Vegas Golden Knights 2019 Training Camp

The Vegas Golden Knights are gearing up for the 2019-20 NHL season with their annual training camp set to begin this weekend. They have invited 53 players to camp: 7 goaltenders, 17 defensemen, and 29 forwards. There are a number of key roster battles to watch this year and the team will need to be down to a 23-man roster (and cap compliant) before the regular season begins on October 2.

We are going to take a look at the preseason schedule, seeing if we can get an idea of when we can expect rooster cuts to take place, and examine to roster to try to estimate the opening night lineup/salary cap and what the minor league options will be.

 

Schedule

The players report for off-ice sessions and medical testing on Thursday September 12, with the players who had already been together in rookie camp having a final evening practice session. On Friday September 13 the players split into 3 groups, Teams A and B have morning practices and a scrimmage while Team C has an afternoon session. They do the same on Saturday September 14 (they rename the scrimmage groups to A and B rather than keeping the same names each day). On Sunday September 15 there is a morning practice for non-game players while the rest have the first home game against the Arizona Coyotes at 1:30pm PST/4:30pm EST. On Monday September 16 there is a final scrimmage with Teams A and B in the morning and Team C in the afternoon.

The first cuts may come after the scrimmage is complete, there are a number of juniors prospects who will be in camp mainly to get experience with the system and don’t have much of a shot at making the actual lineup. It is also right before the teams heads on the road for their series of away games, and from there they are split into two practice groups, so I am guessing this is an ideal place to trim the roster.

On Tuesday September 17 the non-game players have a morning practice at home while the rest head on the road to face the Colorado Avalanche at 6:00pm PST/9:00pm EST. There is a scheduled day off on Wednesday, so if they have not made cuts yet then this would be another spot to watch. On Thursday September 19 there is a morning skate for the guys heading on the road to play the Los Angeles Kings at 7:30pm PST/10:30pm EST while the non-game group stays home for an afternoon practice. On Friday September 20 there is a morning session for the non-game players while those who traveled get an afternoon practice. Then once more on the road Saturday September 21 with a morning session for the non-game players while the rest head to face the San Jose Sharks at 7:00pm PST/10:00pm EST.

Right around here should be where the next round of cuts occur. The Chicago Wolves begin their AHL training camp on September 22 and play their first preseason game on September 26. Meanwhile Vegas has scheduled days off on both Sunday and Monday, then when they return they have only a single practice group scheduled. From this point forward the roster should look fairly similar to what we would expect to see on opening night, although there will obviously be a handful of guys battling for the final roster spots.

They return for a single group practice on Tuesday September 24. On Wedneday September 25 they have a morning skate and then have a home game against the Avalanche at 7:00pm PST/10:00pm EST. Thursday September 26 is another morning practice session while they remain at home to face the Kings at 7:00pm PST/10:00pm EST on Friday September 27. One more group practice on Saturday September 28 and then on Sunday September 29 there is an optional skate in the morning with a final home game vs the Sharks at 5:00pm PST/8:00pm EST.

They don’t have any additional practices scheduled after that, so all the final cuts will happen right before the deadline.

 

Goaltenders

29 Marc-Andre Fleury – 2017 expansion draft

30 Malcolm Subban – 2017 waiver claim

40 Garret Sparks – Acquired from Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019

35 Oscar Dansk – 2017 free agent signing

1 Dylan Ferguson – Acquired from Dallas Stars in 2017

32 Jiri Patera – 2017 6th round pick

34 Jordan Kooy – 2018 7th round pick

 

Barring any injuries we already know the NHL starter will be Fleury. His backup is not as set in stone as some may expect it to be. Subban is penciled in as backup because that is the role he played over the past two seasons. However Sparks was just brought in on a 1-way NHL deal after serving as a backup for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and Dansk played well when he was used as an injury call-up. All three of them would need to clear waivers in order to be sent to the AHL, all three of them have a single year remaining on their contracts, and all three of them would be solid options to serve as an NHL backup. So it will be interesting to watch and see who winds up sticking with the big club this year.

Ferguson is a waiver exempt rookie, so his getting sent down to the minors is inevitable. The question for him though is will he serve as a backup for the AHL Chicago Wolves or will he get sent all the way down to the ECHL Fort Wayne Komets? Personally I’d like to see him down in the ECHL where he can play more minutes, however if one or both of the older goalies get claimed off waivers then they will have no choice but to play him in the AHL.

Patera and Kooy are both unsigned so the assumption is that they will be back in the juniors. Kooy is only 19 so his return is all but assured, but Patera is old enough that he could sign and play in the AHL if they think he is ready for it this year. Although unless they lose two netminders on waivers I really can’t see that happening.

 

NHL (2) – Fleury/Subban $7.850M

Minors (6) – Sparks, Dansk, Ferguson, Strang, Kupsky, Dhillon

 

Defensemen

88 Nate Schmidt – 2017 expansion draft

27 Shea Theodore – Acquired from Anaheim Ducks in 2017

3 Brayden McNabb – 2017 expansion draft

22 Nick Holden – 2018 free agent signing

5 Deryk Engelland – 2017 expansion draft

15 Jon Merrill – 2017 expansion draft

4 Jimmy Schuldt – 2019 free agent signing

24 Jaycob Megna – 2019 free agent signing

45 Jake Bischoff – Acquired from New York Islanders in 2017

2 Zach Whitecloud – 2018 free agent signing

14 Nicolas Hague – 2017 2nd round pick

52 Dylan Coghlan – 2017 free agent signing

8 Brett Lernout – 2019 free agent signing

94 Brayden Pachal – Amateur try-out

85 Connor Corcoran – 2018 5th round pick

82 Xavier Bouchard – 2018 6th round pick

6 Kaedan Korczak – 2019 2nd round pick

 

The core D from last season have returned, the Top 4 looks to be pretty set as they still have Schmidt, Theodore, McNabb, and Engelland. We can also pencil in Holden and Merrill at the bottom of the lineup, although it remains to be seen whether they will dress as the 3rd pairing or if they will again play the role of 7th D sliding in and out of the lineup.

