Roster turnover is a necessity for every team in the NHL during the offseason. As teams begin to make moves toward their opening night rosters for the 2021-22 season, the Vegas Golden Knights made two moves Saturday that will impact the make-up of next year's team.
Vegas sent Cody Glass to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Nolan Patrick whom the Predators had acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers earlier Saturday morning. The Golden Knights simultaneously sent a 2022 fourth-round pick and defenseman Nick DeSimone to the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Brett Howden.
Patrick was selected second overall at the 2017 NHL Draft - four spots ahead of where Vegas took Glass at sixth overall. Howden was also a first-round pick as the Tampa Bay Lightning selected him 27th overall in 2016 before flipping him to New York in a deal that included the likes of Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller.
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon was part of Patrick's development as a player with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL where McCrimmon coached the highly touted forward for four seasons.
"I know the player extremely well," McCrimmon said of Patrick. "I know what he's capable of. He's accomplished a fair bit in the NHL as a young player. He had a 30-point season and a 31-point season in his first two years in the NHL."
Patrick has dealt with injury setbacks already in his career which forced him to miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season. When he came back last season, Patrick posted nine points (4G, 5A) in 52 games for a Flyers team that missed the playoffs. Despite a drop in his production, McCrimmon said he's confident that Patrick's potential outweighs the obstacles he's had to overcome.
"For any player, there's a timeframe needed to get back and that's magnified with a young player," McCrimmon said. "I'm comfortable and confident because I know this player well."
McCrimmon noted that a change of scenery might be just what it takes for Patrick to reach the heights that second overall picks before him have reached. Patrick said that the move to Vegas signifies a step in the right direction for his development.
"I was excited when I heard the news," Patrick said. "It wasn't the year I wanted in Philly last year and I think a fresh start is the best thing for me. Coming to an organization like Vegas is extremely exciting."
Adding young players like Patrick and Howden to the fold gives the Golden Knights the opportunity to help the two players maximize their potential on a team that's already poised to win. While they have many years ahead of them in their careers, McCrimmon mentioned that both Patrick and Howden are ready to make an impact on the team with their current body of work.
"We think both of these players have positives things ahead of them and a lot of runway to work with as players," McCrimmon said. "They're players that we think are going to contribute to our team."
Howden said that the positivity he's already received from McCrimmon and the Golden Knights organization give him extra confidence heading into 2021-22 as he aims to add to the success the franchise has seen in just four seasons.
"I think [McCrimmon] knows the kind of player I can be," Howden said. "For him to show confidence in me by grabbing me in this deal means a lot and it's good for my confidence."