It was a weekend to forget from a team perspective for the Golden Knights at the 2023 Rookie Faceoff hosted here in Las Vegas. VGK rookies lost all three games to the Ducks, Sharks, and Avalanche, and struggled on both ends in all three games.
That being said, it wasn’t all bad individually for many prospects. Here are four that stood out positively for me.
Ahac did his best Alex Martinez impression in the two games he played this weekend, blocking shots, dominating on the penalty kill, and being one of the most consistent defensemen on the roster in making the first pass in the defensive zone. In a pair of games where the Golden Knights were consistently under pressure, he looked calm in his own end and his decision-making stood out among a group that had a hard time breaking the puck out. He’ll still need to show a lot at the AHL level to get a shot in the NHL, but he’s trending in a positive direction.
Next week, hockey is back. Well, at least some hockey is back. Golden Knights youngsters will participate in three Rookie Faceoff games against the Ducks, Sharks, and Avalanche. The first two games will be played at the Dollar Loan Center while the third will be at City National Arena.
The Golden Knights will bring a 28-man roster to the competition including 17 forwards, eight defensemen, and three goalies. Many of the names on the roster will be familiar to VGK fans. 17 of the 28 are players who were drafted by the Golden Knights. 1st round pick Brendan Brisson highlights the group including 2nd round picks Matyas Sapovaliv and Daniil Chayka and 3rd round selections Mathieu Cataford, Arttu Karki, Jordan Gustafson, and Lukas Cormier.
There are also six players who are familiar to the Golden Knights’ system. Daniel D’Amato and Jordan Papirny played for the Silver Knights last season and Jett Jones played a few games with the Ghost Pirates. Alex Swetlikoff, Joe Fleming, and Christoffer Sedoff have all signed contracts with the organization prior to this summer and are all expected to play in Henderson and/or Savannah this season.
That leaves a group of five players who have either recently signed with the Silver Knights or are looking for a contract.
Despite the familiar name, Cheveldayoff is not the son of Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. A power forward, Cheveldayoff posted career highs in goals (20) and assists (23) with the Spokane Chiefs last season. Unsurprisingly, he likes to go to the front of the net and use his size to outmuscle smaller defensemen. Also, Cheveldayoff is not afraid to drop the mitts, engaging in nine fights in his last two seasons in the WHL.
A worker bee on the ice, Fromm-Delorme went undrafted after playing five seasons with the Portland Winterhawks. He wasn’t much of a point producer until the most recent season in the WHL where he posted 33 goals and 34 assists in 65 games. 21-year-old Fromm-Delorme attended Development Camp this summer and looked like one of the more mature players on the ice. He likely won’t wow you with skill, but he’s a good solid player who could easily be a professional.
In the 2020 NHL Draft, Hughes was selected by the Washington Capitals in the 5th round. His draft rights expired in 2022 without an NHL contract but he picked up an AHL contract with Washington’s affiliate the Hershey Bears. Hughes never played in the AHL, instead spending the entire season in the ECHL where he scored 59 points in 66 games. He played his junior hockey for former HSK head coach Manny Viveiros and the Spokane Chiefs. He’s a hardworking two-way forward that is willing and able to compete and succeed in front of the net. Hughes signed a two-year contract with the Silver Knights on July 7th, 2023.
Fabrizi is a massive defenseman standing 6’5” and nearly 240 pounds (for comparison, Nic Hague is 6’6” 230). The 18-year-old went undrafted in the msot recent draft after scoring 12 points in 67 games for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. Fabrizi plays exactly how you’d expect man of his stature to play. He’s incredibly strong in front of the net, can lay a crunching hit if given the chance, and is always willing to rip shots from the point in the offensive zone. Like many big guys though, skating can be a bit of an issue. Attended Vegas Development Camp this summer.
After attending Golden Knights Development Camp, Pinard signed a two-year AHL contract with the Silver Knights on July 14th. Pinard played four seasons in the QMJHL scoring a boatload of points (195 in 214 games) before heading to the University of New Brunswick. He won the AUS Championship and USports University Cup where he was a point per game player in the regular season and upped his production to 12 points in seven games in the playoffs. A shoot-first style player he’s fast and physical despite being a bit on the smaller side. He also has a bit of grit to his game, often trying to stir the pot with opponents.
VGK vs SEA (10/10/23) VGK -165 SEA +140 O/U 6 (O -125)
VGK at SJS (10/12/23) VGK -235 SJS +192 O/U 6.5 (U -120)
VGK vs ANA (10/14/23) VGK -350 ANA +275 O/U 6.5 (U -115)