The Vegas Golden Knights selected goaltender Isaiah Saville, winger Marcus Kallionkieli and center Mason Primeau with three picks in quick succession in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Saville, taken with the No. 135 pick (acquired from Minnesota in the Brad Hunt trade), recorded a 1.90 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 34 games with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL in 2018-19, picking up 25 wins and suffering just four regulation losses (25-4-3). He helped his team finish first in the USHL with a 45-12-3 record.
Saville was named USHL goaltender of the year after finishing first in the league in goals-against average (1.90), second in save percentage (.925), fourth in shutouts (4) and fifth in wins (25). He was the only goalie in the league to average fewer than two goals against per game.
He also had a strong showing at the World Junior A Challenge, an annual under-20 international tournament. In fact, he recorded a shutout in the championship game to help the U.S. defeat Russia 2-0. He made 25 saves en route to being named U.S. player of the game.
Saville is a competitor that gives his team a chance to win every time he’s in the crease, and he’s a promising prospect that immediately strengthens Vegas’ depth chart in net.
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound native of Anchorage, Alaska will play for the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the 2019-20 season. He is the fourth goalie to be drafted by the Knights, joining Jordon Kooy, Jiri Patera and Maxim Zhukov.
Just four picks later, Vegas selected left winger Marcus Kallionkieli with the No. 139 pick, acquired (back in the day) from Montreal in the David Schlemko trade following the expansion draft.
The 6-foot-1, 192-pound winger hails from Helsinki, Finland but is also of Brazilian descent. However, Kallionkieli had no trouble adjusting to the North American ice, as he scored 29 goals and 53 points in 58 games with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL this past season.
His 29 goals ranked 11th overall in USHL scoring, but he finished first among rookies in goals and third in points. Eighteen of his 53 points came on the power play.
While his game has been described as simple, Kallionkieli’s goal-scoring ability gives him a high ceiling. He has a strong and accurate shot with a quick release, and his willingness to shoot from anywhere in the offensive zone makes him a threat every time he has the puck. He’s a goal scorer who loves to shoot the puck, and he uses his size and speed well.
The sniper had some issues with consistency, scoring 10 goals and 13 points in his first nine games but recording just one point in seven games in December. Additionally, his defensive game could use some work. However, he makes good use of his assets and should continue to improve as he develops his game.
With their third fifth-round pick (No. 141) and final pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Golden Knights selected center Mason Primeau, son of Wayne Primeau and nephew of Keith Primeau, both of whom had long careers in the NHL.
The 17-year-old Canadian forward boasts a 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame. He scored a combined 13 goals and 33 points in 69 games with the Guelph Storm and North Bay Batallion of the OHL in 2018-19, following that up with one goal and three points in five playoff games.
Primeau adds considerable size to Vegas’ growing pipeline of big-bodied prospects. He has decent top-end speed despite needing some work on his skating, particularly with his first few strides. He’s strong and uses his size well, especially below the hash marks and along the boards.
While his numbers aren’t flashy, Primeau’s play picked up considerably after getting traded to North Bay, where he scored 10 goals and 26 points in 49 games in an increased role.
He’s competitive, likes to drive to the net and has shown some flashes of high-end skill.
That being said, there is room for improvement in his skating and transition game. Primeau won’t turn 18 until late July, so there’s plenty of time for him to develop. In the mean time, he certainly has good bloodlines working in his favor.