Welcome to the 2021 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2021 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. You can find all the articles here. Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2021 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the 2021 Vegas Golden Knights Prospects.
What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2021-22 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.
2021 Vegas Golden Knights Prospects
Golden Knights Season and Off-Season
The Golden Knights have been one of the top teams in the league throughout their existence. Last season they put up 82 points in 56 games, tying for the top spot in the league. Unfortunately, the Colorado Avalanche had the tie-breaker and the Golden Knights were officially second in the West Division. They faced the Minnesota Wild in the first round, defeating them in a hard-fought seven-game series. Despite losing the first two games of their second-round series with Colorado, the Golden Knights came back to win the series in six games. However, the semi-final matchup against the Montreal Canadiens would be the end of their playoff run, as the Habs defeated the Knights in six games.
The Knights have never been afraid to make moves to improve their team. This off-season was no different. The big move saw Vezina-winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury traded to Chicago to free up cap space. Also out are Ryan Reaves, Cody Glass, Tomas Jurco, Tomas Nosek, Danny O’Regan, Nick Holden, and Dylan Sikura. Additions include Evgenii Dadonov, Laurent Brossoit, Nolan Patrick, and Brett Howden.
2021 Top Vegas Golden Knights Prospect: Peyton Krebs
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born January 26th, 2001 — Okotoks, Alberta
Height 5’11” — Weight 181 lbs [180 cm/82 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 1st Round, #17 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Krebs started his season with Canada’s World Junior Championship Team. He put up three goals and eight points in seven tournament games, winning a silver medal. He was dominant in the WHL, scoring 13 goals and 43 points in 24 games. Krebs also played five AHL games, scoring one goal and five points. Krebs made his NHL debut last season, playing four games for Vegas and picking up his first NHL point, an assist. Unfortunately, a broken jaw cut his year short.
An outstanding skater, Krebs can create chances in transition due to his speed. He takes defenders wide and can cut to the net. Krebs gets up to that speed very quickly with an excellent first step and very good acceleration. His ability to change speeds can be used as a weapon to fool defenders. Once he gets a step on a defender he can blow past them. If they back off too far, he can slow down and take advantage of the space created. Krebs also has the ability to change direction on a dime making him difficult to contain one-on-one. His balance and strength are decent at the junior level, but he will need to get stronger before moving to the pro game. A low centre of gravity and wide stride is an advantage.
Krebs is best known for his playmaking ability. He can thread the puck through extremely tight spaces, as well as make strong saucer passes. He is also good at passing the puck on his backhand. His strong hockey sense allows him to read the play and anticipate the movements of teammates and opponents. Krebs has excellent vision and finds the open man. His stickhandling is very good and he can make moves while moving at top speed. When you couple this with his skating, he can create passing lanes with his quick lateral movements. He is also good at carrying the puck through the neutral zone, avoiding defenders and creating effective zone entries.
If defenders back off to respect his speed, Krebs can take advantage of the added room by letting go a powerful and accurate wrist shot, with a quick release. He has the smarts to use the defenceman as a screen in these situations. Krebs could stand to add more power to his slap shot and one-timer though. This may come as he matures. He can score in tight to the net with the quick hands to get deflections and pounce on rebounds. With his skill, he can beat goalies by putting the puck through the smallest of openings.
Krebs works hard in the defensive zone, supporting his teammates down low and working to break up passing lanes. He uses his smarts in the defensive zone as well, cutting down passing lanes and anticipating plays. Krebs is especially effective on the penalty kill. He creates turnovers with an active stick and once one is created, he transitions this up the ice quickly. Krebs will need to add some muscle to his frame in the coming years in order to be better along the boards.
Krebs has played both wing and centre at the junior level. With his skating ability, vision, playmaking and defensive ability, he projects well as a centre going to the pro level. The question will be about his strength. Can he add enough muscle to his frame to be able to be effective down low in both ends of the ice? Krebs looks to make the Golden Knights out of training camp and he just might. Even if he needs a bit more time in the AHL, it should not be long before he is making an impact for Vegas.
