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What I Learned About 11 Golden Knights Prospects While In San Diego

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the past weekend, I spent four days in San Diego watching the Chicago Wolves play three games in the Western Conference Final of the AHL’s Calder Cup. My focus was specifically on the Golden Knights draft picks and the players Vegas has under control for beyond this season.

To make this easiest to write, and hopefully to read, I’ve listed every player that either played or I was able to talk to while in San Diego, that has time left on their contract with VGK or are RFAs.

Cincinnati Cincinnati Jersey Bengals Jersey Bengals Cody Glass (1st Round, 6th overall in 2017, $863,333 AAV through 21-22)

Anyone who reads/follows me closely knows I haven’t been as high on Glass as the rest of the world seems to be. I’ve come to the realization that the reason for this isn’t because I necessarily view him as a player much differently than most, but that my expectations are substantially higher. As the 6th overall pick in a draft class that includes Elias Petterson, Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar, Nico Hischier, and many others that have already had major impacts in the NHL, my expectation for Glass is massive. Top-six forward, impact player, one of the faces of the franchise. That’s what I’m looking for, and still, even though the next paragraph is going to make it sound otherwise, I’m not sure he’s going to be that guy.

Glass literally does everything on the hockey rink that you want to see from a center. The skill that jumped out most to me over the three games was his backchecking and breakouts. Every time his line turned it over in the offensive zone, he was flying back to negate any transition chance. His skating speed really showed in that sense, but also showed once the Wolves recovered the puck and began their transition back into the offensive zone. He’s terrific carrying the puck out of the D-zone, through the neutral zone, and into the O-zone. I’ve seen him do it with ease at the CHL level, but to see it look exactly the same at the AHL level gives me a strong belief that it’ll continue in the NHL.

I liked how he played along the walls, I loved his vision, his positioning, his movement in the offensive zone. Pretty much everything he did, I thought, yep, this guy is pretty darn good. But still, over the course of three games, there wasn’t enough shown in his ability to create offense. It’s the only thing I can knock him for, but at the same time, it’s the thing I value most in a high draft pick forward. Aside from the occasional chance created directly off an entry (which I do believe will continue in the NHL), there wasn’t a ton created beyond rebound chances. Again, I’m aware that my expectations are gigantic, and I’m asking a lot out of him having played a month in the AHL, but I still didn’t see enough of what I needed to in order to completely change my mind and say he’s going to be a superstar in the NHL.

Cody Glass is going to be an NHL player, and I’m probably going to be on the bandwagon calling for him to make the roster out of camp, but I’m still on the fence of whether I think he’s closer to a Cody Eakin or a William Karlsson. When all is said and done I’m confident he’ll fall somewhere in between these two, however, my opinion still shades more towards 21 than 71.

Nic Hauge (2nd Round, 34th overall in 2017, $791,667 AAV through 21-22)

I came into the weekend expecting to come out saying Hague is the surefire #1 defensive prospect in the Golden Knights system. That’s not what I ended up seeing. That’s not to say Hague was bad, because he certainly wasn’t, it’s just that the fears I had, which I’ve been told by multiple high-ranking people that I shouldn’t have, didn’t go away.

The biggest among those is whether or not his skating is good enough to keep up with the elite skaters at the NHL level. The place it showed up most was in gap control. When a player would enter the zone, sometimes not even moving that quickly, far too often Hague would be more than a stick length away from him (which is a long way with his long arms and stick). Then, once he did enter, it took too long to close down that space which often led to an easy pass or on multiple occasions a dangerous shot. It’s important to note that I watched him play against the same team, on the road, three times, so there could be a gameplan piece here that I’m missing (and when speaking to Rocky Thompson about Hague he didn’t seem to have any issues with the way he was defending). However, that style won’t work in the NHL and his recovery plan (reaching out with that long stick and poking pucks away) won’t work as often against Nathan MacKinnon as it did Corey Tropp or Sam Carrick.

I still love Hague in the offensive zone and on the power play though. His instincts at the blue line are tremendous and he’s going to be a threat to do some damage when he does eventually make it to the NHL. Really looking forward to watching him play in the preseason against NHL level forwards, but at this moment, he no longer ranks as the “most likely defenseman to make the NHL roster in the Golden Knight system” on my list.

Zack Whitecloud (Undrafted, Signed as free agent, $925,000 AAV through 2019-20)

Read More Podcast Special: On A San Diego Beach w/ Jesse Granger

Literally sitting on the shores of the San Diego Bay, Ken is joined by Jesse Granger of The Athletic to talk about the Wolves, Vegas prospects, and plenty about what the Golden Knights might look like in 2019-20.

