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What Prospects Have The Golden Knights Signed?

Keeping tabs on Vegas' prospects who have been signed to Entry-Level Contracts

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Part of being a fan of an expansion team is learning a lot of new names.

All of these new players. All of these new coaches.

Forwards, defensemen, goalies and even draft picks! The fact that Vegas had a league-high 12 draft picks in June's NHL Entry Draft makes the task of learning everyone's name all the more difficult.

As does the terminology.

After all, these are players who are staying with junior teams who are signing pro contracts. Doesn't make sense, right?

Well this part, we can tell you is customary. Especially the three-year part. All players on this list have been signed to three-year, Entry-Level Contracts. Although their contracts don't officially begin until they turn pro, allowing them to remain with their junior teams this, and maybe even next season.

Here are the Golden Knights prospects who have been signed to Entry-Level Contracts so far.

Cody Glass
Drafted:
2017/1st round (6th overall)
Current Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Career Potential: Dynamic, franchise center

 

Video: Glass scores his first goal and puts Vegas ahead 2-0

 

The first draft pick in Golden Knights history played a few games for Vegas in preseason, and showed some of his potential.

Glass showed he can score.

He showed he can set plays up.

He showed that he can hang with the big boys.

This player has repeatedly stated that his goal is to play in the NHL by age 19. For him, this would be next season.

For now, he'll be playing another junior season for the Portland Winterhawks, with him he registered 94 points (32G, 62A) in 69 games last season. A common comparison for this player is to Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele.

 

 Video: Glass speaks on being first pick in Vegas history

 

Nick Suzuki
Drafted:
2017/1st round (13th overall)
Current Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Career Potential: First or second-line center

 

Video: VGK@VAN: Suzuki roofs a nifty backhander past Demko

 

Suzuki varies from Glass in that while Glass is 6-foot-3 and more carries the air of a true No. 1 center, Suzuki is smaller. But also quicker.

 Suzuki is the more explosive of the two. His acceleration is already world class, as are the quickness of his shot release and vision on the ice.

 At 5-foot-11 and only about 185 pounds, Suzuki could still fill out some. But it might be worth noting that his 96 points (45G, 51A) in 65 games were actually better than the numbers Cody Glass had.

If everything goes well, Suzuki might have more career potential than Glass. Although with less of a look of a traditional No. 1 center, it might be safe that Suzuki seems likely to slot in as a No. 1 or No. 2 center at the NHL level.

Either way, for the Golden Knights, Suzuki and Glass seem to be those No. 1s and No. 2s, in whatever order.

Both players showed flashes of their potential playing exhibition games for the club last week.

 

Video: Nick Suzuki speaks after being taken 13th overall 

 

Erik Brannstrom
Drafted:
2017/1st round (15th overall)
Current Team: HV71 (Sweden)
Career Potential: Mobile Defenseman, Power Play QB

 

Video: Vegas chose defenseman Erik Bransstrom 15th overall

 

Brannstrom is the sort of player that polarizes hockey's traditionalists.

RELATED: How did NHL Combine interview answers convince Vegas to take Brannstrom?

In the new NHL, where speed, quickness and agility are at a premium, Brannstrom is an absolute favorite. This player was the quickest player on the ice this summer at Development Camp, and like modern offensive defensemen like Erik Karlsson and Ryan Ellis, has shown an ability to control the temp of the game from the blue line despite being undersized.

Brannstrom's being 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds is where his package of skills polarizes hockey traditionalists.

Where in the old days, it was expected for defensemen to be big and burly, to be able to outmuscle forwards, Brannstrom doesn't have these traditional attributes. Rather, he relies on his speed, smarts and hockey sense to outfox forwards.

At his best, Brannstrom projects as a top-4 defenseman capable of running a power play.

For now, he is the only one of the Golden Knights prospects not playing in juniors, instead playing for HV71 in Sweden's top professional hockey league, against players of all ages.

 

Nic Hague
Drafted:
2017/2nd round (34th overall)
Current Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Career Potential: Shutdown defenseman with a little offensive upside

 

Video: VGK@VAN: Thompson finishes cross-ice dish from Hague

 

Nic Hague couldn't be more opposite of a player than Erik Brannstrom.

Where Brannstrom is small and quick, Hague is 6-foot-6 and already weighs 215 pounds at age 18. With this build, Hague has the wingspan of a pterodactyl, and uses his reach to easily guard opposing forwards.

Although for many players of his age of this size, Hague is still learning his body and growing into his body.

He played a few games for the Golden Knights during preseason, but will spend this season with the OHL's Mississauga Steelheads.

When Hague fully develops in the next 2-4 years, he projects as a shutdown defenseman at the NHL level. Although with 46 points in 65 junior games last year, he may be able to have a little more offensive punch than tradition defensive defensemen.

Still will mostly fill the role of a shutdown defenseman, probably.

 

Others Worth Noting

Dylan Ferguson: Was drafted by the Dallas Stars, rather than the Golden Knights, in this June's NHL Entry Draft, and was then traded to Vegas within the week. Ferguson secured a shutout in Vegas' 4-0 win against the LA Kings in Rookie Camp, and then defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the team's preseason opener on September 17. Now a Golden Knights prospect and under contract, he will play this season for the WHL's Kamloops Blazers.

 

Video: VGK@VAN: Ferguson stones Archibald on breakaway

 

Dylan Coghlan: Never drafted, but earned himself an NHL contract during invites to Golden Knights Development and Rookie Camps. Was one of the best players on the ice in both of these camps. 19-yer-old defenseman will play for the WHL's Tri-City Americans this season, which will probably be his last in juniors. Probably destined for AHL duty in Chicago in 2018-19.

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