The Chicago Wolves are the Vegas Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate. They have a lot of good prospects. If everything goes south and/or the Golden Knights aren’t healthy, someone will have to be called up.
But who? This will be an exploration of the AHL roster, so names like Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki are off the table. That still leaves many possible names, however. Here’s a look.
Tuch had 34 points in his sophomore season with Boston College and was called up to the Wild for six games last season. He played with the Iowa Wild for most of that season and totaled 37 points in 57 games. He plays on the right side as well, which will be important this season.
Duke has taken a step forward every year in the WHL. He finally had a season over a point-per-game last year. He’s killed it the playoffs each of the last two years, including 24 points in 21 games and three goals in four.
Duke has the potential to become a fan favorite. Partly because of the publicity already around him as the first Golden Knight — you know the video — but also because of his offensive ability. He could be called up sooner because of that.
Hyka was another early signing for the Golden Knights. He’s been playing in the Czech league and has made decent progress. The problem is, the last time he played on North American ice was in early 2013. European rinks are larger, so there’s more room to make plays. So, Hyka doesn’t strike me as the first call-up.
The 23-year-old was the Knights’ selection from the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s been in the AHL for the past three seasons with the Toronto Marlies but had his best year over the last season. Leipsic tallied 51 points including 18 goals over 49 games. He also got three points in six games in his only NHL taste two years ago.
The exciting sniper was traded during the NHL Draft from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s looked really good in the Western Hockey League for three seasons, having his best season this last year. He’s a right wing who’s able to make plays as well as score goals. He’s got NHL size, but the determination will be if he can control his penalties.
Nosek has been in the AHL for the last three years. Sharing time between the AHL and the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings, Nosek had 41 points, including 15 goals in just 51 games last year. He also added 22 points in 19 playoff games, including 10 goals. That’s the kind of player who can make a difference on this Golden Knights team. Nosek has the size to be a depth defensive forward who can also contribute meaningfully on offense.
Bischoff was traded from the Islanders. He improved every year with the University of Minnesota and totaled three points in six games in the AHL. As the lone defender on this list, he has a chance to impress with the Wolves, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get the call if he’s doing well.
I really like the look of Bischoff, both defensively and offensively. With how much troubling the Knights’ defense could be, Bischoff could get the call early. Offensively, I like Nosek and Leipsic. Both have been NHL tested already and have shown some success at that level.
Out of the two, though, Leipsic is more likely to be called up first. He has the potential to be a meaningful contributor above the third or fourth line. That’s something the Golden Knights would need sooner rather than later. Whereas, in Nosek’s case, the Knights have tons of depth players.
Call it hedging my bets, but narrowing it down once more, I’m going to go with Leipsic.