Owen Tippett can score. A lot. He’s also 18 years old.
That’s the kind of guy the Vegas Golden Knights need to build around for the future, and that’s who Knights On Ice selects with the No. 6 pick in our NHL Mock Draft at SB Nation.
The Golden Knights are going to be drowning in draft hulabaloo next week. Of course, with the expansion draft, but there’s the matter of getting young talent to groom. Marc-Andre Fleury could be a Vegas resident by this time next week, and the thought of getting a quality netminder with a few good years left is exciting. He’ll probably love the Paris Hotel & Casino.
But as good friend of the site Jesse Granger of the Las Vegas Sun pointed out on ESPN Radio Las Vegas Monday, the offensive firepower will be limited in the expansion draft. Vegas has an opportunity to shore up its defensive lines with really good players. Offensively, not so much.
That’s why Tippett is the right choice.
That comes with some caveats. Again, Tippett is 18 years old. He’s not old enough to gamble on the Strip. That’s not the reason why he’ll probably begin his professional career in Moline, Illinois with Quad City, or even in the AHL with Chicago. He’s got the size at 6-foot-2 to be a great wing and finds any and all ways to score. Case in point, Tippett scored 52 goals in 2015 with the Toronto Red Wings of the GTMMHL, and tallied 44 goals last year for the Mississauga Steelheads.
Owen Tippett prospect profile & scouting report | SB Nation 20...
Get to know Owen Tippett, a deadly OHL sniper who could go in the top five of the 2017 NHL Draft.Posted by SB Nation NHL on Monday, May 22, 2017
But he’s still 18 years old, and throwing him into the front line (or any line, for that matter) in Vegas is not the best way to develop him.
Tippett is the No. 7 prospect on NHL.com’s big board. He’s capable of being a big-time star in this league with a couple of years to groom. The Golden Knights are in a great position. They’re not expected to compete right away. Hell, Bovada has them at 150-1 to win the Stanley Cup next year, so it’s not like Tippett would be the ultimate difference maker that provides the greatest story in sports. Stash him in Chicago or Moline for now, bring him up in a couple of years and begin the “face of the franchise talks.”
What? Too soon?
It’s going to take time for the Golden Knights to establish some offensive firepower, but this is as good a time as any to start. The hype around guys like Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are well warranted, but given the spot Vegas is in with this draft, Tippett is not a bad consolation prize.