There should be one or two additional D moving up this year (depending on whether they go with 13 or 14 F), but it remains to be seen yet who it will be or what role they will play. Most people as penciling in Schuldt, although after watching him at the rookie tournament I really don’t think he is NHL ready yet. Hague was the best all-around D at the rookie tournament, but he is a Top 4 guy so they are probably better off letting him be the #1 D in Chicago rather than a 3rd pairing guy in Vegas. Coghlan, on the other hand, made a strong case for nabbing a spot on the blue line. He is a right-handed offensive D who plays a rather similar style to the recently departed Colin Miller, so he could slot in as a 3rd pairing D and PP specialist.

Whitecloud didn’t do bad, so depending on how he plays in the preseason he could make a case for being a 6/7 D, but what works against him is that he is the highest paid of all the young D options and they are right up against the cap as it is. Another option is Bischoff, who played a bit last season, he is a defensively responsible 2-way guy who is old enough that sitting in the press box or playing 3rd pairing minutes shouldn’t really hurt his development. Another to watch is Megna, he spent time in the AHL with Anaheim last year and is experienced enough to be a #7 D.

I expect Lernout will clear waivers and be sent to the AHL, and if they sign Pachal it will probably be to and AHL deal with the Wolves as well. Based on the rookie tournament I’d assume that none of Corcoran, Bouchard, or Korczak are close to NHL ready and as they are all unsigned and all too young for the minors I expect them all to head back to the juniors.

 

NHL (8) – McNabb-Theodore/Schmidt-Engelland/Holden-Coghlan/Merrill-Bischoff $19.358M plus $0.800M bonus.

Minors (14) – Hague, Whitecloud, Megna, Lernout, Schuldt, Pachal, Binkley, Greco, Haas, Petschenig, Israel, Martin, Stewart, Galipeau

 

Forwards

61 Mark Stone – Acquired from Ottawa Senators in 2019

67 Max Pacioretty – Acquired from Montreal Canadiens in 2018

26 Paul Stastny – 2018 free agent signing

71 William Karlsson – 2017 expansion draft

19 Reilly Smith – Acquired from Florida Panthers in 2017

81 Jonathan Marchessault – 2017 expansion draft

89 Alex Tuch – Acquired from Minnesota Wild in 2017

21 Cody Eakin – 2017 expansion draft

75 Ryan Reaves – Acquired from Pittsburgh Penguins in 2018

92 Tomas Nosek – 2017 expansion draft

73 Brandon Pirri – 2017 free agent signing

11 Curtis McKenzie – 2018 free agent signing

28 William Carrier – 2017 expansion draft

7 Valentin Zykov – 2018 waiver claim

12 Tyrell Goulbourne – 2019 free agent signing

10 Nicolas Roy – Acquired from Carolina Hurricanes in 2019

37 Reid Duke – 2017 free agent signing

23 Patrick Brown – 2019 free agent signing

9 Cody Glass – 2017 1st round pick

46 Jonas Rondbjerg – 2017 3rd round pick

39 Jake Leschyshyn – 2017 2nd round pick

70 Lucas Elvenes – 2017 5th round pick

55 Keegan Kolesar – Acquired from Columbus Blue Jackets in 2017

53 Marcus Kallionkieli – 2019 5th round pick

43 Paul Cotter – 2018 4th round pick

64 Ben Jones – 2017 7th round pick

72 Gage Quinney – 2018 free agent signing

36 Tye McGinn – AHL Contract

54 Jermaine Loewen – Amateur Try-Out

18 Peyton Krebs – 2019 1st round pick

57 Mason Primeau – 2019 5th round pick

 

The Golden Knights Top 6 from last season is back so we can safely assume that Karlsson, Marchessault, Smith, Stone, Pacioretty, and Stastny will be on the roster. Tuch is in at 3 RW, although he could see minutes with the Top 6 in the event of injury and should still get work on the PP. Eakin should be in at 3 C, he did a solid job last year and is also capable of slotting up in the event of injury. They also plan to have Carrier back as 4 LW and Reaves as 4 RW, although they have lost their usual center.

Most likely this will result in Nosek becoming the new 4 C, and that would allow Pirri to get a shot as 3 LW, although both of them can play C or wing so we could see them swapping. And lastly Zykov should be up as the 13th F because that is the role he played last year, he spent most of the year in the NHL and was claimed by two different teams when they attempted to waive him down, so chances are he won’t clear waivers to be sent back to the AHL.

If they are going with 13 F/8 D then this is the lineup we should see. However, if they chose to go with 7 D there is room for another forward to get a shot at making the lineup, and it is possible they could waive somebody like Zykov or Pirri even though the risk of losing them is high. This would be the best shot for Glass to make the opening lineup, as having him and Eakin as the Bottom 6 centers is better than trusting somebody like Pirri or Nosek who are more used to being on the wing. However, he is at heart a Top 6 C so they may want him to get big minutes in the AHL rather than limited usage in the NHL, although between him and Tuch their 3rd line could be a 2nd line on most other teams.

There are a couple other guys who could make a push for NHL minutes if the team wants a more experienced center for the 4th line. Brown is pretty much an AHL vet at this point in his career, but he has experience and wouldn’t be a bad 4 C. He should clear waivers and would be a veteran mentor to help the youngsters develop. Roy is right on the cusp of being NHL ready so getting him 4th line minutes wouldn’t be bad either. However, Roy is still waiver exempt so chances are he starts in the AHL, but keep an eye on him if they need mid-season call-ups.

