Prospect Report By: NHLPROSPECTREPORT
I wish they just went with the Vegas Knights instead of the Golden Knights. I think it just sounds better.
I could write all day about the Vegas Golden Knights. They are by far the most successful expansion team EVER after one short season, but what does the future hold?
If you asked me before last season what to expect from the Knights I would have said, "They aren't going to be good. In fact, I predict they finish in the bottom five with the best possible outcome being making the playoffs... only to be crushed in the first round."
I can admit I was very wrong. However I don't think a lot of people had Vegas pegged to go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, but they did, and history was made.
The inaugural season for the Knights was fun to watch right out of the gate. With the line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith supplying the offence, and Fleury having an unbelievable year in net they were able to shock the NHL.
However, to their own detriment, they became "buyers" at the NHL trade deadline.
For a team that had just stockpiled five picks after the expansion draft in 2017 (one in 2018, three in 2019 and one in 2020) the building process looked optimistic. That is until the NHL trade deadline last year. They sold their first overall pick who turned into Joe Veleno, an exciting centre who joins a loaded group of prospects in Detroit. On top of that they also sent their 2019 2nd-Round Pick and their 2021 3rd-Round Pick.
That is a premium to pay for any player, let alone Tatar who averaged around 40 points in his last four seasons. The main reason he was so expensive is he is not a rental, he's signed through 2020 and does help add a second line scoring punch they lacked at times in the regular season.
In my opinion this was the only stupid thing Vegas' GM George McPhee has done so far, so we can forgive him. He killed it in the expansion draft and he absolutely hit on his first ever pick for the Knights with center Cody Glass.
Glass is a future 1st/2nd line two-way center for this Vegas squad and having him behind the Karlsson line will make for a great 1/2 combo down the middle for years to come.
Cody's coach in Portland compares him to Ryan Johansen, and I agree with the comparison. They are both two-way centers that can contribute offensively.
They also both played for the Winterhawks and were both the same size and weight in their draft year. If Glass can have a comparable career to Ryan, that would be a fantastic career for any player. At 6 foot 2 and 180 pounds he still needs to add some more to his frame, but he is definitely NHL ready. Furthermore he is also the only elite prospect in their entire prospect system because the Knights went into "Win Now Mode" which caused a bit of a rift in the prospect pipeline.
Cody absolutely dominated the WHL in Portland this year putting up 102 points in 64 games. That was good enough to finish tied for 6th in scoring.
I was able to catch him play against the Calgary Hitmen and he looked like a man among boys. I can't say much about his defence because he didn't spend anytime in his own zone. He and Kieffer Bellows combined for 6 points but they could have easily has 12 at the rate they were going. Knights fans have every reason to be excited about their number one prospect.
Rumor has it that Glass is coming to the NHL this season as a permanent fixture. A two way center with great playmaking ability and good speed I see him in a 2nd or 3rd line role with about 40-50 points in his rookie year barring injury.
I expect Vegas to come back down to earth this season and not breeze their way to a cup final. So Vegas fans might think missing the playoffs might not be as fun, but Vegas desperately needs to stock the prospect cupboard. With Glass becoming an NHL regular, the cupboard is basically empty.
At time of publication Vegas is loaded up with six picks in the first three rounds in 2019. McPhee and his scouts have a lot of work to do to prepare for the 2019 draft to make sure every one is a future NHL’er.
Vegas were already a fun team to watch last season. Now there's one more reason to follow the most exciting expansion team in NHL history.