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League MVP, 30 Goal Scorer, Double OT Hero… And Frustrated – The Story Of Daniel Carr’s 2018-19 Season

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Daniel Carr signed with the Vegas Golden Knights he probably dreamed of scoring a game-winning goal in double overtime of the Western Conference Final. The setting of that dream was T-Mobile Arena, not at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.

I got a lot of opportunity in Chicago, I played a lot of minutes and had the puck a lot, but at the same time, it was a little frustrating being back in the American League basically all year. -Daniel Carr

Carr has played 100 career NHL games. He’s scored 15 goals, tallied 35 points, and has been in the NHL for significant portions of each of the last three seasons.

On July 1st, 2018, he signed a one-way, one-year, deal at just over the league minimum in Vegas because he thought it was a roster he had a good chance to crack. Heck, we even published a story here on comparing him to many of the “misfits” of Golden Knights past.

However, it didn’t turn out that way.  Despite doing some good things in camp and preseason, Carr was beaten out by Tomas Nosek, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Carpenter, and William Carrier, and an empty roster spot as the Golden Knights only carried 22 players until the fifth game of the season… when they called up Tomas Hyka.

But unlike me or probably you, Carr didn’t pull a Shipachyov and pout. Instead, he went down to the AHL and turned in an incredible season. He put up 71 points (30g, 41a) in 52 games, made the All-Star team, led the Wolves to the Central Division title, and was eventually named AHL MVP.

He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. In practice, in the gym, he’s a competitor. -Rocky Thompson

If you sit there and feel sorry for yourself, nobody else does, there’s no point to it. It’s just kind of the way it is. -Carr

To make matters worse, Carr was the second player from the AHL to get his shot on the Golden Knights. He came up to replace Hyka, played in six games and scored a goal. He was sent back to Chicago not because of poor play, but because Max Pacioretty returned from injury. When the next chance came for a player to be called up, it wasn’t Carr, instead, it was Brandon Pirri, and you know the rest of that story.

You know Pirri did a really good job when he got up there and got a really good opportunity playing with Stastny and Tuch, it’s a different hockey game when you are playing like that. Brandon is a finisher and he’s really really good at it, what else can you say. He played with those guys and he got opportunities to score and he finished them. -Carr

When you get called up you’ve got to produce or what happened to me happens. I got called up, we played well while I was there, for the 3rd line in Vegas it was one of the few times where they were consistently plus, but if you don’t produce you don’t stay and I’ve seen that and learned that. That was the frustrating thing for me when I was up there. We were playing well but we weren’t scoring. -Carr

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Engelland: “My Goal Is To Play At Least Another Couple Of Years”

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Deryk Engelland isn’t ready to call it a career in the NHL. After playing 79 and 74 games (plus 27 playoff games) the last two years, the 37-year-old thinks he has at least one more year left in him.

My goal is to play at least another couple of years. As far as how many years we’ll just take it one at a time right now. -Deryk Engelland on The Press Box with Ed and Clay

Engelland spoke to Ed Graney and Clay Baker on The Press Box on ESPN Radio 1100 (listen to the whole interview here) this morning and made it abundantly clear that he not only doesn’t want to be done in the NHL, but he doesn’t want to be done in Vegas either.

Waking up at an older age isn’t always the best feeling, but you still love the game, loving playing it, love being around the guys and there’s no better place to play it than here Vegas so hopefully that all works out.

I did what I can do this season, and now it’s just up to them. I’ll just sit back, see what we hear from them and go from there. -Engelland on The Press Box with Ed and Clay

It’s up to the Golden Knights to decide if they want to keep Engelland moving forward. However, every indication they’ve ever given points to the two parties reuniting for at least 2019-20 season.

Engelland remains one of the best penalty killers on the team, one of the two right-handed defensemen on the roster (Colin Miller being the other), and a clear leader both on and off the ice. Plus, the head coach has used him every time he’s been healthy both years.

If it were to be listed on the William Hill Mobile Sports App, Deryk Engelland to be a Golden Knight in 2019-20 would be a massive favorite.

How’s -1500 sound?

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Rocky Thompson’s Fearless Attitude Toward Pulling The Goalie2019 On Jersey Sale Vikings Discount Mlb Bridgewater Jerseys Baseball

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Chicago Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson is known as a cerebral manager of the game. However, sometimes smart and risky are considered synonyms in the game of hockey.

In Game 3 of the AHL Western Conference Finals, Thompson made a move he’s made many times during the regular season, but one that would be considered incredibly aggressive in today’s NHL.