McKenzie is an experienced AHL veteran and could be one of the Wolves captains this year, he shouldn’t have any problems clearing waivers. Goulbourne also needs waived, but he’s a bottom of the lineup physical type so he shouldn’t have any issues clearing either. McGinn is an AHL vet signed to an AHL deal, so he will be in Chicago. Loewen is a bottom of the lineup physical/defensive guy, if he signs it will probably be to an AHL deal.

Duke, Kolesar, and Quinney have been with the team but are still waiver exempt, expect them in the AHL. Rondbjerg, Leschyshyn, Elvenes, and Jones are waiver exempt rookies, they should also be down in the AHL. Cotter is a waiver exempt rookie but also has the option of going back to the OHL, but based on his play at the rookie tournament I think he is ready to turn pro with the Chicago Wolves this year. Jones has been inured and missed the rookie tournament, but they expect him to be back during the preseason.

Lastly we have the guys that should definitely be heading back to the juniors. Krebs is still recovering from injury and will rehab in Vegas, but will return to the juniors as soon as he is healthy. Kallionkieli was injured and missed the rookie tournament, he is a Euro pick who could play in the minors this year, but they drafted him to the WHL Brandon What Kings so chances are he will go there. Primeau is a decent bottom 6 center, but he’s got a bit of development to do so expect him back in the juniors as well.

 

NHL (13) – Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith/Paciooretty-Stastny-Stone/Pirri-Eakin-Tuch/Carrier-Nosek-Reaves/Zykov $53.450M

Minors (30) – McKenzie, Brown, Goulbourne, Roy, Duke, Kolesar, Quinney, Glass, Rondbjerg, Leschyshyn, Elvenes, Cotter, Jones, McGinn, Loewen, Levac, Jenks, Szydlowski, Ross, Shaw, Munson, Petruzzelli, Boudens, Kamrass, Torrel, Crawford, St. Amant, McKenzie, Lyszczarczyk, Ross

 

Projected Roster and Cap Hit

If we go with the 2 G/8 D/13 F I listed above then the Golden Knights would be at $81.458M, or $80.658M with an $800k bonus cushion. This means they actually come in under the cap with a little bit of wiggle room to swap around which guys make the roster (e.g. Glass or Hague could make the team rather than a guy who makes a little less money) and gives them a little bit of room if they need any injury call-ups during the season.

This wouldn’t be a bad lineup to start the team with, and it gives the kids a little bit of extra time to adjust and play a bigger role in the AHL. And as we saw back in 2017 when Tuch and Theodore began the year with the Chicago Wolves the team is more than willing to make moves in order to accommodate a young player after they show that they are ready to move up.

So the opening night lineup won’t necessarily be the same lineup they are using by the Christmas break. To a certain extent this may be a smart move as well, since some of the guys they would need to waive to make room may have an easier time clearing a month from now when teams are already developing chemistry rather than during camp when the players are still fighting for positions.

We could also see some trades during the season, there are quite a few players with just a year left on their contracts and a number of young guys coming up who would benefit by opening up more holes in the roster. For example if Glass performs exceptionally well and forces them to give him the 3 C slot they may consider moving Eakin rather than worrying about trying to re-sign him next summer.

The roster is pretty much set as it is, but it isn’t set in stone and there are a number of roster battles to keep an eye on in camp. It will be quite interesting not only to see what the opening night roster looks like but also what kind of moves they make during the season.

Author: TKNoodle

I write about hockey, mostly focused on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights. NHL, AHL (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Chicago Wolves), ECHL (Wheeling Nailers), and various prospects from my teams playing in Europe (SHL, Liiga, KHL, etc...), the Canadian Major Juniors (OHL, QMJHL, and WHL), and in the NCAA (and some in lower tier juniors prior to joining the NCAA).

11 thoughts on “Vegas Golden Knights 2019 Training Camp”

  1. The first cuts came after the first day of training camp.

    Jiri Patera (WHL Brandon Wheat Kings) and Jordan Kooy (OHL London Knights) have been released and returned to their junior teams.

    This leaves Vegas with 5 goaltenders in training camp. If this is anything like the last few years then Ferguson will get the first game before being sent down as the other guys are more likely to be fighting over position on the depth chart. Although from the sound of it McPhee expects Subban to remain as backup while Dansk and Sparks get sent down and fight for minutes in the AHL (if they clear waivers that is).

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    1. There wasn’t much info posted about the first two days of practice or what happened in a the scrimmages. There were a handful of lines and D pairs discussed, but as we saw this time last year (or the past 2 years even) the players used in the first part of camp and the first few preseason games often don’t make the opening night roster and you can’t really read anything into line combos because they like to pair younger prospects with older vets even if it means temporarily splitting up established pairings.

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  2. Game 1 – Vegas Golden Knights 6 – Arizona Coyotes 2

    Vegas led shots 31-30 (21-16 ES and 18-16 5-on-5) but trailed shot attempts 51-64.
    They went 0/4 on the PP but were 7/7 PK.
    Vegas trailed faceoffs 27-28 and Hits 34-37 but lead in Giveaways 6-4, Takeaways 13-6, and Blocked Shots 19-11.

    Pacioretty-Glass-Smith
    Marchessault-Roy-Zykov
    Cotter-Eakin-Kolesar
    McKenzie-Quinney-Brown

    Bischoff-Holden
    Schuldt-Whitecloud
    McNabb-Coghlan

    Subban

    Smith, Pacioretty, and Eakin wore an A during the game, while Engelland and Schmidt were listed with an A in the scratches.

    Goals were Pacioretty (Holden), Pacioretty (unassisted), Eakin (Pacioretty), Pacioretty (Coghlan/Glass), shorthanded Smith (unassisted), and a shorthanded empty net McNabb (Eakin).

    Subban played the full 60:00 stopping 28/30 for a 2.00 GAA and 93.3 Sv%.

