The Golden Knights looked to make history in the first NHL Entry Draft in franchise history. Not only did they look to do that by making some great picks, but they also did that by having not 1 but 3 first round selections in the top 15. This was a first for any expansion team. General Manager George McPhee made history by picking up 3 total 1st round picks in the top 15 picks of the draft. No other expansion team in NHL history has ever come into their first Entry Draft with this many selections.

Let’s get right into the selections…

With the first pick in franchise history, the Golden Knights went with center Cody Glass from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. This was pick #6 of the Entry Draft.

Prospect Break Down – Cody Glass 

Name: Cody Glass
Position: Center
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 179 lbs.
Shoots: Right Handed

What do the scouts say about him?

Here are Dobbers Prospects thoughts on the Glass 

Observations:

March 2017 – Perhaps one of the most underrated or undervalued prospects in the 2017 draft class. Glass has good size, and can impact the game both offensively and defensively. Glass has had a breakout season in his draft year more than tripling his offensive production and assuming the role of first line center for the Portland Winterhawks. Glass had a strong showing at the Top Prospects Game in Quebec, but has no international experience for Canada and is relatively unknown outside the WHL as a result. He has seen marked improvements in his skating and strength adding about ten pounds this season. Glass thinks the game fast, has a high hockey IQ and has great vision combined with soft hands and excellent puck skills. His compete level is elite and the main development opportunity for Glass is to continue to add strength and mass to his projectable 6-2 frame. Don’t be surprised to see Glass selected in the top ten of the 2017 NHL draft. If he goes later than that we could look back on this draft and say what a steal.

They also give him an A- fantasy outlook and rate his potential as a top six two-way NHL center.

Elite prospects had this to say about Glass

“A dangerous two-way center that thinks the game at a high level, never making the same mistake twice. He is analytical and patient in the development of his strengths. He transitions up-ice quickly and is able to create and dictate offensive chances on the rush. He attacks hard and fast and consistently displays excellent puck control. His decision making is very good, indicative of his high level of hockey sense. He plays a complete game and elevates his play as energy levels rise. At the next level, he will need to be even faster and more physically assertive to make his presence felt. All-in-all, an intense, quick-thinking competitor who can elicit a crowd’s excitement when he’s on the ice. (Curtis Joe, EP 2017)”

What did Puck Planet writers say about him?

here is a snippet from an article that the Puck Planet writing staff put together about this player. You can find the full article here.

Cody Glass is one of the most complete hockey players in this draft class in my honest opinion. He is a player who simply put just makes the right play and does it at full speed. He isn’t someone who is going to make you drop your jaw with highlight reel moves and plays every time he’s on the ice (though he is capable of that from time to time) but he is someone who just continues to play very good consistent solid hockey. He is putting up solid numbers playing for the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL. Glass put up 32 goals and 62 assists for a whopping 94 points in just 69 total games played this last season (2016-2017). He has been steadily moving up the draft rankings all season and the closer we get to draft time the more its looking like a team is going to be very happy to pick up Glass at any spot in the first round. As I mentioned before Glass is a complete hockey player. What do I mean by that? Well, he is a player who can play well on the top powerplay unit, the top penalty-kill unit, even strength, 4-4, 3-3, you name it and he can do it and do it well. There are few players in this draft class who sport such a versatile skill set and ability to play in just about any situation as Glass.

How does he fit the Vegas Golden Knights system?

Glass will come into the team as the potential #1 center in the next couple of seasons. He has every chance, in my opinion, to make the team straight out of camp this next season. He has all the tools and abilities needed to step straight into the NHL ice next season. The Golden Knights may take the slower development path and keep him in the AHL for a season, but he will have every chance in camp to show that he is ready to play with the team right away. He will need to continue to add some

He will need to continue to add some muscle to his frame in order to really take his game to the next level in the NHL, but he already posses the ability to see the game at NHL speed and I could see him slotting into the #3, or possibly even #2 center positions for the Golden Knights to start the 2017-2018 season. Don’t be surprised if he is bumped up to a full-time top 2 player by

Don’t be surprised if he is bumped up to a full-time top 6 player by midway through his rookie season. Glass is a very smart player and I don’t think that it will take too long for him to pick up the nuances of the NHL game.

Here is a highlight video of his 2016-2017 season.