With 4:15 left on the clock trailing by two goals, Thompson pulled Oscar Dansk from the Wolves goal leaving an empty net. 45 seconds later Chicago scored their second goal of the game to cut the lead to one. Thompson placed Dansk back in the net for the next 90 seconds before once again pulling him just outside of the two-minute mark.

It’s playoff time and we needed two goals. It’s the coaches decision and I think he made the right call. It ended up getting us a goal and we had some opportunities after it. -Tye McGinn

To the Wolves, this is perfectly normal. In fact, the four players I asked about it all seemed to have the same type of response; something along the lines of “why wouldn’t we do that?” But, in the NHL, only 31 times this entire season (there are 1272 games in an NHL season) did a head coach remove their goalie from the net prior to 4:15 left on the clock.

In this case, it didn’t work, but it definitely helped give the Wolves a better chance, which is really all you can ask for.

We were two goals down so we had to get one quick and that’s what we did. Obviously pulling the goalie with five minutes it’s a big responsibility for us to play the right way and score a goal. It’s disappointing it didn’t work the second time, but we should have scored earlier to not force us to do that. -Tomas Hyka

It’s a philosophy Thompson has deployed all season. One time earlier in the year, he pulled the goalie with 15 minutes left in the game down by three goals. He went on to pull the goalie three more times in that same game and the Wolves cut the lead to one with more than a minute left on the clock. Another time Thompson pulled the goalie an a 4-on-4 situation to “manufacture a power play.” No matter what though, he’s shown a consistent aggressiveness to pulling the goalie, one he stands behind.

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Goalie Of The Future A Question That May Be Answered Soon

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There’s a spot that’s been a real point of contention with the fan base that at some point is going to stop hiding in the shadows and actually make its way to the forefront. As much as we don’t want to admit it, Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t going to be the goalie of the Golden Knights forever. Whether age catches up to him in the next few years while under contract or whenever he decides to hang it up for good, the goalie of the future still seems to be somewhat up in the air.

The clear frontrunner is Malcolm Subban. After being claimed off waivers three days before the Golden Knights first ever game, Subban has been on the NHL club ever since firmly entrenched as the backup. However, as a restricted free agent and coming off another year filled with injuries, Subban’s long-term future is not exactly a certainty.

You don’t want to look too far ahead, I like to live in the moment. Right now I just take care of what I can control and that’s having a good offseason and coming into camp next season ready to go. -Malcolm Subban

Subban will be extended a qualifying offer worth $715,000. As a 25-year-old with a few years of NHL experience, he’s eligible for arbitration, which he will likely file for. Backup goalie salaries range widely, but Subban likely won’t be in line for much more than $1 million, if he even reaches that high.

That being said, the Golden Knights will have to make a decision on where they stand with him. At this very moment, Oscar Dansk, who under contract in 19-20 for $675,000 is leading the Chicago Wolves in a Western Conference Final series in the AHL. Dansk has taken over the starting spot and has played every playoff game for Rocky Thompson’s Wolves. He hasn’t been amazing, but he’s been good enough to be considered for a job behind Fleury moving forward.

Then there’s Max Lagace, who the Golden Knights have turned to every time they’ve needed an extra goalie at the NHL level. He’s an unrestricted free agent, but will almost certainly not command more than the league minimum.

The group of prospects, Dylan Ferguson, Maxim Zhukov, Jiri Patera, and Jordan Kooy are all still a ways from making their ascent to the NHL level. (According to, VGK must sign Zhukov to an entry-level contract by June 1, 2019 or they will forfeit his rights.)

The question of “who will be Vegas’ backup goalie in 2019-20” and “who is the goalie of the future” are two separate questions, but at some point they need to overlap and this offseason may be the beginning of that process.

When Subban was asked about being “the guy” on a team, his answer was non-committal, consistently saying he likes to live in the present, but when asked if he wants to remain in Vegas, he instantly answered, “Yes, of course.”

The options are wide open for the Golden Knights front office, and the cost shouldn’t be prohibitive on any front to retain each of the Golden Knights three options. However, what they decide to do will tell a strong story about what they believe they have in their future.

Subban’s contract isn’t going to be the most noteworthy one this offseason, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important for the organization. A one-year qualifying offer tells a much different story than a multi-year $1.5 million AAV deal.

The franchise has displayed nothing but faith in Subban with its words, but actions always speak louder, and that action is coming fairly soon.