    He had a really rough start, letting in a couple of easy goals, but he bounced back and ended up finishing strong. He had a lot of help from the D, they cleared the net when he gave up bad rebounds and helped block a lot of shots, but he alsoo came up big to make key saves when the young guys in front of him made mistakes. He certainly seemed to prove that his job is safe for the time being.

    On D McNabb led the way with 1 G and a +6, Coghlan 1A and +3, and Holden 1A and +0. Bischoff went scoreless but was a +2. Whitecloud was -1 while Schuldt was -2, both of them being held off the board.

    McNabb is an established veteran who should be on the top pairing in the NHL this year, but it is still impressive that he managed to be on the ice for all 6 Vegas goals. Coghlan also showed he may have what it takes to replace Colin Miller as the 3rd pairing offensive D PP specialist, he had a solid night and led the D in PP minutes. Bischoff also played well, no flashy offense, but he was defensively reliable and showed he could be a #6/7 D option. Holden played well enough, he could have done more, but he racked up heavy PK minutes (they were in the box so much that everybody got a bit of work, but he led the D). Whitecloud wasn’t great, but he wasn’t terrible either, but it is disappointing to be a -1 in a game where your teams wins 6-2. He did a solid job as a top pairing shutdown D in the AHL last year, but I’m still not seeing anything to suggest he is ready for the NHL. Speaking of which, I reiterate my assessment from the rookie tournament that Schuldt does not look like he is even close to being NHL ready, he somehow managed to be on for both goals against but none of the ones Vegas scored, in addition to a number of other situations where I saw sloppy plays, lapsed coverage, and bad turnovers that forced Subban to come up big to make the save.

    Up front Pacioretty had 3G/1A and +3, Eakin was 1G/1A and +2, Smith 1G and +3, and Glass was 1A and +2. Roy and Zykov were held off the board but were both +1. Marchessault, Quinney, Brown, and McKenzie posted goose eggs, while Kolesar and Cotter were both scoreless at a -1. Glass won 8/13 faceoffs (61.5%), Roy and Quinney both went 6/11 (54.5%), and Eakin won just 6 of 13 (46.2%).

    Obviously Pacioretty was the star of the game, even though it is just pre-season a hat trick is an impressive feat. Eain also had an impressive night, especially considering he wasn’t skating alongside the same calibre of linemates, suggesting he might actually do ok being dropped back down to a Bottom 6 role this year. Smith was his usual self, especially with that shorthanded breakaway. Glass did fairly well, but he had his moments, as of now I’m thinking maybe he does like Tuch and starts the season in the AHL and comes up in a month or so when he gets a little more experience. Zykov and Roy played as well as one expects from fringe AHL guys, although they will need to find a way to stand out more if they hope to earn a spot on the NHL roster. Marchessault was disappointingly quiet, although he has nothing to prove and he wasn’t skating with any of the usual Top 6 guys, so it can be forgiven. The other 5 are pretty much bound for the AHL so nothing really negative to say about them.

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  3. Game 2 – Vegas Golden Knights 5 – Colorado Avalanche 0

    Vegas led shots 28-24 (22-18 at ES) but trailed shot attempts 43-50.
    They went 2/5 on the PP and 5/5 on the PK.
    Vegas trailed Faceoffs 24-33 and Giveaways 3-8 while leading Hits 19-11, Takeaways 12-6, and Blocked Shots 10-5.

    Carrier-Duke-Tuch
    Pirri-Nosek-Zykov
    Leschyshyn-Roy-Kolesar
    Goulbourne-Jones-Elvenes

    Merrill-Whitecloud
    Schmidt-Coghlan
    Hague-Lernout

    Sparks

    Merrill, Carrier, and Schmidt wore an A during the game while on the roster sheet Engelland and Smith were still listed as A amongst the scratches.

    Goals were Zykov (unassisted), PP Pirri (Nosek/Tuch), Hague (Nosek/Pirri), Roy (Leschyshyn/Kolesar), and PP Pirri (Zykov/Schmidt).

    Sparks played the full 60:00 and had a 24-save shutout.

    He was the best player on the ice and came up big during the first two periods when Colorado dominated the game, although he was not really challenged late in the game. The staff has said that there is no question that Subban is the NHL backup, but Sparks is sure trying to make his case for getting a shot at making the NHL roster. He spent the entire season last year as the NHL backup for the Maple Leafs, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented. If he continues to play like this and they still opt to stick with Subban then there is a chance that he will not clear waivers. The one thing working in Vegas’ favour is that Sparks’ pasts NHL stats are less than impressive (not that Subban’s are all that much better).

    On D it was Hague who led the way with 1G and a +2. Schmidt had 1A and was an even 0, Whitecloud and Merrill were scoreless but a +1, while Coghlan put up goose eggs.

    Hague made some mistakes here and there, but he really stood out with a few impressive shifts, stepping up to score a rebound goal was a thing of beauty and on the PP he showed calm and poise, always in position and able to thread passes through traffic, and a burst of speed as he rushed back to break up a shorthanded chance before they could even get a shot off, and he was also dominant on the PK blocking shots and clearing the crease. He is certainly making his case for making the NHL lineup, but as of now he reminds me of Shea Theodore back in 2017: he is right on the cusp of being NHL ready, but there are still a couple little things and he would benefit from a month or two more in the AHL before they make room to call him up into an NHL role. Schmidt generally had a solid game and spent much of it teaching the young D. Most of what I saw from Whitecloud and Merrill was sloppy plays and careless mistakes, Merrill in particular seemed to have trouble staying on his feet much of the game. I know Whitecloud is supposed to be in the running for the #7 D role, but I just don’t see him as being there yet. For most of the game Coghlan was noticably dominant, he is certainly an effective offensive D although he still has defensive lapses, in this he does quite remind me of the departed Colin Miller. I expect he currently has the edge on making the opening night lineup, although it is certainly not set in stone and may depend on what decisions they make up front (for now it looks as if they will have 14 F/7D).

