All eyes tend to be focused on the Expansion Draft, and for good reason, but there’s another draft two days later that will probably be more influential on the long term success of the Golden Knights.
The NHL Entry Draft on June 23rd and 24th in Chicago will be crucial for George McPhee and his staff if they want to stay on track of The Creator’s “playoffs in three, Cup in six” mantra.
Vegas slipped to 6th overall in the first round, but still maintain the 3rd selection in all subsequent rounds. Plus, with the Expansion Draft before the Entry Draft, it’s almost a guarantee the Golden Knights will be on the clock more than just the seven times they are slated for today.
With the benefit of being able to watch players throughout the entire season and the knowledge of knowing the Golden Knights will pick among the top six, Vegas scouts should have a pretty good idea what type of player they are looking to make the first draft selection in franchise history.
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
Seems obvious, until you take a look at some of the flaws of a few of the top prospects in this year’s Entry Draft.
Gabe Vilardi (C), the Memorial Cup starlet from the Windsor Spitfires, who The Hockey News has ranked as the 3rd overall, admittedly needs to improve his skating.