The Vegas Goldent Knights are in a much different situation than they were a season ago when there were little to no expectations in front of them. The team made the decision to protect their young prospects, returning them all to juniors as well as sending several key prospects such as Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL at the start of the season to protect as many of their players as possible.
However, this year looks like a whole different story. With the team without Nate Schmidt for 20 games and Theodore, who is holding out without a contract, there are many opportunities available to their young defensive prospects and several of them remain in camp, including Erik Brannstrom, Nicolas Hague and Jake Bischoff and it’s possible the team may keep one of them. Ken Boehlke of SinBin Vegas writes that head coach Gerard Gallant may have tipped his hand when asked about the prospects today.
“It’s always been we’re taking our best players,” said Gallant. “It’s not like the situation we had last year, if that’s what your trying to get to, it’s not like that situation, we want to win it’s a completely different scenario than it was last year.”
At the moment, the scribe writes that Brannstrom, the Golden Knights’ 15th-overall pick in 2017 is the leading candidate to win a NHL job. However, Hague, the team’s second-rounder in 2017, has also been extremely impressive on the power play.
- J.D. Burke of The Athletic (subscription required) released his stock report and writes that Vancouver Canucks winger Nikolay Goldobin has really impressed the team in the preseason and has his stock soaring high. The winger had a strong end-run with the Canucks late last season and the team had hoped that the 22-year-old might continue that streak this year. Goldobin has thrived on the team’s first line next to rookie Elias Pettersson and veteran Sven Baertschi. He’s improved his play and has proven to be both fitter and faster this season.
- Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun writes that the Edmonton Oilers should be happy with the impressive play of many of their young wingers, including Ty Rattie, Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi. Rattie may be the most impressive player so far as the 25-year-old has potted four goals and three assists in just two preseason games and is expected to play on the team’s first line alongside Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when the regular season begins.
- When the San Jose Sharks included center Chris Tierney in the Erik Karlsson trade with the Ottawa Senators, it opened up a spot in the Sharks lineup and two youngsters are quietly fighting hard for that center position, according to The Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka. Both Antti Suomela and Rourke Chartier have been impressive in recent preseason games as Suomela had two goals and an assist in his second preseason game on Thursday, while Chartier has had a goal and three assists in two games. Suomela came over from Finland’s Liiga after posting 43 goals over the last two seasons there. Cartier suffered through an injury-plagued season with the San Jose Barracuda in which he played in just 28 games, but still produced 21 points in that time.