Editor’s note: Vegas finally has a roster. It’s time to get excited. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing you to these new Golden Knights players.
The Vegas Golden Knights had a chance to really hurt the Minnesota Wild in the expansion draft.
In order to keep assets such as Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Eric Staal, the Wild sent Alex Tuch to the Golden Knights along with Erik Haula, Vegas’ draft pick.
While Haula is a nice piece — and we will get to him in time — Tuch is the potential gem here. Here is what the U.S Development Program product has to offer.
The 18th overall pick in 2014, Tuch is 21 years old and recently made the jump to professional hockey by way of Boston College.
Tuch has the size and mindset to be a top-notch power forward at the NHL level. He has a fantastic shot and his stick-handling ability, with all signs pointing to the Golden Knights finding finding a consistent scorer in the NHL.
He’s a good skater for his size, though not the fastest, and has the hockey IQ to find himself in the right places. Finding ways to do that at the NHL level will be key to his success. Some, however, have questioned his willingness or ability to assert himself and his size consistently.
Numbers, numbers, numbers
The college hockey vs. junior hockey debate is an interesting one. Junior has more talent, but younger competition. This is especially true if you return after your draft year as an over-aged CHL player. While college doesn’t have the same level of high-end talent, you're guaranteed to play against much older competition.
Tuch's time in Boston College was fairly productive. Playing against men at least his age, if not older, he put up 28 points in his first season (37 games) which included 14 goals. In his second year he had 18-goals and 34 points in 40 games.
His time in the AHL wasn't exactly eye-popping, but was still more than solid for his age. In 57 games, he scored 18 goals and added 19 assists. He went scoreless in six NHL games, but that’s a small sample size.
While the Golden Knights definitely passed on good talent in favor of Tuch, they still came away with a very good prospect who has a very rare skillset. It’s not too often you find someone as big as Tuch who can skate well.
Best case scenario, if he can put his game together he could be a very good power forward for the Golden Knights much in the mold of a James van Riemsdyk.