If you haven’t already noticed, I have taken a break from covering the Henderson Silver Knights on a weekly basis with my “Silver Knight Sundays.” The reasoning is simple, as the Vegas Golden Knights roster is essentially made up of half Silver Knights and half Golden Knights due to injuries.
The Golden Knight’s injury crisis this season has forced them to rely on over a dozen Silver Knights players to patch up the lineup. Eleven players have made their NHL debut with the Golden Knights this season. And that’s not to mention AHL/NHL veterans like Adam Brooks, Derrick Pouliot, and Sven Baertschi who all saw games.
Depth scoring is huge, especially in the stretch run. So with the VGK off until tomorrow’s rematch against the Kraken, today we will look at the hierarchy of the Silver Knights call-ups.
Henderson Silver Knights Call-Up Hierarchy
Obviously, when a player gets called up they are likely replacing an injured player in a specific situation. The Golden Knights would not call up Logan Thompson if Mark Stone got injured. B
ut for the sake of this exercise let’s assume the Golden Knights are fully healthy (which may never happen) and go from there.
1st Call-Up: Logan Thompson- G
While you can only carry two goaltenders at a time I think we all see the potential of Logan Thompson and how he is NHL ready. Thompson’s route to the NHL is another classic tale of hard work and dedication as the 25-year old goaltender has paid his dues in the CHL, ECHL, and AHL.
This season he has played in 11 games for the Golden Knights, starting the last eight games for the VGK with both Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit hurt. Against the Kraken Wednesday night, he made 23 saves for his first NHL shutout.
Thompson’s emergence as a stable NHL goaltender has made the Golden Knights goaltending situation a lot more interesting. As Lehner looks to return from injury, don’t expect this to be the last we see of Logan Thompson in the NHL.
2nd Call-Up- Jake Leschyshyn- F
We take a significant jump in quality to our next player on the list, Jake Leschyshyn, who is now on pace to play more NHL games this season than he is in AHL games. He has played 32 games for the VGK this season scoring one goal, four assists, and five points.
A 2017 second-round pick, Leschyshyn has been solid in his time in the NHL but not flashy by any means. He averages just over 11 minutes of ice time per game and has seen some time on the penalty kill.
With the myriad of injuries to the Golden Knights forward group, Leschyshyn has been looked at to patch the VGK’s forward corps along with the next player on our list.
3rd Call-Up- Jonas Rondbjerg- F
Fellow 2017 draft picks, Jake Leschyshyn and Jonas Rondbjerg have been linked together all season for the Golden Knights as they are the two players called up the most frequently when injuries inflict the VGK at forward.
Like Leschyshyn, Rondbjerg is on pace to play more games in the NHL this season than in the NHL. Rondbjerg has two goals, three assists, and five points and averages under ten minutes for DeBoer and the Golden Knights.
Wednesday night against the Kraken, Rondbjerg had a strong game with an assist, and two drawn penalties. With injuries set to continue as Keegan Kolesar is now out, both Rondbjerg and Leschyshyn need to continue their offense and give the Golden Knights that much-needed secondary scoring.
4th Call-Up- Daniil Miromanov- D
Rounding out the quartet of Silver Knights characters who are always getting recalled/send down is Daniil Miromanov. The Golden Knights have proven to be deep on defense with the emergence of Coghlan, Whitecloud, and the signing of Ben Hutton.
But even then injuries have forced Miromanov into the lineup and he has played 11 games in the NHL this season, scoring one point with just under ten minutes of average ice time per game.
With Brayden McNabb and Alec Martinez back, we have likely seen the last of Miromanov this season. But it is good to know that he is always back there as an option when men go down for the Golden Knights.
5th Call-Up- Paul Cotter- F
Now we are truly into the nitty-gritty of the Golden Knights prospect pool/call-up list as Paul Cotter is our next name. Cotter has played just seven games with the Golden Knights this season but in those seven games, he scored two goals.
Both Leschyshyn and Rondbjerg may have him beat in terms of all-around play, but one thing is for sure and that is that Cotter can score in bunches. He has 14 goals in 46 games for the Silver Knights this season.
If Cotter can get to scoring at a more consistent pace, then he can aim for a roster spot on the Golden Knights potentially as soon as next season.
6th Call-Up- Pavel Dorofeyev- F
Pavel Dorofeyev currently leads the Silver Knights in scoring and has been their best player all-around this season offensively. Yet he has only been recalled by the Golden Knights a handful of times this season and played just one game.
It seems clear that management wants Dorofeyev to develop in the minors before thrusting him into the NHL. After all, he is only 21 years old and was drafted in 2019 in the third round.
He’s the obvious darkhorse pick for the Golden Knights next season as a player that could come out of nowhere and make the NHL.
7th Call-Up- Zack Hayes- D
The next three games are very similar in that they are all young defensemen called up from the Silver Knights that played a handful of games and then were sent down once players came back for the Golden Knights.
Zack Hayes leads the charge as a 22-year old defenseman who played in three games for the VGK recently. He averages 10:53 in those three games.
All three of these defenders played sheltered minutes and none truly showed what they were capable of just yet at the NHL level.
8th Call-Up- Kaedan Korczak- D
While Korczak has only played one NHL game with the VGK this season, he has received high praise from head coach Peter DeBoer, who stated Korczak was a player that impressed him during training camp.
In his one and only game with the Golden Knights, Korczak played 16:37 and was a plus-one against the Buffalo Sabres.
9th Call-Up- Brayden Pachal- D
The captain of the Henderson Silver Knights, Brayden Pachal was also called up while the Golden Knight’s injuries on defense piled up and he played two games.
Again, there is not much to say about Pachal (yet) as he has a tough path to make it to the NHL as a regular with the Golden Knight’s current defensive outlook.
10th Call-Up- Ben Jones- F
Ben Jones might be the most forgotten name the Golden Knights have had play for them this season having only played two games for the VGK back in November. Since then the team has gotten healthier and not needed Jones’ services.
But that has not stopped him from scoring in the minors as he is on pace for over 30 points and 20 goals in 70 games for the Silver Knights.
11th Call-Up- Sven Baertschi- F
NHL veteran Sven Baertschi’s NHL career is coming to a close, but he still made his way into the Golden Knights lineup for one game in mid-November. Like now-former Golden Knight Derrick Pouliot, Baertschi is less of a prospect and more of a veteran NHL/AHL guy that can help the Golden Knight’s prospects bloom.
12th Call-Up- Jiri Patera- G
While technically not an NHL player yet, Jiri Patera is just removed from backing up Logan Thompson for the last handful of games. Only Wednesday night against the Kraken did this streak come to an end with Robin Lehner coming back.
Patera is a 2017 sixth-round pick of the Golden Knights who has split this season between the ECHL, AHL, and now NHL.
So what did we learn? Well first and foremost, the Golden Knights have had a lot of injuries this season prompting them to use a heck of a lot of players from their AHL affiliate. Secondly, I think this shows the current lack of depth in the VGK organization when it comes to prospects.
People have criticized the departures of guys like Nick Suzuki, Cody Glass, Peyton Krebs, and Erik Branstrom, and while some of that criticism is overblown, this collection of AHL players is an example.
The Golden Knights traded these guys to get big-name players like Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. But they haven’t been healthy all season. So that has left the VGK with whatever prospects they have had left and nobody, outside of Thompson has truly excelled. Just something to keep an eye on in the stretch run.