Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nicolas Hague reached a prestigious milestone on Wednesday when the Mississauga Steelheads lost to the Oshawa Generals 5-4.
Hague filled the box score, finishing the game with a goal, an assist, six shots and four penalty minutes. His second period goal was extra special, though, as it made him the first OHL defenseman since 2000 to reach the 30-goal mark.
He also set a new Steelheads single-season record for points by a defenseman on Wednesday with 66. Needless to say, despite the end result, it was a memorable night for the Kitchener, Ontario native.
To put in perspective just how good the Knights product has been this year, he registered 32 goals during his first two seasons with the Steelheads, but this year he has reached the 30 goal mark in just 59 games.
When the Knights drafted Hague with the 34th overall pick last June, he wasn't touted as an offensive defensemen. That’s not to say he wasn’t good offensively, but scouts would describe him as someone who has a good shot, was able to get pucks to the net and made smart plays with the puck. Not exactly the profile of a 30-goal scorer, right?
However, it’s clear the 6-foot-6, 215-pound blueliner has made significant strides on the offensive end this season and his game has ascended to a new level.
Having seen Hague play live a few times this season, I can confidently say that he is a solid two-way defenseman who does a lot of things well on the ice. Whether it be his ability to jump in on the rush, which is impressive considering how big he is, the decisions he makes with the puck, his ability to step up and punish puck carriers entering the zone or his excellent gap control, Hague brings a lot of elements to the table that should fit in well with Gerard Gallant’s system.
I highly doubt Hague will produce at this rate as a pro since only a handful of defensemen like Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman and Roman Josi reach these kind of levels offensively, but I do think it’s safe to say that he will be a productive player who will impact the game on a night-to-night basis.
With Hague already signed to an entry-level contract, there is a good chance we will see him up with the Knights to start next season. Until then, the Steelheads have eight games left in the regular season and are in the midst of tight playoff race in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, so there is still plenty of time for you to see more of the future Golden Knights defenseman.