George McPhee talks about a blank canvas. Agents whisper to their clients about bigger roles resulting in bigger paydays. Players, who love the game and want to wring the most out of every game, focus on more ice time.
Opportunity is the buzz word at Golden Knights training camp. McPhee and head coach Gerard Gallant have some thoughts about their lineup for the coming season but nothing is in stone.
Some players will rise in the lineup while others will slip. It's about performance.
Take the left wing for example. Proven sniper James Neal is, "two, three maybe four weeks," away from returning to action according to McPhee. So, there is a hole atop the Golden Knights lineup. Everyone moves up a slot until Neal's return. Who makes the most of that window could find his lot in life entirely different. Maybe a fourth liner becomes a second liner. Opportunity is certainly knocking and the Golden Knights roster will be formed by those able to answer.
Here are nine players with the opportunity of an NHL lifetime:
Video: Hnidy and Lawless discuss the start of training camp
Griffin Reinhart - A top draft pick (4th overall to the Islanders in 2012) Reinhart has struggled to find his place in the NHL but a strong year of development in the AHL may have been just what he needed to make the step to full-time work.
Brendan Leipsic - Life with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a forward prospect got real tough with the organization drafting near the top of the first round for a several years and Leipsic got caught in a numbers game. He's proven to be a top player in the AHL - can he convert his game to the NHL is a key Vegas storyline in camp.
Shea Theodore - Potentially the largest benefactor of the expansion draft. A talented defender with power play skills - Theodore struggled to stick with the big club in Anaheim. But the opportunity for him to log top-four minutes is here in Vegas. It's all up to the player. Be dynamite and hold down a huge role. Struggle - and because he's on an entry level contract and doesn't require waivers - the AHL is still a possibility.
Video: Gerard Gallant on the first VGK training camp
William Karlsson - Six goals in 81 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season in a bottom six role. Has had the opportunity to play with elite talent on Team Sweden during international play and has looked good in those instances. He'll get a chance to play on a skill line during camp - how he performs will determine where he fits in the Vegas lineup.
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Tomas Hyka - Free agent European player showed lots of polish during rookie camp. Speed and skill. Now he'll have the opportunity to show if he can translate those talents to the NHL.
Tomas Nosek - Just 17 career NHL games, played prominent role in leading Grand Rapids Griffins to Calder Cup last season. Has the opportunity to earn a full-time NHL job.
Erik Haula - Wants more offensive zone work. Managed 15 goals in 72 games last season and 14 the year before in 76 games. A natural center - he could play in that position with Vegas but likely in the bottom six. But there will be openings on the wing higher in the lineup. With consistent linemates - is this a 20-goal man?
Oscar Lindberg - Analytics are positive and he scores at a high 5-on-5 rate but had limited opportunity in New York with the Rangers and scored eight goals. Can he flourish in a bigger role? May have to move to the wall in order to get the minutes needed for increased production.
Alex Tuch - Is he a full-time NHLer? Looked well ahead of the rest of the prospects at rookie camp. Big, fast and skilled. He's a power forward waiting for his chance.