The door which was never supposed to open for Brendan Leipsic is now ajar in every possible way.
Expansion creates opportunity and sometimes the most unlikely of heroes.
The Vegas Golden Knights have signed the 5-foot-9 and 170-pound winger to a two-year contract with an AAV of $650,000.
Leipsic will be given a long look at training camp and an NHL roster spot is his to lose. It's unlikely he'd clear waivers if Vegas were to try and send him to the American Hockey League and it would seem Leipsic's NHL time is now.
"I've got a chance, that's all that matters," said Leipsic. It was a bit of a logjam for myself in Toronto - they've had lots of high picks the last few years and it pushed me down the depth chart. I was happy when Vegas selected me. Opportunities like this don't come around very often so I'm going to give this my best chance to be successful."
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Leipsic finds himself on his second NHL contract and that's no small feat for a player so many have bet against since he first jammed his feet into a pair of skates.
This reporter cannot count how many times he's written that Leipsic wasn't supposed to make it in hockey. Imagine how many times the actual player has heard it?
Too small they said. Can't make in major junior. Four seasons and 302 points later and he was off to pro hockey - a third round pick of the Nashville Predators.
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Junior is one thing, however, pro hockey is another went the thinking.
Again, the doubters have been proven wrong as Leipsic as developed into a point-a-game player
in the AHL - putting up 51 points in 49 games last season with the Toronto Marlies.
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The NHL? He scored in his first game with the Maple Leafs. His parents Greg and Kathleen endured a planes, trains and automobiles day travelling from Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Seattle to Vancouver before squeezing into their seats to watch the Canucks host their son's Leafs.
The dynamo son tipped a puck into the Canucks net and Kathleen jumped into Greg's lap. He'd done it again. This time in the greatest league of all.
"Portland gave me a chance in junior and every year I got better and better. Nashville and Milwaukee game me a chance in the AHL - I've progressed there and grew in all areas of the game," said Leipsic. "Everywhere I've gone and been given a chacne - I've taken advantage of it. Hopefully in Vegas I can do the same."
Golden Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon has watched Leipsic for most of his life. First as a minor hockey player in Manitoba and then in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks.
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"He's just a driven kid. Now a man, I guess," said McCrimmon, following the Golden Knights selection of Leipsic in the expansion draft. "Bet against him at your peril. He's made a career out of proving people wrong."
Leipsic wasn't the only player Vegas signed on Saturday as GM George McPhee signed defenseman Griffin Reinhart for two years at an AAV of $800,000.
"I've only had a small taste in the NHL so it's hard to say what kind of player I can be," said Leipsic. "In the AHL, I've been a skill player who makes plays. But at the end of last year and into the playoffs - I started to get to play a role on our PK and in key defensive situations as well as providing offense. I think I can play up and down the lineup. Wherever I'm needed - I'll do the job I'm asked. I know it's cliché but it's true. I'll try and get my feet wet and get into the league - but once I'm there and I show people what I can do - I think I can expand my role."