As things currently stand, the Vegas Golden Knights do not draft until day two of the 2022 NHL Draft with the no. 48 overall pick. They traded away their 2022 first-round pick (16th overall) to the Buffalo Sabres as a part of the blockbuster Jack Eichel deal. Still, the draft is just five days away in Montreal, which calls for some speculation on who the Golden Knights may pick.
The Golden Knights currently have six picks in the draft. They have their own second, fifth, sixth, and seventh-round picks. They also have the New York Ranger’s second-round pick (Ryan Reaves trade), and the Chicago Blackhawk’s fifth-round pick (Mattias Janmark trade). The VGK will draft 48th, 95th, 135th, 145th, 177th, and 209th overall.
Golden Knights Draft Needs
With the Golden Knight’s tendency to trade away young prospects and draft picks in blockbuster deals, their prospect cupboard is thin as things currently stand. Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstom, Peyton Krebs, and Cody Glass have all been traded away for NHL-ready superstar players like Jack Eichel and Mark Stone.
So heading into the 2022 draft, the Golden Knights are in need of just about everything when it comes to prospects. They still have some good prospects in the mix with Brendan Brisson, Pavel Dorofeyev, and Jack Dugan, but still need to re-stock the prospect pool with additional talent.
The Golden Knights also have a decent batch of young NHL-ready defensemen in their organization with Zach Whitecloud, Nicolas Hague, and Dylan Coghlan. They also have a young Logan Thompson in goal. So if I were a betting man, I would expect the Golden Knights to take some forwards in the 2022 draft.
This year’s draft is said to not be anything special, but at the same time be deep enough that it could provide some late-round steals for some teams. General manager Kelly McCrimmon is hoping he can fish out an under-the-radar guy.
Let’s do a quick rapid-fire recap on who some of the top scouts and news outlets have been projecting to go 48th overall.
Montreal Hockey Now has been killing it with draft coverage in anticipation of the Canadiens likely picking Shane Wright with the first overall pick. In Marco D’Amico’s final draft rankings, he lists Adam Sykora as his projected no. 48 pick.
Sykora is a 17-year-old Slovakian left-winger who McKeen’s Hockey and TSN Insider Craig Button also have going at 48th.
Our friends over at Smaht Scouting predict Finish left-winger Jani Nyman from Ilves going at 48. Finally, Bob Mckenzie has Danil Zhilkin, a center from Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League.
With a mid-round draft pick in the second round, it is hard to speculate on who exactly the Golden Knights will pick. We will have to wait until Wednesday to fully scout out which player the VGK will add to their franchise.
Will We See A Golden Knights Trade?
Of course, there is always a possibility that the Golden Knights could trade up, or even down at the draft. We have entered trade season in the NHL offseason, and now comes the time when general managers make some of the boldest moves to re-shape their team in preparation for free agency.
The Golden Knights need cap space more than they need prospects as their deal for Reilly Smith is still in limbo. They have about $5.2 million in cap space from the Evgenii Dadonov trade, but Smith will eat that up with his reported three-year contract extension at around $5 million.
Don’t be surprised if the Golden Knights make a big move next week. Hague, Nolan Patrick, Laurent Brossoit, and William Karlsson are all players that I could see getting moved. The New Jersey Devils (no. 2 overall), Ottawa Senators (no. 7 overall), and New York Islanders (no. 13 overall) have been rumored to be interested in potentially moving their first-round picks.