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NHL Draft

Playing for Golden Knights intrigues top prospects

Players excited by opportunities with expansion team, which has three picks in first round of NHL Draft

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Each of the top prospects eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas agreed that great opportunity awaits those chosen by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Brandon center Nolan Patrick, No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, is expecting the unexpected after witnessing how industrious Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was in building his foundation at the NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

He anticipates a lot more activity when the first round of the draft begins at United Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Rounds 2-7 are Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN).

"It was really cool," Patrick said. "George McPhee knows what he's doing and seeing all those trades he made and the players and draft picks he picked, he's obviously doing the right thing. Vegas looks good so it'll be interesting to see what's going to happen on Friday and Saturday. Vegas now has a few picks in the first round, so we'll see what happens."

 

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The Golden Knights acquired 10 draft picks over the next four years to help build for the future. They have three in the first round of the 2017 draft.

Patrick was asked about the possibility of playing for the Golden Knights during the top prospects media availability during the Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tour on Thursday at the Navy Pier. He was joined by Halifax center Nico Hischier, No. 2 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, Eden Prairie center Casey Mittelstadt, Windsor center Gabriel Vilardi, Portland center Cody Glass, Mississauga right wing Owen Tippett and Dynamo Moscow left wing/center Klim Kostin.

"It would be awesome to be drafted by Vegas; the first player to be drafted by that team would be special," Patrick said. "But, again, I have no idea what's going to happen so I guess we'll wait and see."

Many believe the New Jersey Devils, who hold the No. 1 pick, will choose either Patrick or Hischier. The Philadelphia Flyers would then choose whichever player is left with the No. 2 choice.

Hischier didn't seem too concerned with all the moves made by Vegas.

"I followed what they did but I don't have too many expectations because I'm open to anything," Hischier said. "I know they'll be a possibility that more trades will happen. I'm here to enjoy Chicago; enjoy the draft with my family.

"It's hard to believe that the draft is less than 24 hours away. The time went fast and I'm really looking forward to it to know where I'm going."

Cody Glass, No. 6 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, said playing for Vegas would be a great opportunity.

"I watched the expansion draft and I think with Vegas there's a lot of opportunity for young players, and that would be an awesome spot to land," he said. "I look forward to what Vegas has in the cards in the future. I know there will be a lot of opportunity as a young kid to play there, but it's very hard to make an NHL team. You have to work extremely hard."

Kostin, No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters, thinks Vegas would be a fine place to begin his career.

"It's a new young team in its first year and they made a lot of moves," Kostin said through an interpreter. "I think it would be very interesting to see what happens, or even play there."

Rasmussen, No. 5 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, played in a hockey tournament in Las Vegas five years ago. He remembers it well.

"It's nice weather, good shopping and sites, and the hockey was great," he said. "I see nothing but positive things for this expansion team. They are an NHL team and competing for the Stanley Cup, so I'd feel the same going to them or to any another team. I would be honored to play for them."

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