    Up front it was the 2nd line who led the way on the scoreboard: Pirri had 2G/1A, Zykov 1G/1A, and Nosek 2A while all 3 were a +2 on the night. The 3rd line also had an excellent night: Roy had 1G while Leschyshyn and Kolesar has 1A each and all three were at a +1. Tuch had 1A scored on the PP, but the other members of his line went scoreless. The 4th line also put up goose eggs.

    Despite their impressive score the 2nd line weren’t actually as good as these numbers suggest. Nosek, the presumptive 4th line C, only won 5/14 for a 35.7 FO%. Zykov’s goal was scored as he fell down and missed his shot but it got accidentally poked in by a defender, while his assist was again he lost the puck trying to carry to the net and swept it wildly to the slot where Pirri was able to tip it in. Even Pirri’s first goal was not very good, he had a solid shot but the goalie made the save and then the puck kept going and trickled through, not the kind of goal you expect to score often against a netminder with more experience. Still they played well enough for their expected Bottom 6 roles, and Pirri is making his case to the the 3rd line LW. Roy also had a strong game, he is one of those guys that seems to be ready to start his NHL career, but right now there is just no room in the lineup for him to move up, but keep an eye on him as he may be one of the first up in the event of injury. The main drawback is that we only went 6/14 for a 42.9 FO%. Leschyshyn continues the solid play he showed in the rookie tournament, I don’t expect him to be NHL ready this year but he looks like he could be a big part of the Chicago Wolves lineup. Kolesar was a bit out of srts, many times he was more concerned with taking the body than making the smart play, but he should be able to put up decent numbers in the AHL. Duke went 7/16 for a 43.8 FO% and neither him nor Carrier did anything to suggest they were capable of playing with a guy like Tuch. Carrer of course is expected to be a 4th liner, so he played as we expect of him, bouncing around and using his speed to agitate opponents, but he isn’t going to have much of an effect on the scoreboard. Duke I imagine will be back in Chicago, probably in a Bottom 6/PK role considering the guys ahead of him on the depth chart. Elvenes played well enough, he sure has a long ways to go developmentally, but he could be good some day. Goulbourne played better than I expected, but he is basically a bottom tier AHL guy. This was our first real look at Jones as he missed the rookie tournament, I imagine he is still trying to get back into the swing of things after missing time due to injury, so his development is slightly delayed.

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  4. Game 3 – Vegas Golden Knights 3 – Los Angeles Kings 2 (OT)

    Vegas trailed shots 26-38 (22-31 ES) and shot attempts 51-71.
    They went 0/3 on the PP and 3/4 on the PK.
    Vegas trailed faceoffs 16-29, hits 18-22, giveaways 4-7, and takeaways 3-5 but led blocked shots 18-9.

    Marchessault-Karlsson-Stone
    Tuch-Eakin-Glass
    McKenzie-Duke-Brown
    Cotter-Leschyshyn-Elvenes

    Hague-Schmidt
    Schuldt-Engelland
    Megna-Bischoff

    Dansk

    Engelland, Eakin, and Stone wore an A for the game and this time there weren’t any listed amongst the scratches.

    Goals were McKenzie unassisted, Stone (Marchessault/Engelland), and OT Marchessault (Eakin).

    Dansk played the full 61:04 and stopped 36/38 for a 1.97 GAA and 94.7 Sv%.

    Dansk was good. He had moments which showed why he is #3 or #4 on the depth chart, but he held out against an onslaught and allowed Vegas to mount their 3rd period comeback. The team is good, they have a number of players who are not only defensively responsible but can also chip in and produce some offense, and their systems rely on everybody working together as a whole team, no show boaters. So as we’ve seen with all the different preseason goalies this style of player is really conducive to improving a netminder’s stat sheet.

    On D the top scorer was Engelland with 1A while Hague, Megna, and Bischoff were all +1. Schuldt and Schmidt put up goose eggs.

    Engelland has been in the Vegas Top 4 the past two seasons and has done remarkably well in his role both on and off the ice. However with the assertion that they want both Theodore and Schmidt to play on the right side it may cause him to be bumped to the 3rd line, although if so this puts a big hole in the Top 4 D has what it takes to fit that role. Hague has been excellent, he still makes a few rookie mistakes, but that is the kind of thing you can only learn and grow from if the staff lets you play through them and get better. When he is on his game he is calm and poised, has good speed and excellent positioning, and has the strength and reach to not only break up plays but also to create them. He wasn’t credited with an assist, but he played a big part in their OT winner. Schmidt is basically the #1 D and plays the role well, not much more to say about him. Bischoff is pretty good, and could probably play in the NHL if they didn’t have so many other D, but he hasn’t done enough to stand out amonsgt the other rookies (it has basically been a showdown between Hague and Coghlan, and may come down to whether they want a Top 4 lefty or a 3rd pairing righty). Schmidt gets tossed around a lot, he makes mistakes and has defensive lapses, but he has shown potential, especially in the O-zone, but I imagine he needs a year or three in the AHL to properly develop. Megna is an AHL veteran, he was pretty much signed to be part of the Chicago Wolves leadership corps.

    Up front Marchessault led the way with 1G/1A and a +2. McKeznie and Stone were both 1G and a +1, while Eakin was 1A and a +2. Eakin won 5/11 for a 45.5 FO%. Tuch and Glass were scoreless but at +1. Glass won 3/7 for a 42.9 FO%. Karlsson was held off the score sheet and only won 5/13 for a 38.5 FO%. Duke and Elvenes put up goose eggs, with Duke only winning 1/7 for a 14.3 FO%. Cotter, Leschyshyn, and Brown were all scoreless and a -1, with leschyshyn winning 2/4 for a 50.0 FO%.

