The Vegas Golden Knights have inked a member of their inaugural draft class to his first NHL contract. Forward Jonas Rondbjerg, selected by the Knights in the third round in 2017, has agreed to terms on his entry-level contract, the team announced. While the team confirmed that it is a three-year term, as required by the CBA, no financial terms have been disclosed.
Rondbjerg, 20, was the sixth player selected by Vegas two years ago and their first ever European forward. A native of Denmark, Rondbjerg has quickly established himself as one his country’s top young players. A two-time participant at the World Junior Championship, Rondbjerg led Denmark in scoring in 2018 and 2019, managing to impress despite the team’s lack of talent and success. He has also enjoyed an early start to his pro career, having played the past two seasons with the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League. Although Rondbjerg’s offensive totals are not eye-catching – he has 17 points in 80 games over two seasons – he has nevertheless played a critical energy role for Vaxjo, displaying a strong two-way game, especially for such a young player. Rondbjerg’s work ethic and tenacity are the hallmarks of his game and pair nicely with his high hockey IQ. He may not be the biggest, fastest, or strongest player on the ice, but he is always involved in the play and making smart decisions. His willingness to play a checking role is not to say he doesn’t also have ample skill as well.
Rondbjerg is still likely a few years away from being a regular at the NHL level, but he will certainly work hard in training camp and in the AHL to try to prove he is ready for an opportunity. With a mature game and pro attitude, he may not be far off if his game translates to North America. A young player who is comfortable in a bottom-six role, can play either wing, and can flash offensively is a nice depth piece, making Rondbjerg a valuable addition for Vegas.
This may not be the final entry-level deal for the Golden Knights before the end of the month. Russian goaltender Maxim Zhukov, the next player selected after Rondbjerg in 2017, remains unsigned and his draft rights expire on June 1st. If Vegas wishes to sign Zhukov, who admittedly had a tumultuous season between the OHL and USHL but has good size and a positive track record prior to this year, they must do so in the next 24 hours.