ACL. This didn’t stop the Golden Knights from selecting him as what could be viewed as a value pick late in the 2nd Round.