With the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft in the books, Golden Knights fans have something to look forward to on Saturday with the Knights set to make seven picks on Day 2.
The team’s first pick of the draft will be the penultimate pick of the second round at No. 61 overall. Although it is difficult to project who will be available for the Knights to select, here’s a look at three players to keep an eye on during the second round.
Kevin Bahl, Defensemen, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Standing at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Kevin Bahl is a giant on the ice and simply towers over his opponents. Scouting reports say he is a good skater for his size, and although he does not have much of an offensive game, he is known as a shutdown defender who understands gap control and uses his immense reach to constantly disrupt opponents.
The Golden Knights selected Nicolas Hague, who is also a physically imposing defensemen, in the second round of the last year’s NHL Draft, but aside from size and defensive abilities, Hague is a much more complete offensive player than Bahl.
Realistically, Bahl projects to be a shutdown defender in the NHL, and if you get some offensive output from him, great. But he projects to be someone who can handle the tough matchups on a night-to-night basis, not rack up points.
I doubt he will be there when the Knights get to the podium at No. 61 overall, but if he is there and the Knights believe they can develop him into a shutdown defensemen, he is someone to keep an eye on.
Calen Addison, Defensmen, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
It’s no secret Golden Knights assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon likes his WHL players. McCrimmon is from Saskatchewan, played his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings and was either the head coach or general manager — or both — of the Wheat Kings for 27 seasons. He has also been the owner of the Wheat Kings since 1992. In other words, McCrimmon knows the WHL like the back of his hand.
So why would the Golden Knights be interested in Calen Addison? Well, the 5-foot-10 defensemen is from Brandon, Manitoba and he actually played for the Wheat Kings Bantam and Midget team from 2013-2016, meaning McCrimmon is likely to be familiar with him.
Brandon connection aside, though, Addison is an offensive dynamo on the blue line. He plays an offense-first style of hockey that helped him notch 65 points (11 goals, 54 assists) in 68 regular season games, and 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 16 WHL playoff games.
Defensively, scouting reports have labeled him as someone who can improve. But offensively, the right-handed blue liner has a great skillset and could easily develop into a nice player for the Knights over time.
If McCrimmon likes his game and he’s available at No. 61, I would not be surprised to see Vegas select Addison.
Albin Eriksson, Left Wing, Skelleftea AIK J20 (Sweden)
Standing at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Albin Eriksson is a big man out on the ice. But for a big guy most scouting reports say he is an exceptional skater for his size and has good hands to go along with a decent shot. He reminds me a bit of Johan Franzen, although not as skilled as the Mule was.
Although he only has one assist in 17 SHL games, he did finish with 40 points (22 goals, 18 assists) and 86 penalty minutes in 38 games with Skelleftea AIK J20 of the SuperElit league. He also registered six points (all assists) in three playoff games.
If the Golden Knights are looking for a big, physical presence along the wing who has skill and can skate well, Eriksson is their guy to target.
If you still crave more Golden Knights’ draft info, be sure to check out our very own Shepard Prices’ mock draft of who Vegas could realistically select with each pick. He has the Knights selecting Niklas Nordgren at No. 61 overall.
Who do you think the Vegas will select in the second round? Or who would you like to see them select? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.