The Vegas Golden Knights May have had to wait until day two of the NHL draft, but just how well did they do this weekend in helping their team down the line?
Nobody expects you to find an NHL ready talent on day two, let alone outside the top 5 picks usually, so the Golden Knights will just have to keep pumping players into their prospect pool to try and make sure that the incredible inaugural season they’ve just had wasn’t one fuelled by hype, but more fuelled by an actually competitive team that will be just that for the foreseeable future.
Did the Golden Knights have a good draft this year? Well, not particularly. I mean it wasn’t a bad draft at all, but just not brilliant.
They traded their first pick away to get Tomas Tatar in February so it wasn’t until late in round two they made their first selection.
This is the pick they nailed. Ivan Morozov is a solid playmaking centreman out of Russia who plays a great two-way game. He’s not going to become the teams first line centre at all, but he’ll have the opportunity to be an impact guy once he makes the move to North America.
He’ll take some time to get his game to the NHL level and has just one game of KHL experience under his belt so this is a pick they’ll have to wait on, but once he gets to where they want him he should be good.
Morozov isn’t a player who’s going to dazzle you with skill or a blistering shot, but he plays with a lot of calmness and composure that mean he’s going to just quietly get the job done. He’s got good vision and reads the game well, and one of his major upsides is how solid he is defensively, especially on the penalty kill.
After Morozov however, there wasn’t anything really of note. Stanislav Demin is decent, Paul Cotter is okay, and after that there picks a loaded with future AHLers who may make the jump to the NHL as injury cover.
Xavier Bouchard could be something interesting to watch, he’s not the greatest defenseman but he certainly has potential to maybe be a bottom pairing guy in a few years time, but that’s a while down the line.
Vegas didn’t nail this draft but they don’t really need to. They’ve just had one hell of a year when nobody expected them too, and they’ve got stacks of picks coming up in the next two drafts.
In 2019 and 2020 they’ve got their own first round pick, and then a few in the second.
They’ve got their own second and Columbus’ in 2019, and then in 2020 they also have the second round picks of Dallas and Pittsburgh.
There isn’t a pressing need in Vegas to really nail the draft, yes it’s always better to nail the draft year in and year out to keep your prospect pool deep and turning out NHLers, but right now Vegas just need to nail free agency and nail their scouting ahead of next years draft.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic have the Golden Knights a C-minus rating for this years draft and that’s about right, but with rumoured interest in Erik Karlsson resurfacing, John Tavares a potential target, I don’t think they need to worry about one average draft down the line.