#2 Prospect: Brendan Brisson
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born October 22nd, 2001 — Manhattan Beach, California
Height 5’11” — Weight 177 lbs [180 cm/80 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 1st Round, #29 Overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Brisson was a freshman at the University of Michigan last season. He scored 10 goals and 21 points in 24 games for the Wolverines. Unfortunately, a COVID outbreak prevented the team from playing in the Frozen Four Tournament. Brisson also played for Team USA at the World Juniors. He scored two goals in the tournament and helped the team to a gold medal.
Brisson is already a good skater but could continue to improve this aspect of his game. His first few steps and his acceleration are good and his top-end speed is above average. There is room to lengthen his stride and add more power and speed though. He is very good on his edges and shows very good agility. This allows Brisson to quickly change directions and cut on a dime. Brisson’s lateral agility makes him dangerous when on the attack, both with and without the puck. His balance and lower body strength are good for his age. They should continue to improve as he matures and adds more muscle to his frame.
Brisson shines as a playmaker. He has outstanding vision and reads the offensive play extremely well. He has the hands and the smarts to speed the play up when necessary, or to slow it down to give his teammates time to get open. Brisson sees plays that others do not and finds his teammates with tape-to-tape passes to create scoring chances. He can quarterback the powerplay from the half-boards. His hands are slick, and it only takes a quick move or flick of his wrists for Brisson to change the passing angle and find a route to a teammate that was not apparent beforehand.
Brisson’s wrist shot and snapshot are both accurate and feature deceptive releases. This is helped by his quick hands. However, Brisson could look to add a bit more power to the shot going forward. This is again something that may come naturally with more muscle mass and maturity going forward. If there is a criticism though, it is that Brisson can sometimes shy away from the physical play along the boards or in front of the net. Again this is an area that can be developed.
Brisson works hard in his own zone. He brings effective backpressure to support the defence against the rush. He hounds the puck and looks for an opportunity to create a turnover and quickly transition things the other way. Again, Brisson is not overly physical. However, his smarts, a quick stick, and good positioning help him to remain effective in the defensive zone. He keeps his feet moving and does not quit on plays. Brisson’s offensive skills mean that the Steel have not used him much on the penalty kill or other defensive situations, preferring instead to focus on giving him favourable zone starts and matchups to create offence. However, this is more about the team’s best strategy than any deficiency in Brisson’s game. When he does find himself in his own zone, he’s more than capable there.
Brisson has the potential to be a top-six forward in the NHL. Capable of playing both wing and centre, his future is likely on the wing. He has some things to work on before he is NHL ready and so that he can reach that potential. The main thing is gaining strength. In his situation, he has made a wise choice to go the NCAA route, where he will play fewer games but have more time to bulk up in the weight room as he prepares to play the professional game. Expect him to spend another year or two at Michigan before he is ready to turn pro. Michigan should be the top team in the country this year and Brisson has a real chance to win a National Championship.
#3 Prospect: Jack Dugan
Left Wing — shoots Right
Born March 24th, 1998 — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Height 6’2″ — Weight 185 lbs [188 cm / 84 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in 5th round, #142 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft.
After an excellent sophomore campaign at Providence College that had Dugan in the Hobey Baker conversation, he signed with the Golden Knights and turned pro in the off-season. Dugan had an outstanding rookie year as a pro with Henderson in the AHL. He scored 10 goals and 33 points in 37 games. Dugan also added three goals and four points in five playoff games.
Dugan has a powerful stride which helps him to fight through checks and get to the net. As he continues to add lower body strength, this has only gotten better. There is still even more room to improve as he makes his way through the pros. Dugan’s stride gives him good speed and the acceleration to reach that speed in just a few strides. This allows Dugan to take defenders wide and still cut to the net. Dugan can get even better. His stride is a bit awkward and choppy. Fixing that would make him even faster and more powerful. He also has good agility and edgework. Dugan’s ability to quickly change directions allows him to get away from defenders. He is also strong on his skates, winning battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Dugan plays a power forward style. He is a good puck-handler and can make plays even when moving at top speed. Dugan can beat a defender in a one-on-one situation and get to the front of the net. Once he gets a step on a defender, he can drop his shoulder and drive the front of the net. When he gets there he has the hands to finish in tight. Dugan also has a powerful and accurate wrist shot. His quick hands give him a quick release. Dugan is able to pull off a quick toe-drag just before shooting. By changing the release angle, he is able to fool goalies. Dugan is strong on the forecheck, pressuring defenders into mistakes. He also battles hard in the corners to win loose pucks and create chances.
Dugan is a decent playmaker as well. He sees the ice well and makes smart passes to teammates. He uses his skating, size and strength to get away from a defender and make a pass to a teammate. Dugan also extends plays and maintains possession down low in the cycle game. When one of his teammates does get open, he is able to pass him the puck. Dugan is an extremely hard worker. He keeps his feet moving and never gives up on a play. This high-end work ethic endears him to coaches and teammates. Dugan can carry the puck through the neutral zone, creating effective zone entries and chances in the transition game.
Dugan is willing to bring his high compete-level and willingness to battle along the boards to all three zones. He backchecks hard and is willing to play physically in all three zones. He supports the defence down low against the cycle game. Dugan also takes good angles and brings effective backpressure to help break up the opponent’s transition game. Dugan is a smart player who sees plays developing and is able to break them up. He uses his size and a long stick to cut down passing lanes. He is also not afraid to block shots. When turnovers are created, he is quick to transition the puck up the ice.
Dugan has turned into a real draft steal for the Golden Knights. He should start the season in Henderson with the Silver Knights as he needs a bit more AHL time before he can take his game to the next level. It shouldn’t be long though and Dugan should be one of the first people in line for a callup. When he finally makes it to Vegas on a full-time basis, he can be an effective middle-six forward, capable of playing in all situations.
#4 Prospect: Daniil Chayka
The Golden Knights drafted Chayka with the 38th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Prior to the draft, we took an in-depth look at Chayka. As there has not been a significant sample size of games played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.
#5 Prospect: Zach Dean
The Golden Knights drafted Dean with the 30th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Prior to the draft, we took an in-depth look at Dean. As there has not been a significant sample size of games played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.
#6 Prospect: Dylan Coghlan
Right Defence — shoots Right
Born February 19th, 1998 — Nanaimo, British Columbia
Height 6’2″ — Weight 190 lbs [188 cm / 86 kg]
Signed with the Vegas Golden Knights as a Free Agent, June 2017.
Coghlan made his NHL debut last season and ended up playing 29 games for the Golden Knights. He scored three goals and added three assists for six points in that time. Those three goals came via a hat trick against the Minnesota Wild in March.
Coghlan is a good skater. His top-end speed is good in both directions and he has the acceleration to reach that speed in just a few strides. This helps him to play a solid two-way game. He has a very good first step, allowing Coghlan to win races to loose pucks and retrieve dump-ins and move them in the other direction. He is also strong on his skates, winning battles for loose pucks and clearing the front of the net. Coghlan could use work on his agility though. He can sometimes be beaten wide by especially quick forwards.
Coghlan’s offensive game translated nicely from junior hockey to the AHL. He now hopes to see it take the next step and translate to the NHL. While Coghlan is willing to join the rush or pinch at the blue line to try and create offence, he picks his spots well. Coghlan has a very good hockey IQ and this helps him to find the right times to take chances and not get caught up ice. He has worked on his shot over the years and it has greatly improved. He has a strong slapshot and understands how to get it through traffic and on the net. Coghlan does a good job of walking the line to open up those shooting lanes.
Coghlan is also improving as a playmaker. He is a good stick-handler and is poised with the puck. He makes smart passes, both in starting the transition game and in quarterbacking things from the point. Coghlan sees the ice well and finds the right teammate to set up a scoring chance. He can also carry the puck out of his own zone and start the rush by skating it up the ice. Coghlan is able to make moves in the neutral zone, creating strong zone entries.
Coghlan was known as a strong defensive defenceman before his offensive game unexpectedly exploded over his last two junior seasons. That part of his game has remained and also translated well to the AHL. He maintains good gap control and forces opponents to the outside and away from dangerous areas. He also has an active stick and poke checks opponents and cuts down passing lanes. Coghlan is quick to get the puck out of the zone and start the transition. He also plays physically but does so in a disciplined way avoiding penalties. It took a bit of time for Coghlan to adjust to the speed of the NHL but he seems to be getting there and providing a positive contribution in his own end of the ice.
Coghlan looks like a strong defensive prospect and could push for a job in training camp. However, with the Golden Knights depth on defence, he could start the season as the seventh defenceman. He should get his opportunity to jump into the lineup if injuries hit or other players need a bit of rest. As he continues to mature, he could eventually become a regular in the lineup, able to contribute in all situations.
#7 Prospect: Lukas Cormier
Left Defence — shoots Left
Born March 27th, 2002 — Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick
Height 5’10” — Weight 180 lbs [178 cm/82 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 3rd Round, #68 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.
After being drafted in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft, Cormier put up a dominant offensive season with Charlottetown last year. He scored 16 goals and 38 assists for 54 points in 39 games. Cormier also added two goals and nine points in eight QMJHL Playoff Games.
Cormier is an excellent skater and this helps him to play a 200-foot game. With smooth pivots, he is able to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. He has quick feet, with a great first step, and the agility and edgework to move well laterally and cover a lot of ice. Cormier has very good speed and acceleration in both directions. He can take offensive chances and still get back to cover in his own zone. His strong backwards skating makes him tough to beat on the rush. Cormier has a low centre of gravity. His balance is very good. He battles through checks and continues skating. It also helps to somewhat make up for his lack of size in battles on the boards.
Cormier combines his slick skating with strong puck-moving skills. Cormier retrieves pucks on dump-ins and quickly starts the transition game, whether it be by skating the puck out of danger or with a quick first pass. He is willing to lead the rush or join as a trailer. Cormier’s skating ability allows him to do this and still get back defensively He also sees the ice well, and his vision and passing ability allow him to play the role of power-play quarterback. Cormier’s quick hands can change angles on plays and open up passing lanes. He has the skills to make a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate even through a tight area.
Cormier also has an excellent slap shot. He keeps it low and on the net, giving his teammates the opportunity to get to the front of the net and tip in pucks or get rebounds. With his agility, he is able to move laterally and create shooting lanes. He also has a good wrist shot. He sneaks down to the faceoff circles before letting it go. It is powerful and also features a good release. Cormier is a smart player. He picks his spots well and knows when to pinch or join the rush and when to hang back.
Cormier lacks size but uses his skills to play a strong defensive game. His ability to move the puck up the ice quickly helps him to avoid facing long shifts in his own end of the ice. He retrieves pucks quickly, avoids forecheckers and moves it up the ice. His lateral agility and strong backwards skating helps him to maintain good gap control and he is tough to beat in one-on-one situations. He can quickly swat the puck away from an opposing forward. The lack of size can give him issues defending the cycle game or clearing the front of the net, but Cormier does not quit and will put his body on the line to make a play. He’s been playing against top lines in Charlottetown over the last two years and has the results to show his strong defensive ability.
Cormier fits in with the new style of defender that is becoming more and more popular in the NHL now. Despite his lack of size, his skating ability, his smarts, and his offensive skills could help him to be a top-pairing defender if he continues his development. He will need to avoid injuries and continue to add muscle to his frame before he is ready to go to the pro game. Expect him to spend another year in the QMJHL as well as a year or two in the AHL before he is ready for the next level.
#8 Prospect: Ivan Morozov
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Right
Born May 5th, 2000 — Verkhnyaya Salda, Russia
Height 6’1″ — Weight 178 lbs [185 cm / 81 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2nd round, #61 overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.
Morozov scored 13 goals and 31 points in 55 games with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL last season. He also added one goal and seven points in 15 playoff games. Morozov played for the Russian Team at the IIHF World Championships. He picked up a goal and three points in eight tournament games.
Morozov is an undersized forward. While he is a good skater, he is not at that level of great skating that most smaller players who make it in the NHL have. He has decent acceleration and good speed though. Morozov can take a defenceman wide and accelerate to the net on the rush. He is slippery with good edgework and agility. Morozov uses his quick cuts and changes in direction to get around defenders and to create the space he needs to make plays. He also has a low centre of gravity which makes him stronger on the puck than one would expect given his size. However, he could add more muscle to his frame. This would make him even better on the boards and in front of the net.
Morozov is a dynamic playmaker. He pairs his strong skating with good stickhandling and the ability to make plays at top speed. This allows him to carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate efficient zone entries. He also controls the puck in the offensive zone, giving linemates the time to get open. Morozov is a smart player with good vision. He reads the play extremely well and when teammates do get open, he can quickly create a passing lane and get them the puck. He is especially good at quarterbacking the power play.
Despite his size, Morozov is not afraid to get to the net and play in the dirty areas of the ice. Once he gets there he has the soft hands to finish in tight. He can beat goalies with a quick deke. Morozov also has the hand-eye coordination to tip in pucks and pounce on rebounds. He also has a good wrist shot with decent power and very good accuracy. Morozov’s quick hands help him to have a quick and deceptive release. He also has a good one-timer. Morozov is quick to get in on the forecheck and battle in the corners for loose pucks. However, his lack of size will always be a somewhat limiting factor.
Morozov is another player with a strong work ethic at both ends of the ice. He takes good angles when providing backpressure on the rush, supporting the defence. He also works hard on the boards and supports the defence down low against the cycle. This is another area where his size can be an issue though, particularly when a bigger and stronger opponent is cycling the puck. Morozov is quick with a poke check though and is smart enough to play a strong positional game. There are some questions if this will be enough on smaller, North American ice though.
Morozov remains in Russia as he is signed with SKA St. Petersburg through the end of this season. Despite his strong KHL season last year, he has started this season in the VHL (Russia’s version of the AHL). He seems to be out of favour with SKA’s coaching staff. Morozov is dominating at the VHL level with seven points in six games. If he continues to produce, it will be hard to deny him a spot in the KHL and SKA may end up trading him. The Golden Knights will look to get him under contract as soon as the KHL season is done.
#9 Prospect: Lukas Elvenes
Left Wing/Center — shoots Left
Born August 18th, 1999 — Angelholm, Sweden
Height 6’1″ — Weight 173 lbs [185 cm / 78 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in 5th round, #127 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft.
Elvenes’ second season in the AHL wasn’t quite as good as his rookie campaign. He put up six goals and 18 assists for 24 points in 37 games with the Henderson Silver Knights. He was also held to just one assist in three playoff games.
Elvenes is a very good skater. He has very good speed and acceleration thanks to a nice-looking stride. However, it is his edgework and agility that really set him apart. He can make very quick changes of direction, turns, and other lateral movements in order to get past a defender. Once he gets an opening, Elvenes has the acceleration necessary to blow past his man and drive the net to create a scoring opportunity. He also has good lower body strength. This gives him the power to fight through checks as well as the balance necessary to be strong on the puck and win battles on the boards or in front of the net. This should continue to improve as he matures.
Elvenes is an outstanding stick-handler. He can make plays with the puck in very tight spaces and at top speed. When this is combined with his skating ability, he can create a ton of offence off the rush. He is also very good on breakaways and in the shootout, as well as creating space and opportunities with open ice on the power play. However, Elvenes has a tendency to rely on his skill a little too much at times. He can get himself into trouble by trying to do too much with the puck, and not effectively using his linemates.
Elvenes is very creative as a playmaker. He can make passes through tight spaces, and set up plays for linemates. Elvenes extends plays waiting for a teammate to get open and then can hit him with a quick tape-to-tape pass for a good scoring opportunity. As far as his scoring goes, he has the soft hands to finish in tight to the net. His shot has a good release but can use an increase in power from further out. More importantly, he needs to work on his accuracy, as missing the net can be a problem. While he is not a big hitter, Elvenes is willing to play a physical game, battling for loose pucks and getting to the dirty areas of the ice.
Elvenes is a solid two-way player. He brings his grittiness to the defensive end of the ice, battling for loose pucks and helping to contain opposing forwards. He backchecks effectively and supports the defence down low. His good skating and positioning help Elvenes in his own end. Once a turnover is created, Elvenes is quick to pounce on the loose puck and help transition to offence.
The Golden Knights were very encouraged by Elvenes in 2019-20 but it was disappointing to see him take a bit of a step back last year. The team would like to see his offence return to the level of his rookie AHL. While he is likely at least a year away from full-time NHL action, he looks like a real steal given where he was drafted. Elvenes’ game likely translates better as a winger than a centre going forward.
#10 Prospect: Kaedan Korczak
Right Defence — shoots Right
Born January 29th, 2001 — Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Height 6’3″ — Weight 192 [191 cm/87 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2nd Round, #41 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Korczak played for Canada’s World Junior Team. Used mainly in a defensive role, he put up one assist in seven games and helped the team to a silver medal. He also played for the Kelowna Rockets, scoring three goals and eight points in 15 WHL games last season. Korczak also spent time in Henderson. He picked up two assists in 11 regular-season games, and one goal in five playoff games.
Korczak is a very good skater. He has a very smooth stride that gives him good speed in both directions. His acceleration allows him to reach that speed quickly. Crisp pivots give him the ability to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Korczak’s agility and edgework really stand out though. They are outstanding. This gives him the ability to stay with his man and makes him very hard to beat in one-on-one situations. Korczak is strong on his skates. He wins battles in the corners and battles hard in front of the net. He is also strong on the puck.
Korczak has decent stickhandling and combines this with his skating to avoid forecheckers and move the puck in his own zone. He makes a strong first pass as well, moving the puck to the forwards on the breakout and starting the transition game. Poised with the puck on his stick, he makes solid passes in the offensive zone. However, Korczak plays a very safe and simple game. He is not one to make a lot of fancy moves to create passing lanes or set up teammates for scoring chances. Instead, he finds the open man and keeps the puck moving.
Korczak has a very hard slap shot and an excellent one-timer. He could stand to use it more often though. With his excellent agility, he could also work to walk the line more often in order to open up shooting lanes. Korczak’s wrist shot is a work in progress. He needs to add power to his shot as well as get quicker in his release before it will be a real threat. He is willing to slide down on the power play and take that shot from the top of the circles. Korczak does a good job of keeping his shots low and on the net, which gives his teammates the opportunity at deflections and rebounds.
Korczak’s calling card is his defensive game. His strong skating ability leads to outstanding gap control. He is very difficult to beat in one-on-one defensive situations whether that be on the rush or containing his man on the cycle. Korczak is willing to play physical, separating his man from the puck with a big hit, battling in the corners for loose pucks, and clearing the front of the net. He is also very good positionally and uses his big frame and his long stick to block shots and cut down passing lanes. He must continue to get stronger and add muscle to that frame to play this style at the NHL level. When a turnover is created, or when there is a loose puck, his skating helps him to retrieve the puck. He is quick to move it out of the zone and help start the transition game.
Korczak projects as a top-four defender who will play against the other team’s best players and kill penalties if he can continue to develop. He would be a great partner for an offensive-minded number one defenceman on a team’s top pair. Korczak heads to the AHL this season. A year in Henderson adding muscle to his frame and continuing to develop his offensive game would be very good for his development. If he can continue to grow that offensive game, to the point where he can bring some offence at the NHL level, he could be a huge steal for the Golden Knights.
Sleeper Prospect: Ben Jones
Centre — shoots Left
Born February 26th, 1999 — Waterloo, Ontario
Height 6’0″ — Weight 190 lbs [183 cm / 86 kg]
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in 7th round, #189 overall at the 2017 NHL Draft.
Jones offensive numbers improved in his second AHL season. He scored seven goals and 16 points in 38 games for the Henderson Silver Knights. He also added a goal and an assist in five playoff games.
Jones is a good skater. He has a quick first step and his acceleration allows him to reach top speed in just a few strides. He uses his ability to change speeds as a weapon that can fool defenders. If Jones gets a step on his man, he can pull away and drive to the net. His top-end speed allows him to get around the ice and play a 200-foot game. Jones has good edgework and agility. He can elude defenders both with and without the puck. He could stand to be stronger on his skates. Jones wins battles on the boards in juniors but will need to be stronger to play this game in the pros.
Jones is an effective playmaker. He sees the ice well and opens up passing lanes to set up scoring chances through his use of his skating and stickhandling. He can create enough space from a defender to be able to make the play. Jones makes the smart, simple play but it is very effective in maintaining possession and creating offence. He can sometimes try to force things with his stickhandling and that can lead to turnovers but did a better job of limiting that tendency over the last two years. With this improvement has come a better ability to generate offensive chances.
Jones has a very good wrist and snapshot. They also feature excellent releases which can fool opposing goaltenders. Jones can also score in tight to the net with soft hands to deke goalies, bang in rebounds, or deflect pucks. He is good at finding the soft spots in the defence and getting open for a scoring chance. Jones is aggressive in front of the net and in the corners. He does a good job of winning battles on the boards.
Jones was a defenceman in minor hockey and only switched to centre in the OHL. This helps him to play a strong two-way game. He is good in his own zone, helping to support the defence down low and protect against the cycle. His quick stick helps Jones to create turnovers and transition into offence. He is a smart player and uses his hockey IQ to anticipate plays and break them up. Jones is often matched up against the opposing team’s top lines.
Jones’ development has to be very encouraging to the Golden Knights, as it seems that they may have a seventh-round draft steal on their hands. He heads back to Henderson this season, where the Golden Knights hope that he will continue to improve his offensive game. With his two-way play, he could grow into a bottom-six NHL player.
Other 2021 Vegas Golden Knights Prospects
The Golden Knights continue to benefit from the great job that George McPhee did in the expansion draft, stockpiling draft picks. The team has also drafted extremely well, getting a number of quality prospects with later-round picks. This means that their system still has decent depth despite trading away some picks and prospects in order to compete for the Stanley Cup right now.
In goal, the Golden Knights also have Isaiah Saville, Jiri Patera, Logan Thompson, Dylan Ferguson, and Jesper Vikman. Prospects to watch on the blue line include Peter Diliberatore, Noah Ellis, Brayden Pachal, Zack Hayes, Connor Corcoran and Layton Ahac. Forwards prospects to keep an eye on include Pavel Dorofeyev, Daniil Miromanov, Jonas Rjondberg, Jake Leschyshyn, Paul Cotter, Ryder Donovan, Mason Primeau, Martins Dzierkals, Maxim Marushev, Jackson Hallum, and Brandon Kruse
2021 Vegas Golden Knights Prospects Main Photo:
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 07: Peyton Krebs #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates against the St. Louis Blues in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on May 7, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)