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Golden Knights Free Agency

PTO Candidates For the Golden Knights



Training camp is less than three weeks away. The Vegas Golden Knights have a couple of things left to check off their to-do list, such as signing restricted free agent Nicolas Hague. But from an organizational depth standpoint, they also have a couple of areas to address and could do so via PTOs.

For those of you that don’t know or need a refresher, a PTO is a professional tryout contract that can be handed out to NHL free agents. These players are then invited to training camps and have a shot at making an NHL team.

This week we will look at the framework of the Golden Knights roster and predict PTO candidates, rookie debuts, and the team’s line combinations. Today we start with PTO candidates for the VGK.

Will Riedell- D

The Golden Knights currently have one player signed to a PTO, and that is an undrafted 25-year-old defenseman, Will Riedell. He is a physical two-way defenseman who is just now emerging from college after playing for both Lake Superior State and captaining the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Riedell recently made his professional hockey debut with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL.

With the current framework of the Golden Knight’s defense, Riedell will not likely make the team as a top-six defenseman but rather a depth defenseman, likely with the Henderson Silver Knights.

Evan Rodrigues- W/C

The Golden Knights just signed Phil Kessel for added help at wing. But could they add another free agent and former Pittsburgh Penguin in Evan Rodrigues? The biggest thing Rodrigues has going for him is his connection with Jack Eichel, as the two played together at the University of Boston.

E-Rod is also coming off of a career year at age 29 and can play both wing and center while also being a weapon on the powerplay. I would be surprised if Rodrigues does not have at least a PTO from any team by the start of NHL training camps.

Sonny Milano- W

A lot of what can be said about Rodrigues applies to Sonny Milano. He is a tad younger at 26 but scored fewer points this past season as he tallied 34 and Rodrigues 43. But the former first-round pick has the potential to be a good complimentary forward on a contending team like the Golden Knights.

Michael Stone- D

Here’s where we get into a bit more speculation. The only reason I put Michael Stone here as opposed to other free-agent defensemen like PK Subban and Anton Stralman is because of who Michael’s brother is, and that is Golden Knights captain Mark Stone.

Like I said earlier, the Golden Knight’s top-six defense is set for the upcoming season, so the only role I could see Michael Stone having with the Golden Knights is as a depth guy or Silver Knight.

But you never know; Ben Hutton was an unsigned free agent defenseman when last season started and is now a reliable seventh defenseman for the VGK.

Daniel Sprong- W

Getting back to the topic of wingers, Daniel Sprong was a highly-touted prospect in Pittsburgh before things didn’t work out, and he bounced around in the league.

He spent last season with the Seattle Kraken and only played in 16 games, scoring in six of them. Two seasons ago, he seemed to fit in well with the Washington Capitals as he had 20 points in 63 games.

Sprong is a scoring winger and not much else. But that is something the VGK could use given the losses of Max Pacioretty, Evgenii Dadonov, and Mattias Janmark.

Sam Steel- C/W

Sam Steel is another prospect who never truly panned out. The former first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks had 20 points in 68 games last season, but the Ducks decided not to keep him.

He could be a low-risk fringe NHL forward with all the potential in the world to have a breakout season, similar to Brett Howden last season.

Zach Aston-Reese- W

Yet another player who has ties to the Penguins, Zach Aston-Reese was traded to the Ducks in the Rickard Rakell trade. ZAR is the epitome of a bottom-six grinder and had 15 points in 69 games played last season.

His play style is similar to someone like Keegan Kolesar, and the VGK could give him an offer if they feel their bottom-six needs assistance.

Joe Thornton- C/W

The only reason I include Jumbo Joe here is because he has seemingly been bouncing from contending teams with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers to try and win his first Stanley Cup. He could see the Golden Knights as a team that is close and sign in Vegas. But I don’t know where Joe would play.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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