    Karlsson got hurt and held out half the game, which allowed Glass to move up to replace him at #1 C. Marchessault and Stone did rather well together, we can expect to see that combo a lot on the PP, and Glass had a strong game when he moved up to center joining them. Eakin and Tuch seem to work well together too, but I wasn’t a big fan of the Glass at wing experiment (nor of Tuch on the left side). McKenzie had a good solo effort to score a goal, but there isn’t rom in the lineup and he should be down in the AHL. I like Duke and I want to see him succeed, he was the first ever Golden Knight and I remember the tweets about him playing soccer by himself, but his upside seems to be an AHL checking role. Elvenes has promise, but he still has a bit of development to do, and maybe a bit of adjusting to the difference in playing North American hockey. Brown will probably be a middle 6 guy for the Wolves, and should be in te running to get a letter on his sweater. Leschyshyn is really good, but not anywhere near ready for the NHL yet, but if he can dominate the AHL we could see him move up eventually. Cotter seems to have played well enough to turn pro rather than going back to juniors, but it will probably depend on where he fits in the lineup, they seem to have an abundance of Top 6 talent right now.

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  5. Roster Transactions

    They have made a handful of moves at various times, I don’t remember if I mentioned the first ones so I’ll just rehash them all.

    First were goaltenders Jordan Kooy and Jiri Patera who were returned to their respective junior teams early in camp (September 13).

    On September 18 there were a few more players returned to their junior teams: F Mason Primeau and D Connor Corcoran, Xavier Bouchard, and Kaedan Korczak.

    On September 20 they started sending guys down to the AHL. They signed D Brayden Pachal to an ELC before reassigning him. The Jermaine Loewen AHL contract was made official and both him and Tye McGinn were released from their PTOs, returning to the Chicago Wolves. Vegas also reassigned F Jonas Rondbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Lucas Elvenes, Paul Cotter, Ben Jones, and Gage Quinney.

    They also placed veterans D Jaycob Megna and Brett Lernout as well as F Tyrell Goulbourne on waivers. They all cleared and were officially reassigned on September 21.

    G Garret Sparks and Oscar Dansk were placed on waivers yesterday and have cleared. They have not been officially reassigned yet, but it looks like they will be soon. Expect more to follow within the next day or two since there are no practices scheduled and the Chicago Wolves have begun their AHL training camp.

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  6. Game 4 – Vegas Golden Knights 3 – San Jose Sharks 1

    Shots were tied at 29 (Vegas led ES 28-26) and the Golden Knights led shot attempts 57-51.
    They went 1/1 on the PP and 2/2 on the PK.
    They trailed faceoffs 28-30, hits 22-31, giveaways 4-8, takeaways 3-9, and blocked shots 10-18.

    Pacioretty-Glass-Tuch
    Zykov-Eakin-Smith
    McKenzie-Nosek-Kolesar
    Pirri-Roy-Duke

    Merrill-Coghlan
    McNabb-Whitecloud
    Schuldt-Holden

    Fleury

    Smith, Eakin, and Pacioretty all wore an A during the game while Engelland and Schmidt were listed as a A in the scratches.

    Goals were Zykov (Pacioretty/Glass), Pacioretty (Glass/Smith), and PP Tuch (Pacioretty/Schuldt).

    Fleury played the full 60:00 stopping 28/29 for a 1.00 GAA and 96.6 Sv%.

    He looked like his usual self out there, smiling and having fun, coming up big to make flashy saves, and talking about wanting to take a shot at the empty net. He is one of the better goalies in the league right now, we already knew he was going to be back as the starter again.

    On D Schuldt had 1A and an even +0 while the Merrill and Coghlan pairing was a +1. Whitecloud, McNabb, and Holden all put up goose eggs.

    Schuldt has his moments, he is a bit like what we saw with Brannstrom last year in that he is an offensive D who still makes defensive lapses and rookie mistakes, but he makes some pretty plays when the puck is on his stick. However, like Brannstrom he is nowhere near NHL ready and should be sent down to the AHL to develop (he is the 3rd or 4th best of the young D fighting for a roster spot). Coghlan didn’t flash as much as he did in early games, and with just one short PP didn’t get time to work special teams, but he is the guy most similar to the departed Miller so if they want a 3rd pairing offensive D/PP specialist he is the guy. Merril played better than he did in prior games, but he is still a #6/7 guy so all we’re expecting from him is to not be a liability. McNabb hasn’t been very visible, but he tends to defer to his partner and has been used mostly to mentor the youngsters. Holden is similar as a vet guiding the youth, but he is ultimately a 3rd pairing D. Whitecloud has played well enough, but he has a number of players ahead of him on the depth chart so chances are he will be back down in the AHL.

    Up front it was Pacioretty with 1G/2A and a +1, Glass with 2A and a +1, and Zykov 1G and a +1 while Tuch had 1G and Smith 1A while both were an even +0. Glass only won 3/9 for a 33.3 FO%. The other F were all held off the board with Roy and Nosek both winning 8/12 for a 66.7 FO% but Eakin won just 8/20 for a 40.0 FO%.

    Pacioretty continues to be dominant, what more can you say? Glass is certainly making his case to stick with the big club, although I am still thinking he gets sent down to the AHL for a few weeks until they figure out how to make room in the lineup. Zykov is making his case for sticking in the lineup, and could be an option to join the 3rd line, although he is more effective as a RW. Tuch should be the 3rd line RW and Smith to rejoin his linemates up top, but they are letting them get some time with other players (which should help with special teams as well). Pirri wasn’t as effective as a 4th liner, but his NHL spot may still be safe. Nosek did a better job at C this time. McKenzie and Kolesar were an important part of the AHL top 6 during the playoffs, they could be back in that role this year. Roy has been good, he is still right at the edge of being NHL ready, but should be sent down because there is no room right now. Duke will wind up being a bottom 6 guy in the AHL.

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  7. Roster Transactions – September 26

    They placed McKenzie and Brown on waivers.

