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Golden Knights Analysis

Rookie Breakout Candidates For the Golden Knights

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Paul Cotter Henderson Silver Knights (Photo- Henderson Silver Knights Website)

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 they could do so via their prospect pool.

This week we will look at the framework of the Golden Knights roster and predict PTO candidates, rookie debuts, and finally, the team’s projected line combinations. Today we continue with five prospects who could make the jump into the lineup in 2022-23. As always, when discussing prospects, big shoutout to Jack Manning for the input.

Jake Leschyshyn, Jonas Rondbjerg, and Daniil Miromanov will not be involved in this discussion, as they all played over ten games last season.

Brendan Brisson- Forward

As perhaps the Golden Knight’s best prospect, a lot of eyes will be on Brendan Brisson to make the leap to the NHL this season. At just 20 years old, a little bit more development for Brisson might be wise. But in his seven-game stint with the Henderson Silver Knights, Brisson scored eight points in seven games.

“I expect Brisson to play games this year, but he’ll have a hard time breaking through to start camp. Brisson is definitely the highest-end forward in the organization, but he is going to likely need at least a few months in the AHL to be ready for the jump,” said Golden Knights prospect nerd Jack Manning.

With the losses of Max Pacioretty, Evgenii Dadonov, and Mattias Janmark, the Golden Knights suddenly need scoring help. Olympian and former Michigan Wolverine Brisson could add just that as a winger or even at center. I also expect to see Brisson this season, but it is only a matter of when.

Paul Cotter- Forward

A forward who might have a better chance to make the team over Brisson is Paul Cotter. Despite not having the skillset that Brisson has, Cotter could make the NHL, given the fact that he is further on in his development process. At 22 years of age, Cotter has played four seasons in the AHL and got into seven games with the VGK last season.

Cotter is a dynamic goal-scoring winger who would be a great cheap addition to the Golden Knights lineup if he is NHL-ready. He has more scoring potential than both Jonas Rondbjerg, and Jake Leschyshyn combined. This upcoming season he, along with Leschyshyn and Rondbjerg, will be waiver eligible, meaning they will no longer have the luxury of flip-flopping between the AHL and NHL again. This makes it riskier to send these guys back down to the AHL as they would have to clear waivers.

So if Cotter makes the team out of training camp, expect him to get a legitimate shot at being a regular in the lineup for the Golden Knights.

Kaedan Korczak- Defenseman

According to Manning, Kaedan Korczak is NHL-ready. But the problem is the Golden Knight’s current logjam on defense.

“Korczak is a ready (or nearly ready) NHL defenseman. On a worse team, he would be in the starting lineup for game one of the season. He will eventually be a solid two-way defenseman who can skate but will not put up a ton of points,” said Manning, who compared Korczak’s play style to Brayden McNabb.

So despite being one of the Golden Knight’s top prospects, the former 2019 second-round pick will likely have to wait for either injuries or another season to pass to make it into the NHL full-time.

Pavel Dorofeyev- Forward

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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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