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Nikita Gusev Opens Up On Wide Range Of Topics In Russian Interview

“The only thing I know for myself – I want to play there” -Gusev

As of this moment, Nikita Gusev is a restricted free agent under Golden Knights control. He’s also currently shredding the IIHF World Championships with his linemate, and best friend (more on that later), Nikita Kucherov.

From his next contract, to how he liked Vegas, to his connection to Vadim Shipachyov, the list of questions surrounding the newest Golden Knight are endless. Luckily, a pair of Russian reporters had an extended sit down with Gusev where they pretty much ran the gamut.

(The article was written by Igor Eronko and Alexey Shevchenko for It can be found in its entirety here. We have used all of our resources to translate it as accurately as possible, but be aware that nuance is often lost in translation.) You have burnt a year of your contract, do you already have any offers from Vegas for next season?

Gusev: I’m waiting and expecting an offer from them. I liked it there: good guys, good team. And the city. I don’t know who would not like it, the city is really good. And the atmosphere at the stadium, I think, is one of the best, as everyone says. Vadim Shipachyov did not like the smoky hotels, casinos, and lobbies.

Gusev: In fact, there are many places like this. But if you play in Vegas, you’ll be renting a house or an apartment instead of living in the casinos. Yes, sometimes you have to pass by, but I don’t think very often. I didn’t sit where it was smoky. Vadim never gambled in the casino, did you?

Gusev: Yes, I played one time. Did you win?

Gusev: Yes. Roulette?

Gusev: No, I do not like roulette. Blackjack?

Gusev: Yes. I will not say that I played for big money though. I went there with roughly 100 dollars with me. I won a bit and enjoyed it but I never planned to continue. A lot of people were concerned when head coach Gerard Gallant said, “I don’t know any Gusev. Let him come, but nobody guarantees him anything.” Didn’t that bother you?

Gusev: No, of course not. I went there and knew what was waiting for me. That’s why I didn’t see any problems. I understood. I was going to the NHL and had to prove my place on the ice. It so happened that I did not play. So, next season. Did you talk to Gallant himself?

Gusev: No. He never spoke to me. I only talked to the general manager, George McPhee. I didn’t talk to my coach before I got there. He had a lot of work to do, with the playoffs and such. Shipachyov was given freedom during training (practice), but as soon as the games began they said that some things were prohibited to do. Are you afraid of the same?

Gusev: When I signed the contract and could play for Vegas the coach showed me the tactics during a class. And I realized that I would feel good about it. Everything was explained to me in a similar way. There will be no problems. Vegas is a team with almost the largest amount of movement (other possible translation: speed or quickness) in the NHL. Do you like running without a puck?

Gusev: I’m not going to tell you all the secrets of Vegas. Maybe I’m not the fastest player, but there are other guys out there too that aren’t that quick. What I saw is that many hockey players act very cleverly. Like Mark Stone and Reilly Smith?

Gusev: That’s right. But nevertheless, Shipachyov’s situation could repeat with you.

Gusev: Everyone has their own lives. I do not know what and how it will work, but I think that I am able to perform what the coaches want. If they tell me something definite to do, I’ll do it. At the same time, I’m going to continue to play the way I play. What do you think of Stone, Smith, and the other NHL players? Nothing special, right?

Gusev: This is the wrong question. Those guys are very good, but I understand that it is easy to play with them, everything will be well in this regard. Can Vegas trade you?

Cincinnati Cincinnati Jersey Bengals Jersey Bengals Gusev: I’m expecting an offer from them first. And then we will see what happens. In principle, there could be other offers, but I think it would be wrong to accept one of them because Vegas helped me. I want to reciprocate. In the NHL the rules say that first I have to get an offer from the club which has the rights to me, which is Vegas. I am a rule follower so I will wait for it. I perfectly understand what I want and what I need. If Vegas offers $4 million, will you accept?

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“We Are Not A Budget Team”

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the league calendar gets set to turn to 2019-20 all eyes seem focused on the color red.

Through the first two seasons, the Golden Knights have not had to worry much about in terms of the salary cap. In Year 1, the floor was as much in view as was the cap. In Year 2, money was being thrown around left and right for Marc-Andre Fleury, Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, Ryan Reaves, Nate Schmidt, Alex Tuch, Shea Theodore, and Mark Stone, but there still was no concern for reaching the cap. Now, as decisions need to be made on William Karlsson, Deryk Engelland, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nikita Gusev, Jimmy Schuldt, and others and suddenly the salary cap is the main point of focus in Vegas.

