August 31-in-31: Vegas Golden Knights

Paul Zwambag



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Vegas Golden Knights are about to turn five months old and they already have three, four, maybe even five blue-chip prospects in their system. There may not be many other teams you could say have that many blue-chip prospects in their system who have been around for years, and even decades.

Where the Golden Knights are lacking is the depth, they don't have nearly enough prospects as almost every other team in the league, but it is understandable being only five months into their franchise. The drop off after those three to five blue-chip prospects is a significant fall off and it falls off rather quickly.

Let's get right to the Top 10 and breakdown where that fall-off is and how fast it drops.


Vegas' Top 10:

1. Vadim Shipachyov

2. Nick Suzuki

3. Cody Glass

4. Erik Brannstrom

5. Alex Tuch

6. Nikita Gusev

7. Shea Theodore

8. Tomas Nosek

9. Nicolas Hague

10. Teemu Pulkkinen


Trying to determine where that aforementioned fall-off is, all depends on what you think of these prospects at the bottom of the list. Nicolas Hague is quite a few years away from playing significant minutes in the NHL, Tomas Nosek showed flashes last season with Detroit's Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapid Griffins., but as far as blue-chip prospects go, I think the fall-off is right at Tuch, Gusev and Theodore. Gusev could become a great fantasy asset, if he ever crosses the pond, which is a big if. Tuch could become a solid scoring line winger, but it may take a few growing pain years to learn the professional game. Shea Theodore has the chance, but is likely more of a two to four defensemen and not a number one guy. Especially with Brannstrom coming through the system.

The top four guys are going to be outstanding NHL players. I really do believe Suzuki is going to be a better NHL fantasy player than Cody Glass. Glass will be a great NHLer, but if you just take fantasy hockey into consideration, then I have to put my money on Suzuki. He has a much higher ceiling than Glass.



Erik Brannstrom's stock is continually climbing, he was drafted 15th overall, but during the World Junior Summer Showcase he flashed his puck moving skills and it was the first good look that North Americans saw of him (unless you were a draft analyst who watched him closely last year). Brannstrom is headed back to the SHL to play with HV71 and play against much larger men, which will only help his development. Brannstrom will also be at the forefront of all scouts lists when the WJC start up during the Christmas and New Year's break.

Alex Tuch showing up for Vegas' first prospect camp when he wasn't even invited just showed his commitment to being a team player and proving he wants to be a part of the Vegas franchise and maybe one day be at the heart of this team competing for the coveted Stanley Cup.

Reid Duke impressed Vegas management when prospect camp broke showing his leadership and his willingness to be the "vet" around some of the younger guys. Duke is only 21-years-old, but acts more like he is 27 or 28. He will be a great fit with the Chicago Wolves, who are basically starting from scratch with their new affiliation with Vegas. Duke will likely grow into a great role player who shows and wears his