    The assumption then is that after noon tomorrow they will be sent down after clearing. This may also be when they choose to send down the rest of the AHL guys as everybody else that seems to be on the bubble are all waiver exempt.

    Of course if it comes down to the wire and they decide not to keep somebody like Nosek, Pirri, Carrier, or Zykov they would need to be waived. I can’t imagine they would want to risk losing any of them on waivers though so those guys should all be fairly safe. Counting those four they already have 13 F, and 6 D are more or less locked, so the question comes down to do you want to keep 14 F or 8 D? And if so who will those final roster spots be?

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    1. Further update, they announced that Coghlan and Duke have been reassigned while Whitecloud is week-to-week now.

      That leaves them with 15 F, 9 D, and 3 G right now. They must drop to 2 G and either 14F/7D or 13F/8D.

      Most likely Hague, Schuldt, and Bischoff competing for the 7th and/or 8th D spot (Hague makes a better Top 4 if they want to keep both Schmidt/Theodore on the right side bumping Engelland to the 3rd; Bischoff makes a better #6/7 guy that can play 3rd pairing or sit occasionally). I haven’t seen anything from Schuldt to suggest he is anywhere near ready, but on the plus side if they opt for an 8 D lineup he is quite a bit older than the usual prospects so he wouldn’t miss out on much developmentally if he had to sit for extended period of time (whereas Hague would be better off getting big minute in the AHL).

      The 13 F seem like they are fairly set, they had Carrier and Nosek manning the 4th line with Reaves, rather similar to last year’s 4th line, while Pirri and Zykov seem to be the options to slot into the 3rd line with Eakin and Tuch. So Glass, Kolesar, and Roy are in the running if they opt to keep up 14 F, although they are all waiver exempt and I can’t imagine them wanting any of them to be a scratch, so they are more likely to be sent down in order to get more ice time in the AHL.

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  8. Game 5 – Vegas Golden Knights 1 – Colorado Avalanche 4

    Vegas was outshot 17-32 (13-25 ES) and trailed shot attempts 41-60.
    They went 0/4 on the PP and 3/4 on the PK.
    Vegas led faceoffs 24-20, hits 43-28, and blocked shots 17-11 while they trailed takeaways 10-13 and were tied with 6 giveaways each.

    Pirri Glass Zykov
    Marchessault Stastny Stone
    Carrier Roy Brown
    McKenzie Duke Kolesar

    Hague Theodore
    Schuldt Whitecloud
    Bischoff Coghlan

    Subban

    Stastny, Stone, and Marchessault all wore an A during the game while Engelland, Smith, and Schmidt were all listed with an A in the scratches list. If they choose to go back to the 2017-18 style of having separate home and road captains then these should be the guys, but if they stick to the traditional three then it seems like Engelland/Smith will be back for the 3rd straight year while Schmidt is probably the 3rd A.

    Goal was McKenzie (Brown/Roy).

    Subban played 59:56 stopping 28/32 for a 4.00 GAA and 87.5 Sv%.

    It wasn’t a good day for anybody on the ice, they didn’t dress many of their veterans and by the end of the game they only had 4 D on the roster, none of which had any meaningful NHL experience, so we can’t be too scocked by the outcome. However even with that excuse it was not a good game for Subban. He just didn’t look comfortable and each goal that went by made him more nervous and caused him to make more mistakes trying to overcompensate. He is still firmly entrenched as the NHL backup, but games like this are why he hasn’t signed a long term extension, they just don’t know if he can ever put it all together to be an every day guy, although as a low salary backup that plays maybe a quarter of the games he is acceptable.

    On D Bischoff ended at a +1 while Schuldt even at a +0. Whitecloud, Theodore, and Coghlan were all at a -1 while Hague was a -2.

    For most of the game Hague looked like one of the best players on the ice, although he ended up with the worst stats. The one goal may have partially been his fault, Megna stickhandled around him and he was unable to get his stick in position to stop the shot, but it was a train wreck to begin with as Stone turned the puck over and Hague had to rush back down ice to try to stop Megna from getting a breakway. Theodore played fine before he left (currently day-to-day but they said it isn’t serious), and Bischoff is quietly effective. He’s a bit like Holden in that he isn’t flashy and isn’t going to score much, but he has solid positioning and is good at defending so when he has a quiet night it is a good thing. Schuldt had a rough night, I seem to type that after most games, and once again I will reiterate that he doesn’t look like he is anywhere near NHL ready. He reminds me a bit of Brannstrom in that regard, which means he may have a solid season in the AHL but just can’t currently handle what it takes to be in the NHL. Coghlan had a lot more problems than usual, he may have slid further down the depth chart after this performance, but he played as well as I expect of the 3rd paring offensive D.

    Up front McKenzie had 1G and a +1, Brown was 1A and an even +0, and Roy 1A and a -1. Then Zykov, Glass, and Pirri put up goose eggs while the rest were all scoreless at a -1.

    The guys on the bottom of the depth chart had the best day, if they all get sent down then McKenzie, Roy, and Brown would make a pretty good AHL line (Roy and Brown have played together as they both came from the Charlotte Checkers, coincidentally so did Zykov). Glass didn’t do very well trying to carry less capable linemates, so the experiment of trying him as the 3rd or 4th line C may be over, and in addition neither Zykov nor Pirri have really managed to stand out enough to clearly take the 3 LW spot (but do appear to be more or less locks to remain in the NHL). The Marchessault, Stastny, and Stone combo didn’t do bad, we should see them quite often together on the PP. Neither Kolesar nor Duke really did anything to stand out, and while Carrier was his usually speedy chaotic self it isn’t really the kind of thing that tends to win games.

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  9. Game 6 – Vegas Golden Knights 2 – Los Angeles Kings 3

    Vegas led shots 42-28 (28-19 ES) and shot attempts 71-50.
    They went 1/5 on the PP and 5/6 on the PK.
    Vegas led faceoffs 37-26, giveaways 6-2, and takeaways 15-12 but trailed hits 28-40 and blocked shots 13-14.

