Skip to main content

Future Watch – Vegas Golden Knights: Winnow and then

The Knights shocked the world by becoming instant contenders. Despite dealing assets, the future’s bright, too.

C+ / 25th overall

One season into existence, the Golden Knights were a stunning Stanley Cup finalist. A year later, they’re in the thick of things again. It would be easy to assume Vegas had therefore cast aside its plan to develop players via the draft and maintain a long-term approach to be a success story. That’s not the case. The Golden Knights didn’t gamble away all their future for immediate gratification. The winning came early, and they remain Cup contenders, yet they have still maintained a deep talent pool – even with the departure of prospects Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom this season.

VEG_Trend

1. Cody Glass (3rd overall)
C, 19, 6-2, 185 – Portland (WHL)
38–15–54–69–18
2017 draft, 6th overall
Ask anyone who the top Vegas prospect is, and the answer is instantaneously Glass despite the injury issues. “There’s been nights you could say he is too good for this league,” said one WHL insider of Glass, who was second in scoring for Canada at the WJC. “He’s the real deal. He’s got size, and his skills are unbelievable. He could be a little more selfish and shoot more, but he is such a profound playmaker, which is what he focuses on. There is nothing not to like about his game.”
FW18| No. 1 - NHL | 2019-20

2. Nikita Gusev (84th overall)
LW, 26, 5-9, 180 – St. Petersburg (KHL)
62–17–65–82–10
Trade (TB), June 21, 2017
He might not be a conventional prospect at his age, but there’s still hope the Russian standout will come to Vegas and erase the bad memories of the Vadim Shipachyov experiment. Gusev was literally all-world last season, winning gold and an earning an all-star nod at the Olympics before capping the year as MVP of the KHL. It’s no better than 50/50 the Golden Knights are able to get him to North America, however. He apparently doesn’t have a burning desire to play in the NHL.
FW18| No. 6 - NHL | 2019-20

3. Nicolas Hague (94th overall)
D, 20, 6-6, 215 – Chicago (AHL)
57–10–14–24–30
2017 draft, 34th overall
A year ago, the towering high-end offensive blueliner needed to work on his defensive game. Consider that box checked. He’s now learned to use his height and reach to keep foes at bay. “You could see all along he had that offensive club in his bag,” said Chicago Wolves coach Rocky Thompson. “He’s playing heavy minutes, activates on the rush, has a good one-timer and a nose for the net. Now that he is developing defensively, he could turn out to be a No. 1-style D-man.”
FW18| No. 4 - NHL | 2020-21

4. Jake Leschyshyn
C, 19, 5-11, 191 – Lethbridge (WHL)
63–35–39–74–42
2017 draft, 62nd overall
Break out the thesaurus. Get every synonym possible for the word reliable, then insert a photo of Leschyshyn. He’s not going to wow anyone most nights, but he owns a decent skill set. His best attribute is being a consummate pro despite his age. “He was what the Hurricanes needed when they got him from Regina,” said the WHL insider. “He’s not going to blow you away with his offense, but he’s still very capable. Dependable is the word that comes to mind right away. He gives you an honest effort every night.”
FW18| No. 5 - NHL | 2021-22

5. Stanislav Demin
D, 18, 6-2, 194 – Denver (NCHC)
32–4–9–13–12
2018 draft, 99th overall
All the ingredients for a solid, possibly high-end, two-way defenseman were there when the Golden Knights selected the California-grown product out of the B.C. Junior League. Instead of moving him to major junior, Vegas was more than happy to let him sit in the slow cooker. Demin is already making good strides, playing a little above average for a freshman blueliner.“He is potentially a go-to player who will benefit from playing three or four years with a good college program,” said an NCAA source.
FW18| n/a - NHL | 2023-24

6. Ben Jones
C, 20, 6-0, 194 – Niagara (OHL)
62–38–55–93–76
2017 draft, 189th overall
Well-rounded game as a two-way center. Good leader. Captains stacked OHL squad.

7. Jack Dugan
LW, 20, 6-2, 194 – Providence (HE)
34–10–21–31–44
2017 draft, 142nd overall
Power forward benefitting from extra year in USHL before this freshman NCAA season.

8. Dylan Coghlan
D, 21, 6-2, 189 – Chicago (AHL)
49–10–16–26–14
Free agent, Sept. 20, 2017
Nice growth in first pro season for all-around ‘D.’ Offense has carried over from junior.

9. Zach Whitecloud
D, 22, 6-1, 196 – Chicago (AHL)
56–6–17–23–34
Free agent, March 8, 2018
Not flashy. Moves puck quickly. Reliable. Produces without power-play time.

10. Lucas Elvenes
C, 19, 6-0, 168 – Rogle (Swe.)
38–3–16–19-4
2017 draft, 127th overall
Oozes skill. A quick, shifty, creative playmaker who makes opponents miss.

TOP HEADLINES

Eve Gascon

Eve Gascon: Carrying The Torch

With some advice from previous trailblazers in mind, Eve Gascon performed well in her QMJHL debut with the Olympiques. She has a bright future ahead.

NHL Puck

Swedish Women's Hockey League to Introduce Bodychecking

One of the world's top women's hockey leagues, the SDHL, has announced a pilot program introducing bodychecking for next season.

USATSI_18306721

What to Watch: Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues (Game 3)

There's just one game on tap on Saturday, but it's going to be a doozy. Here's the key for success for both the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues this evening.