 

With the second pick in franchise history, the Golden Knights went with center Nick Suzuki from the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. This was pick #13 of the Entry Draft.

Prospect Break Down – Nick Suzuki 

Name: Nick Suzuki
Position: Center
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 183 lbs.
Shoots: Right Handed

What do the scouts say about him?

Here are Dobbers Prospects thoughts on the Suzuki

Observations:

March 2017 – Suzuki is an undersized dynamic offensive player who uses his speed and playmaking ability to impact the game. While slightly undersized he is not shy to play physically and go to the net or dig for pucks in the corner. Suzuki thinks the game fast and has the hands and feet to match which makes him a projectable NHL player. Suzuki has a motor that won’t quit on plays and he is a reliable back checker as well making him an effective two-way player. Suzuki made a strong impression as a rookie year scoring 20 goals for the Owen Sound Attack and had a strong showing to start his draft year at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament for Canada with a goal and three points in four games, this season his offensive totals have exploded with 45 goals and 95 points. Despite being a short player, he is strong on the puck, has speed and skill to burn and is a smart player, he will play in a top six role in the NHL when he is ready.

They also give him an A- fantasy outlook and rate his potential as a top six two-way NHL center.

Elite prospects had this to say about Suzuki

A smart offensive center who thinks the game at a fast pace and makes very good decisions on a consistent basis. Though he may not be the biggest player on the ice, Suzuki plays a thick, sturdy game and is hard to knock off the puck, especially when he has his feet moving. He’s an excellent skater that knows his own game well. Skilled with the puck and has a high level of hockey sense. This blend of talent and work ethic is hard to come by, invaluable in the long run. [EP 2017]

How does he fit the Vegas Golden Knights system?

Similarly to the Golden Knights first selection, Suzuki will have a chance in training camp to show the coaches and general manager Geroge McPhee that he is ready to play in the NHL this season. While he faces some of the same issues that Glass will have at the NHL level he is already a very solid player. He will need to put on some more muscle, but he all ready posses extreme balance and is difficult to knock off the puck. I think that he will have every chance to show he is ready for the NHL this season as well, but he is someone who might benefit a bit more from a year of AHL hockey. That being said I would not be that surprised if the team decided to give both Glass and Suzuki at least 5-9 games in the NHL to start the regular season before making the decision on either sending one or both down or keeping them up for the full season and burning year 1 of their contracts. (If a player stays up with the NHL and plays 10 games or more it counts as year one of their contracts, that is why some teams decide to keep a young player on their NHL club for a few games right after drafting them to decide if they are really ready to stick in the NHL or if they might benefit from a year of jrs. or AHL hockey.)

Here is a highlight video of his 2016-2017 season.

With the third pick in franchise history, the Golden Knights went with defencemen Erik Brännström from HV71 of the SHL. This was pick # 15 of the Entry Draft.

Prospect Break Down – Erik Brännström

Name: Erik Brännström
Position: defencemen
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 179 lbs.
Shoots: Left Handed

Here are Dobbers Prospects thoughts on Brännström

Observations:

June 2017 – Brännström is a smallish but strong, fast skating and cerebral, possession-oriented blueliner. He doesn’t yield to physical play or opponent pressure, remaining highly aware and opportunistic on the ice regardless of the situation. Determined and scrappy, he can run a mean power play and move the puck with confidence from zone to zone accurately and swiftly. Creates scoring chances with his powerful shot and playmaking acumen. Threads precision passes even in traffic. Sticks to his game on defense, rarely making mistakes or getting forced out of position. Frustrating to play against his disciplined game, which generates turnovers and forced, ill-advised passes. Has great gap control and wields the stick well to slow rival skaters. A team leader on the ice that loves to compete.

They also give Brännström a fantasy outlook of A- and think that he has the potential to be a “Smart and strong two-way leader with a laser shot. Undersized for the prototypical d-man, but shouldn’t be a fatal flaw.”

Elite prospects had this to say about Brännström

A puck moving defenseman with excellent skating skills. Brännström has impressive offensive instincts and hockey sense. Plays a pretty good defensive game, which will improve further with increased strength to go with his rather modest height. Passing ability stands out, shot is good and he loves to control the PP. (EP 2017)

How does he fit the Vegas Golden Knights system?

