What happens in Vegas, stays in….
Actually, nevermind. That saying isn't true anymore. At least when it comes to the Vegas Golden Knights.
As the team continues to scratch off milestones as it builds its way towards its first Opening Night, the hockey world has taken notice.
This week, when the Golden Knights signed junior free agent Reid Duke as the first player in franchise history, perhaps no group paid more attention than teenagers across Canada.
Especially those teenagers who play junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League.
18-year-old Mississauga Steelheads defenseman Nicolas Hague has been writing a monthly blog for NHL.com this season chronicling his journey to this June's NHL Entry Draft.
In this week's blog, Hague went out of his way to comment on Duke's signing in Vegas.
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"To close the diary this month, I just wanted to congratulate Brandon (Wheat Kings) forward Reid Duke for becoming the first player in the history of the Vegas Golden Knights," Hague wrote. "I don't know Reid and haven't seen him play since he is in the Western Hockey League, but I saw the news on Twitter."
Yes, you read that correctly.
Hague doesn't know Duke. And with his Steelheads part of the Ontario Hockey League and Duke's Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League, the two never play against each other, either.
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Nicolas Hague and Reid Duke don't even play the same position.
These two juniors, separated in age by three years, have no connection to each other whatsoever, except they both play hockey (a rather loose connection, we know).
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Hague's comments, however, speak to a larger truth. That as teenagers, the top hockey prospects in Canada, see news about our expansion franchise, that many see Vegas as the land of opportunity.
Where for many of them, rather than fighting their ways through crowded depth charts with established franchises, they see the newness of the Golden Knights as a legitimate opportunity to establish themselves with an NHL organization quickly.
"I think it's the start of a new era with the new NHL team, and just the fact that their first player is coming out of the Canadian Hockey League is a testament to how good the CHL is at developing players," Hague added. "We all know the great players of the past who have gone on to do good things and are making waves in the NHL right now."
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Of course, Hague isn't one of the players eligible to be signed as a free agent. All 31 teams will have a crack at him in this June's Entry Draft.
His comments (read the full NHL.com blog HERE) are more a testament to the notice that elite young hockey talent is starting to pay the Golden Knights.
What happens in Vegas, in some cases, may stay here.
Although it seems that word about the Golden Knights travels rather quickly.