If you’ve read or taken part in any of the live chats, you’ll know that I’ve firmly believed for a while that the Vegas Golden Knights would find a way to get into the top couple of picks to get their hands on Nolan Patrick. Darren Dreger of TSN lends credence to that idea, with a recent report that the Golden Knights are still pushing to get into the top three selections. He also mentions the New York Rangers, fresh off acquiring the seventh-overall selection as a possibility to move up again.
Vegas of course has a deep connection with Patrick through Assistant General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, who drafted and developed Patrick with the Brandon Wheat Kings before moving to the NHL’s expansion franchise. Patrick—or even Nico Hischier—would give the Knights an immediate player to market in the city as the first face of the franchise, especially as more and more believe he’s ready to make the jump next year.
With Vadim Shipachyov likely taking first-line center duties in the Golden Knights’ first season, Patrick (or Hischier) could be brought along in a more sheltered role and allowed to develop at his own pace. Don’t underestimate him though, as while he’s not Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews he does have tremendous potential to be an elite two-way center in the league.
For the Rangers, moving up to grab one of the top centers would be a huge move after trading away Derek Stepan earlier today. While Mika Zibanejad looks like he’ll be an excellent center for many years, adding another top prospect down the middle would be exciting for that fan base. They could also go after one of the top defensemen, with Miro Heiskanen and Cale Makar both getting top-pick love from around the scouting community. Those two have very different skill sets, but could both anchor play in a top pair in the future.
If either team does move up into the top three slots, it would mean one of New Jersey, Philadelphia or Dallas would be moving down. It’s not clear who is the most likely to do that, though the Stars have been clear about their willingness to move down if the right offer came along. With them also showing interest in the Golden Knights’ Marc Methot, hold on to your hats for the next few hours.