Remember back when Vegas were a new team and only had one guy on their roster, then a couple of months later after the expansion draft they were a bad team hoping to just keep games competitive where they could?
Yeah, how did that go? Oh yeah, Vegas are in the Stanley Cup Finals…this is technically their worst performing season as well…
Writing posts on how nobody believed in this team (even the people who now say they did all along) has been done to death, so instead lets catch up on the first ever member of the Vegas Golden Knights, Reid Duke.
Remember Reid Duke? The guy playing in the WHL who signed for Vegas then made all those hilarious videos with the team repeating the same joke about him not having teammates? I personally thought those were funny.
Anyway, back when Duke signed for Vegas in the 2016/17 season he was playing in his fifth full year in the WHL. After initially making his WHL debut for the Lethbridge Hurricanes after they took him fifth overall in the WHL Bantam Draft in 2011, he was traded in September 2014 to the Brandon Wheat Kings where he finished up his major junior career.
A year later in his first full season with the Wheat Kings he helped them to a WHL Championship, posting 62 points in 68 games.
After his time in the WHL was all said and done, and he was a member of the Golden Knights organisation he’d posted 254 points in 311 games, not bad for a player who was a sixth round pick of the Minnesota Wild back in 2014 but never signed with the team.
But his transition into the pro game wasn’t that smooth. Back in September before the NHL season began, Duke suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and missed a huge chunk of the season, initially expected to miss 4 – 6 months of action. A tough break for the player who’ll forever be a trivia question on future hockey related pub quiz’s be when the question is regarding the first ever signing by Vegas.
After rehabbing his shoulder injury and getting back to playing, it wasn’t smooth sailing still after failing to pick up a point in 14 games for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, also unable to register either a goal or an assist in two post season games for the Wolves as they were swept 3 – 0 by the Rockford Ice Hogs in the best of five first round of the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.
So it’s all been a bit anti-climatic for the player who made history last season. Now with a full off season ahead of him to continue to make sure his shoulder is back to 100%, and training camp to hopefully survive in September, maybe Reid Duke gets a crack at the NHL next season, or more likely…he has a better showing in the AHL in 2018/19.
A fresh season will probably do the 22-year-old centre the world of good as he finds his feet at the pro level.
Featured Image – Chase Stevens – Las Vegas Review-Journal