With Brännström the Golden Knights may have gone out on a little bit of a reach at this point in the draft, but the scouting department for the Knights has spent a long time out in overseas watching him play. I feel like he is a year or 2 out from making the NHL team as a full-time player, but the more I find out about this kid and the more I watch him play the more excited I get for him to be with the Knights organization. He has got every chance in the world of continuing his development and working his way into the top 4 of the Golden Knights defense group down the line. He is a very exciting player who can really move the puck and get things going offensively from the back end which is something that you really need to have at the NHL level these days.

Here is a highlight video of his 2016-2017 season.

With the fourth pick in franchise history, the Golden Knights went with defensemen Nicolas Hague from the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. This was pick # 34 of the Entry Draft.

Prospect Break Down – Nicolas Hague

Name: Nicolas Hague
Position: defencemen
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 214 lbs.
Shoots: Left Handed

Here are Dobbers Prospects thoughts on Hague

“Hague should be the first defenceman taken from the OHL, he has a tremendous package of size, skating and offensive ability. His performance this season has not been as dominant as I had predicted but big defencemen sometimes develop a little slower. The point is he has developed this year and his ceiling is very high. To acquire defencemen of his abilities in the NHL you have to draft them so look for Hague to go off the board early in the first round.

Brett Otten of OHL Prospects had this to say about Hague

“I’m sure many will focus on his size and projection as a shut down type of defender. But I’d rather talk about the interesting progression of his offensive game. He’s not your prototypical offensive defender. He’s not a particularly dynamic player off the rush and I don’t think he’s got a natural feel as a puck carrier/distributor. But, he uses his size exceptionally well in the offensive end. Consistently pinches in deep to keep pucks in, and actually plays a lot below the hash marks, using his size to work the cycle. He’s smart about it though and doesn’t get caught up ice all that much. Then there’s the big point shot. He does a great job of finding scoring lanes and he actually does a good job of using different releases to get it through to the net. I don’t know how much that will translate to the next level, but the improvements and confidence in his ability to make things happen in the offensive end is worth noting.”

How does he fit the Vegas Golden Knights system?

Hague is a prospect that I have been intrigued by for some time now. I am very happy to see that the Golden Knights were able to pick him up when they did. I absolutely love his size and the way that he uses it. At 6’6″ he is a monster of a man when he has his skates on and he uses that big size and frame well in his own end, but also on the offensive end of the rink as well. He will not blow you away ala Erik Karlsson with his speed and puck carrying ability but he has definitely shown a marked improvement in his offensive game. If he continues to learn how to best use that big frame and can keep improving and developing I see no reason why he would not find himself with the Golden Knights a year or 2 down the road. He is a prospect that I have been very high on and I think is going to have a great career. He is still a bit rough in some areas, but that is nothing that a season or 2 in the AHL can’t fix. Look for Hague to have a strong camp but be sent to the AHL for a season or 2 to continue to polish and hone his craft. He could be one of the first 2 call ups if injury strikes as early as next season as well.

Here is a highlight video of his 2016-2017 season.

This article is getting a bit lengthy, so I will continue working on the rest of the picks in part 2 of this article that can be found here.

What do you think of the first few picks the Golden Knights made in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft? Are you excited to see what they look like in prospect camp next week? I will be there to bring you all your Golden Knights news next week!

 

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How Did the Golden Knights Do In Their First NHL Entry Draft In Franchise History?
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How Did the Golden Knights Do In Their First NHL Entry Draft In Franchise History?
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How did the Golden Knights do in their first ever NHL Entry Draft? Here is a little spoiler, pretty dang good! Check out the article for all your info on it
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Ryan

Ryan Crappa is the 29-year-old owner and manager of Puck Planet. He has been a very passionate hockey fan, and more specifically Colorado Avalanche fan going on 17 years now. There have been very few seasons that he has missed more than a couple of games in very dire situations. He has always had a passion for writing as well from a young age. Roughly three years ago when another opportunity was coming to an end he decided to take as many classes and courses as he could to begin to prepare himself to launch this project. Three years later here we are today. If you would like to hear more about Ryan Crappa, the website, or any of the amazingly passionate and talented writers that we have on staff feel free to contact him at RyanCrappa@PuckPlanet.com

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