    Marchessault Karlsson Smith
    Pacioretty Stastny Stone
    Zykov Eakin Tuch
    Carrier Nosek Kolesar

    McNabb Schmidt
    Merrill Theodore
    Holden Engelland

    Fleury

    Engelland, Smith, and Stone wore an A during the game. This does not preclude the possibility that they will rotate 6 captains again this year, but if they stick to the normal group of 3 then it looks like it may actually be Stone rather than Schmidt because this is the first game we’ve seen them all play together.

    Goals were PP Stastny (Eakin/Pacioretty) and McNabb (Pacioretty/Stastny).

    Fleury played 58:22 stopping 25/28 for a 3.08 GAA and 89.3 Sv%.

    Fleury actually had a strong game despite what the stat sheet says. The first goal he was left out to dry as Merrill missed the puck along the boards and was caught trailing his man, while Pacioretty came back to help out but let the goal scorer get a step on him right in the slot. The second was on the PP, Fleury made the save but there was a scrum in front and the puck bounced around and trickled through into the net. The final goal Fleury stopped it and went to reach to cover it up but Karlsson trying to help clear the crease kicked the puck from under his hand, and wound up kicking it straight to the wide open man standing in the slot for an easy tap in. Overall a poor team effort and I’m sure Fleury blames himself for not catching the rebounds cleanly but he wasn’t as bad as the numbers indicate.

    On D McNabb led the way with 1G while he an his partner Schmidt were at +1. The other four D were all scoreless at a -1.

    The McNabb and Schmidt pairing obviously does well together, they skated together much of last season and appear to still have that chemistry. They are pretty much the de facto top pairing on this team. At the other end of the spectrum they experimented with their plan to drop Engelland to the 3rd in order to keep Theodore on the right side as well and it did not go as well as they would have hoped. Theodore playing his off-wing was not the issue, what we quickly discovered is that Merrill is not a Top 4 D and inadvertently dragged his partner down with him. We saw something similar at the start of last season when they tried to shoe horn Miller into the Top 4 and watched him struggle, some guys are just better off on the 3rd pairing where they have less pressure. Merrill is a 3rd pairing D, and not even the best option we have for that role (I’d put him behind Holden for sure and maybe some of the rookies). Engelland ended up being one of their better players, he was visible almost every shift he was on the ice and made a lot of offense happen even if it didn’t make it past Quick. Holden I think was ok, I didn’t really notice him out there, but the style of game he plays that is a good thing.

    There is one game left and they may give a rookie or two another chance on Sunday. I still say the only one that has even come close to looking like he belongs i the Top 4 is Hague, so if they want the lineup to look like this he could replace Merrill and Vegas would have 3 solid pairings. For a guy like Coghlan to fit in you’d have to bump up Engelland and move Theodore back to the left. Although I also wouldn’t rule out Bischoff, he certainly wouldn’t be a Top 4 guy, but if they think Holden can keep up with Theodore then Bischoff might be a better choice than Merrill for the 3rd pairing, and is older and more experienced already so his development wouldn’t necessarily be hindered if he sits to give Merrill some playing time now and again.

    Up front Stastny had 1G/1A while Pacioretty had 2A, with Stastny winning 16/23 for a 69.6 FO%. Eakin also had 1A and won 10/16 for a 62.5 FO%. They were all an even +0, as were all the rest of the Bottom 9, with Nosek only winning 2/6 for a 33.3 FO%. The top line were all scoreless and a -1, with the staff experimenting to give Marchessault some practice at draws where he went 5/11 for a 45.5 FO% (Smith went 1/3).

    Stastny and Pacioretty had a great game, we see a lot of chemistry with those two, we saw it last year during the playoffs as well. Stone I didn’t notice as much, I don’t think he had a bad game, he was just outshone by those two. One issue may have been the change in PP, they went from having one overloaded top unit to splitting them up so that basically their top two lines each man a separate PP unit. Personally I would rather see them load it up with Marchessault, Karlsson, Pacioretty, Stone, and Theodore playing together but it is possible they will go back to that during the season and just used the exhibition to experiment and let other people get more ice time. Eakin played well, and Zykov and Tuch seemed to do ok as well, but Tuch went head first into the boards and left mid-game while Eakin ended up tweaking something and leaving late as well. The 4th line didn’t do terrible, although I am still not a fan of the Nosek center experiment and Carrier, while energetically exuberant, doesn’t seem to really bring much to the team. Kolesar played ok, and if they want a 4th liner that plays a similar style to Reaves/Carrier then he may actually be a good fit. The top line were the ones that finished at a -1, which was due to Karlsson kicking the puck right to the open man for the game winner. They were playing around though, Karlsson only took a single faceoff during the game, so it is hard to say what they expected from them. Still, we saw the same chemistry we expect from them, Karlsson and Smith had a number of good chances on the PK and the line got some decent attempts off at ES as well, they just didn’t manage to find the back of the net this time around.

    Reaves is still injured, although they say he will probably be ready to go by the season opener, and both Tuch and Eakin left the game early so we don’t know what to expect there just yet. This means we could see some of the other F getting a last game in on Sunday. A serious injury would certainly open the door for Glass to get in the lineup, but Roy is still up as a viable option for 4 C if they feel Nosek is better served at wing and Pirri is still around hoping to stay up for the year. Glass, Kolesar, and Roy are all waiver exempt, so they could be kept up until the end and sent down last minute, but if they plan to drop somebody like Pirri or Zykov it will require waivers which means it will happen sooner rather than later. Personally I think Zykov has done enough to secure his spot in the lineup, maybe not as an every day guy and I’m still not completely sold on him as a 3rd liner, but he had a good preseason. Pirri was up and down, some good days and some not so great. I still don’t expect him to be waived, but right now he appears to still be on the bubble.

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