It’s time for another edition of the Golden Knights Prospect Report! It’s been a busy week for Vegas’ top prospects and there’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in with the man everyone wants to know about.
Notable CHL Prospects
Cody Glass: C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Drafted: First round, No. 6 overall, 2017
Statistics: 50 GP | 27 G | 47 A | 74 P | +28
Glass, the first draft selection in Golden Knights history, has been nothing short of sensational for the Winterhawks this season. Despite missing eight games due to injury, the 18-year-old is tied with Skyler McKenzie for the team lead in points (74). Glass was held off the scoresheet last week, but remains one of the WHL’s most dangerous offensive playmakers. This goes without saying, but the Golden Knights will likely give Glass a long look next summer as they mold their roster for the 2018-19 season.
Nick Suzuki: C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Drafted: First round, No. 13 overall, 2017
Statistics: 51 GP | 31 G | 46 A | 77 P | +16
Suzuki, Vegas’ second pick of last year’s draft, has also been fantastic for his junior team. In 51 games, Suzuki has accumulated a total of 77 points for the Owen Sound Attack, which ranks fourth in the OHL amongst point-getters. Suzuki’s performance over the last week is especially impressive. Through three games, the London, Ontario native registered four goals and three assists, guiding Owen Sound to a 3-0-0 record. Like Glass, Suzuki will also have a very real shot at earning a roster spot with the Golden Knights next summer.
Nicolas Hague: D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Drafted: Second round, No. 34 overall, 2017
Statistics: 54 GP | 28 G | 32 A | 60 P | -9
It’s normally forwards who lead their team in points, but Nic Hague is a special case. In 54 games, Hague has accumulated a team-leading 60 points and continues to showcase his instincts in both the offensive and defensive zone. For the hulking blueliner (6-foot-5, 216 pounds), additional time in the juniors, followed by a brief stay in the AHL (when he’s eligible), would be beneficial as he continues to fill out.
Jake Leschyshyn: C, Regina Pats (WHL)
Drafted: Second round, No. 62 overall, 2017
Statistics: 53 GP | 15 G | 19 A | 34 P | -10
Leschyshyn has taken somewhat of a step back this season, but that’s to be expected after suffering a major injury. Last season, Leschyshyn recorded 40 points in 47 games before suffering a season-ending ACL tear. Leschyshyn’s regression is a bit concerning, but it also shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. The 18-year-old is very much a work in progress for Vegas and it may be a while before we see him play in an NHL game.
Ben Jones: C, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Drafted: Seventh round, No. 189 overall, 2017
Statistics: 55 GP | 18 G | 43 A | 61 P | -6
Here’s a nice surprise. Jones, Vegas’ final pick of last summer’s entry draft, has taken a big step forward in his third season with the IceDogs as he averages over a point per game and has become one of Niagara’s better playmaking forwards. The six-foot, 187-pound center still has a lot of development to endure, but this is certainly a name to watch as Vegas’ youngsters continue to mature.
Notable International Prospects
Erik Brannstom: D, HV71 (SHL)
Drafted: First round, No. 15 overall, 2017
Statistics: 37 GP | 0 G | 9 A | 9 P | -9
You may be thinking something along the lines of: “Only nine assists through 37 games? What gives?” Keep in mind that the SHL is one of the top hockey leagues on the planet. Brannstrom is just 18 years old and is playing against grown men (the average age of an SHL player is 25 years old). It may be a couple more years before we see Brannstrom in a Golden Knights sweater (especially considering his small frame), but this guy is legit.
Jonas Rondbjerg: W, Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)
Drafted: Third round, No. 65 overall, 2017
Statistics: 35 GP | 6 G | 5 A | 11 P | +8
Rondbjerg appears to be developing very well. Like Brannstrom, Rondbjerg is much younger than the competition, but he’s already showing signs of elite skill in Sweden. Six goals and 11 points through 35 games is certainly nothing to sneeze at for an 18-year-old playing in the SHL. The Danish winger also dominated in the World Juniors, scoring two goals and adding five helpers on a team that, frankly, was pretty horrible.
Notable USHL Prospects
Maxime Zhukov: G, Green Bay Gamblers
Drafted: Fourth round, No. 96 overall, 2017
Statistics: 36 GP | 2.32 GAA | .914 S%
Vegas’ fourth-round pick is 19-12-2-1 through 36 games. Not too bad for a mid-round selection. Zhukov, 6-foot-3, is pretty big compared to most goaltenders, so he may require a little extra development as he continues to fill out. Nevertheless, this is certainly a good sign for the Golden Knights as they continue to add to their pool of goalie prospects.
Jiri Patera: G, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Drafted: Sixth round, No. 161 overall, 2017
Statistics: 24 GP | 3.59 GAA | .892 S%
Patera isn’t having anything close to the season Zhukov is having. The Czech goaltender is 7-12-4-0 and likely has a long road before becoming a legitimate prospect to watch.
Notable AHL Prospects
Reid Duke: C
Drafted: Sixth round, No. 169 overall, 2014
Statistics: 0 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 P | Even
Duke has missed the entirety of the AHL season since suffering an injury during training camp, but he’s finally healthy and ready to get back on the ice. The Golden Knights have officially assigned Duke to the Wolves and it’s only a matter of time before we see him in game action.
Tomas Hyka: RW
Drafted: Sixth round, No. 171 overall, 2012
Statistics: 35 GP | 13 G | 21 A | 34 P | +1
Hyka has been a force to be reckoned with for Chicago all season. The former sixth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings is quickly becoming one of the favorites to get an extended look with the Golden Knights, and it seems the stars are aligning for the 24-year-old. With Pierre-Edouard Bellemare out of commission, it may only be a matter of time before Hyka gets an opportunity with the big club.
Tyler Wong: RW
Statistics: 39 GP | 3G | 4 A | 7 P | -7
Remember when Wong scored three goals against the Vancouver Canucks in Vegas’ preseason opener? Good times. Things haven’t been so great for Wong as of late, though. Wong has been pretty quiet in the AHL so far and was even given a brief demotion to the ECHL’s Quad City Mallards earlier this season. That’s not to say he’s no longer a viable contender to make the Knights’ roster one day, though. After all, it wasn’t long ago that the 5-foot-9 forward registered 109 points in one season for the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes.