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Henderson Silver Knights

AHL Pushes Season, Henderson Silver Knights Start to Feb. 5

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Tom's Daily Henderson Silver Knights AHL

In a move that was perhaps foreshadowed last week in comments made by Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, the American Hockey League announced today a revised start date of February 5, 2021.

That means the Henderson Silver Knights will have to wait even longer to make its debut as the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate.

For the past three seasons, Golden Knights top prospects have developed in Chicago with the Wolves. While Chicago is easy enough to get to and from, Vegas sought to follow the model of many western NHL teams and purchase its own affiliate.

On February 6 of this year the Golden Knights announced they had purchased the San Antonio Rampage franchise, relocating the team to Henderson, Nevada for the 2020-21 season. The Silver Knights are now part of the Pacific Division, playing 68 games compared to the remainder of the league which plays 76. Win percentage is used to determine standings.

Owning and operating an AHL team in the same area keeps costs down and simplifies operations. Development coaches have an easier time keeping an eye on prospects. Scouts can double-dip on games between Henderson and Vegas. The cost of moving a player up and down is minimized when there’s no flights or hotels involved. Plus game-day recalls go from a hurried packing of a bag and panicked attempt to make a three-hour flight to a short drive across town.

But now Silver Knights fans will have to wait just a little longer to see the team make its AHL debut. Will a similar NHL timeline follow? That remains to be seen but seems more likely than ever.

Vegas Hockey Now Editor-in-chief. Host, creator online hockey show @talkingpucktv. Yes I called NHL games.

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[…] good follow-up to yesterday’s announcement that the AHL revised its start date to February 5, 2021: how do you handle prospect development in a pandemic? […]

[…] 1 start have waned. The AHL announced it will begin play on February 5, 2021 – meaning Henderson Silver Knights fans will have to wait a little longer for the team’s debut. That announcement combined with Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley […]

[…] jersey was shown to the public for the first time. Set to begin play in the AHL this season (in February) the Silver Knights debuted a set of home and road sweaters that dovetail nicely with the parent […]

Henderson Silver Knights

Golden Knights Prospects Update

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Lukas Cormier Vegas Golden Knights prospects

In any year that’s not 2020, updating the Vegas Golden Knights prospects would be a lengthy endeavor. Perhaps I’d even split it into three parts by position.

This year is different. Several leagues are not playing. We still don’t even know if they’ll actually play, regardless of whether a start date has been announced or not. As of right now, the AHL, ECHL, OHL and WHL are planning to play but have not started. The QMJHL has started playing with mixed results, as some teams have played double-digit games while others sit at three or four because of COVID-19 pauses. Europe has done a little better but it’s a much smaller geographic spread for everyone except the KHL.

With that as the backdrop, it’s a little easier to keep an eye on Golden Knights prospects. That is, if there’s anything to report.

Forwards

Brendan Brisson – C

Brisson was the top choice for Vegas (#29 overall) in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. He’s a freshman at Michigan this year and already has four points (1-3-4) in four games. He had a power play goal and an assist to help the Wolverines beat Wisconsin 5-2 on November 19 last week. All four of Brisson’s points have come on the power play to help UM start the season at 37.5% with the man advantage.

Marcus Kallionkieli – LW

Kallionkieli is getting to play games after being loaned to HIFK’s U-20 squad. The 19-year-old speedster has a goal and five points in nine games so far this year. One of the few Golden Knights prospects to have a chance to play significant games before 2021.

Ivan Morozov – C

The 20-year-old center remains unsigned by Vegas after being drafted in the second round back in 2018. This year with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, he’s posted 5-5-10 in 24 games so far. Morozov has yet to play outside of Russia and it looks like that trend may continue.

Pavel Dorofeyev – F

Dorofeyev has seen action at three different levels with Chelyabinsk this season including one game in the KHL with Traktor. He, like countryman Morozov, remains unsigned by the VGK.

Ryder Donovan – F

Donovan is entering his second season with the University of Wisconsin, seeing action in five games so far. He has a pair of goals and an assist as the Badgers have played more games (six) than any other college in NCAA DI. Donovan, a 2019 fourth round pick, remains unsigned.

Nick Campoli – C

Campoli was a sixth round pick in 2017, and remains unsigned. As a junior this year at Clarkson, he’s appeared in one game with no points or PIMs.

Brandon Kruse – LW

The unsigned 2018 fifth round pick of the Golden Knights has a goal and four points in just two games with Bowling Green State University this season. Don’t get too excited, those games were against the D III Adrian Bulldogs.

Maxim Marushev – C

Marushev has already played 18 games between AK Bars Kazan in the KHL and Bars Kazan in the VHL, posting a goal and four points total. Although 21, Marushev is a seventh round pick from this year’s draft.

Martins Dzierkals – RW

The 23-year-old Latvian hasn’t skated in North America since 2017-18 with the Toronto Marlies and Orlando Solar Bears. This year in the KHL with Riga he has 3-5-8 in 17 games.

Defensemen

Lukas Cormier – D

If you’re following hockey being played in North America right now, you’re probably watching the QMJHL and Lukas Cormier. He set a torrid pace to start the season and was named QMJHL Defenseman of the Month for October. He continues to rip it up in the high-scoring league, with seven goals and 21 points in just 13 games for the Charlottetown Islanders. Cormier looks like a steal by Vegas at #68 overall (R3) in this year’s draft.

Noah Ellis – D

Ellis managed to get one game in with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers with one assist so far. The USHL has tried to play starting November 5, but has met with the same mixed results as the QMJHL. Three teams have played five games, Des Moines and Team USA have played one. The sixth-round pick by Vegas in this year’s NHL Entry Draft will play at UMass next season.

Layton Ahac – D

Ahac has played one game with Ohio State in the Big Ten. Again, college hockey is trying to play with mixed results. Don’t expect too much in the way of action here either.

Goalies

Jiri Patera – G

Patera is getting some game action in with Motor Ceske Budejovice on loan. In five appearances he’s posted a 1.82 GAA and .937 save percentage, yet is only 1-3-0 on the season. Looks like run support is a little lacking, but otherwise excellent numbers.

Jesper Vikman – G

A fifth-round pick by the VGK at this year’s draft, Vikman has been playing games in Sweden with AIK’s J20 Nationell club. He’s 5-4-0 with a 4.10 GAA and an .851 save percentage. Don’t let those numbers spook you, as previously he has shown better. Hard to really gauge what kind of team he’s on or competition he’s facing, but for a goalie any experience is good.

The Wrap

For the most part, if you don’t see them mentioned here they’re either not playing or so far off the radar they might be at the North Pole with Santa and his helpers. Seriously, it might be a while until several Golden Knights prospects get it going if they do at all. Expect continued shutdowns of sports by regions at various times, depending on the ebb and flow of the virus and until we are able to get a vaccine in widespread circulation.

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Henderson Silver Knights

Why Hiring Joel Ward Is A Stellar Move for Henderson

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Joel Ward Henderson Silver Knights

The Henderson Silver Knights have rounded out the coaching staff for the team, hiring Joel Ward and Jamie Heward to serve as assistant coaches under Manny Viveiros.

Heward has a tremendous track record of coaching and development after a playing career that spanned over 1,200 games in both the NHL and minor leagues. He will be a tremendous part of the staff and really help the young Silver Knights players.

Ward is someone I know well from my time in Nashville, and one of the best people I’ve met in hockey. The fact that the undrafted Ward made his mark in the NHL for 726 games is remarkable, but no surprise to those who have met him. For a guy who didn’t get to sign his first pro deal until the age of 25, he’s an anomaly. For players who want to know what hard work and dedication can do for your career, he’s a beacon. And as someone who has overcome long odds to become a two-time 20-goal scorer in the NHL he’s an inspiration.

When Ward Finally Stuck

My first training camp in Nashville was Ward’s first with Nashville, in 2008. I was hired late in the fall, starting work one week into camp. Since I didn’t have much time to learn the team I leaned on my new colleagues and a very honest Barry Trotz who put up with my questions about players I’m sure everyone else knew far more about. Trotz surprised a few people towards the end of camp when he let slip that it looked like Joel Ward was going to make the team. As far as I could tell, he wasn’t really much on the radar headed into camp. Likely he was penciled in to the Milwaukee Admirals lineup, a potential call-up guy. But Ward came in to camp, busted his butt, and made the team with hustle and heart.

From that day on, Ward did not play in the AHL again. He would record ten straight seasons of NHL service. Twice he tore it up in the playoffs with seven goals – once with Nashville, once with San Jose. From time to time, Ward would flash a set of sweet, buttery mitts and score goals that made your jaw drop.

 

A Long, Strange Trip

Ward did all of this the long way. He played four years of Canadian junior hockey and wasn’t drafted. So after his fourth year with Owen Sound, he played eight playoff games for the WCHL’s Long Beach Ice Dogs recording no points or PIMs. Because he could still attend university in Canada and play, he did. Ward went to the University of Prince Edward Island and played four years, graduating with a degree in sociology.

It was only then, at the age of 25 that he signed a pro contract with the AHL’s Houston Aeros. His mom cheering him on. Sadly, Ward’s father passed away when he was just 14 years old. But Ward has said many times that his dad was there on his journey with him, too.

Any time the organization, a broadcaster like me, or a fan asked anything of Joel Ward, he would oblige. Autographs, appearances, interviews, all with a smile. You really got the sense that Ward appreciated where he was and what he was doing. You might not realize how rare that kind of player is, but trust me. They don’t come along very often.

Ward’s Value

With Henderson, I expect Ward will be able to teach directly from his experience. Young players and veterans alike can appreciate his story. There’s no secret in the sauce, it comes from hard work and dedication. Those are core principles any player who hopes to make the NHL one day should learn. Ward has seen it all. He’s ridden the busses, played to empty houses and escaped notice. But he’s also flown on the charters, put on the uniform, and scored a playoff Game 7 game-winning-goal.

Ward is also someone who can speak to the character it takes to make it. He can talk to a young player not only about the highs but about the lows and how to manage them. He will be able to contribute not only to the physical development of a player but the mental side as well. And he will do it all with a smile and as a valued member of the organization and community.

Kudos to Henderson on a tremendous hire. Well done, Wardo.

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Henderson Silver Knights

Tom’s Daily: New HSK Kit; Hintz For Three in Big D

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Tom's Daily Matt Murray Stanley Cup

Tom’s Daily includes new Henderson Silver Knights jerseys; Hintz locked down in Dallas; Is Matt Murray going to work in Ottawa?

Vegas Golden Knights

The Henderson Silver Knights revealed the team’s inaugural season look last night. They look great, and when it comes to design the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. (VHN)

NHL

It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the remaining UFA player because it’s just so darn quiet out there. (Sportsnet)

The Dallas Stars assured a huge piece of the future by signing Roope Hintz to a three-year deal. (TSN)

At some point the NHL is going to get back to play, but making the ends meet is still a work in progress. (Sportsnet)

Is Matt Murray going to lead the Ottawa Senators back to glory? I believe Murray still has a lot in the tank and is a fantastic signing for the Sens. Here’s a great look at signing by Travis Yost. (TSN)

Hockeyverse

King Henrik’s new look in DC is tight. (NHL.com)

As COVID-19 rages, youth hockey continues to wrestle with the question of when and how to play. (WJAR)

That’s it for Tom’s Daily. Don’t miss our free VHN+ preview here – VHN+ is coming soon with exclusive content you can’t find anywhere else for the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL.

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