George McPhee, Kelly McCrimmon, and the Golden Knights front office have plenty of ways to manage the cap. The most obvious way would be to make a trade or two to move some salary out. This may very well happen. But, despite what you may hear/read, it also may not.

The salary cap in the NHL is incredibly complicated. There are pages and pages of legalese that govern the league’s cap. It’s so complicated that almost every team in the league has a specific person on staff whose job is to do nothing but focus on the cap. For the Golden Knights, that’s Andrew Lugerner.

From the outside looking in, we don’t get to see the whole picture. We don’t have the entire rule book. Instead, we tend to rely on a birds-eye view of simply adding all of the contracts together to come up with a total number. In the Golden Knights case, that number is too high already, and they’ve still got work to do. But that’s not how the salary cap works. There’s daily accumulation, long-term IR, performance bonuses, two-way contracts, assignment clauses, buried contracts, buyouts, discounted cap hits, and probably numerous other loopholes we aren’t aware of.

Luckily, we don’t need to be, we just need to know that whatever is necessary, the Golden Knights have the ability to make it happen.

We are fortunate that we are not a budget team. We aren’t one of those teams that is always on the edge in terms of its financial performance. In fact, our financial performance has been very good and as a result, we can make some things happen that maybe some other teams couldn’t have made happen. -The Creator

That comment was made in regards to promoting Kelly McCrimmon to GM, but it can easily be applied to just about everything else with the organization. If there’s a way to gain an advantage, the Golden Knights owner is going to be willing to pay for it.

He did it in the Expansion Draft by allowing McPhee to add bad contracts for draft picks, he’s allowed the organization to go from an expansion team to one pushing up against the cap in Year 3, and there have been numerous stories of what he’s done in and around the facilities to make Vegas one of, if not the, best place to play in the NHL.

So, if there’s a way to use some of The Creator‘s money to help the Golden Knights get under the cap, McPhee will have the green light to do it.

Just never forget that when we see the red number next to Vegas’ name that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Things do need to happen for the Golden Knights this offseason, but they may not always be things we see. The reason that’s possible is ownership’s willingness to do whatever it takes to create, in his words, “a dynasty.”

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Mark Stone/Jonathan Marchessault Combo Dominating In Slovakia

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This morning in Slovakia, Mark Stone scored a hat trick for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships. He has five goals in five games and his linemate, Jonathan Marchessault, has put up two goals and four assists of his own. Simply put, the Golden Knights duo has been shredding defenses for Team Canada.

Their success together has led to a pretty obvious question, should that pair be a part of a line when they get back to Vegas?

Any time I consider the possibility of a new line combination the first thing I do is check how they’ve done while playing together. In the case of Marchessault and Stone, it’s been almost all on line changes when one gets stuck out on the ice with the other. In the regular season and playoffs combined, that happened for a total of 20:15 at 5-on-5.

In those 20 minutes, the Golden Knights scored twice and generated 12 shots on goal. They also created 10 scoring chances with five coming in high danger areas. Pretty darn good for a pair that doesn’t actually play together.

So, if it were to happen, who would play in between them?

Cincinnati Cincinnati Jersey Bengals Jersey Bengals Well, that could go one of two ways, either with Paul Stastny or William Karlsson. Here’s how I’d project it with each player in between Marchessault and Stone.



Both options look pretty good, but the third line on that second option is downright scary. The idea of replacing Marchessault with Gusev makes a lot of sense as they play a similar style of game. Also, Gusev’s defensive deficiencies (which we aren’t even sure if they are real yet), would be covered up by Karlsson and Smith. Of course, this is assuming Haula does indeed take a center spotSale Pink Vikings Women's Fashion Jersey Rush Adam 19 For Limited Football Minnesota Thielen, which may not happen.

Either way, the options are going to be there for Gerard Gallant when the Golden Knights return to Vegas for training camp in September. It will be interesting to see how much tinkering he does with his new glut of highly skilled forwards.

The Golden Knights have seven preseason games. You’d have to think Stone and Marchessault find their way on a line together in one of them, it’ll be up to them to make it as successful here as it’s been in Slovakia.

To The Nfl's Awareness How Campaign Women Lies Breast Cancer Podcast #155: Hand Pass

We have no choice but to continue talking about referees and rules, but we quickly transition into Golden Knights conversation. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Time to change the rules after San Jose gets another gift
  • Can all these ridiculous moments for the Sharks make us feel better about VGK’s loss?
  • The impact of trading a player like Pacioretty, Schuldt, or Whitecloud
  • Stone and Marchessault forcing a change in top-six in Vegas?
  • Shea Theodore’s voice twin

And much more…

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