With a couple of days off between games, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has clearly been a busy man, as the team announced the signings of Ben Jones, Jake Leschyshyn and Gage Quinney on Friday.
Jones and Leschyshyn were both signed to three-year entry level deals, while Quinney was signed to a two-year ELC. No financial details were released.
Here’s a brief skinny on each player:
Ben Jones, Forward, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Jones was selected by the Knights in the seventh round (No. 189 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. Standing at six feet, 187 pounds, Jones projects as a two-way center who can play a physical game.
However, with William Karlsson and Erik Haula entrenched as the Knights’ top two centers, Jones will likely look to compete for a spot in the team’s bottom six at some point. In the meantime, he seems destined for the Chicago Wolves.
The Waterloo, Ontario native did put together a fine season with the IceDogs, though, registering 79 points (30 goals, 49 assists) and 53 penalty minutes in 68 regular season games. He also chipped in 12 points (five goals, seven assists) through 10 postseason games.
Jake Leschyshyn, Forward, Regina Pats (WHL)
Leschyshyn is an interesting prospect. Prior to last year’s draft, some believed he would be a first rounder, but a knee injury (torn ACL) derailed his season and likely affected his draft stock a bit.
Despite his knee injury, the Knights took Leschyshyn with the final pick in the second round (No. 62 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. Considering Leschyshyn plays his junior hockey in the WHL for the Regina Pats, you can bet Knights assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon had a huge hand in the Knights drafting him.
In his first season back from injury, Leschyshyn registered 40 points (18 goals, 22 assists) in 64 games for the Pats. He also had five points (three goals, two assists) in seven WHL playoff games and scored a goal during the five game Memorial Cup, which Regina lost in the Finals to Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL.
Leschyshyn attended the team’s prospect development camp last summer, but he was held out of contact drills due to his rehab. Either way, the coaches do have some familiarity with him and the 5-foot-11, 190 pound center should bring his gritty two-way game to the Chicago Wolves next season.
Gage Quinney, Forward, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
Quinney, 22, spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In 57 games the former undrafted Penguins prospect registered 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists). The year before he was just under a point per game in the ECHL, racking up 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 45 games for the Wheeling Nailers.
Most of the attention surrounding Quinney will likely stem from him being a Las Vegas native, but don’t think for a second he’s with the Knights just because he is from Sin City. Quinney is a good player and one I imagine other teams around the league were after given the season he put up with the baby Pens.
Like Leschyshyn, Quinney is a WHL product, formerly of the Kelowna Rockets, and I’m sure McCrimmon knows him very well given his extensive WHL background with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Ironically enough, Quinney’s Dad, Ken, also played in the NHL for the Quebec Nordiques. If you’re curious as to how Quinney is a Las Vegas native, his Dad used to play for the Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League, so perhaps some of you have seen Gage at the Thomas & Mack Center when he was younger.
Out of the three players, Quinney probably has the best shot of making the Knights roster next season, which would be a great story since he is a Las Vegas native. I also think Quinney has the best chance at making the Knights because Ryan Reaves is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and Tomas Nosek and William Carrier are restricted free agents, so there could potentially be an opening on the wing of the fourth line.