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Golden Knights Prospect List Too Thin to Provide Much Help

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Brendan brisson, vegas golden Knights

Earlier in the season, the Athletic ranked the Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect collection 23rd out of 32 NHL teams. Since then, the Golden Knights traded away their top prospect David Edstrom to San Jose in the Tomas Hertl trade.

TSN draft analyst Craig Button listed his top 50 affiliated prospects in February, and the Golden Knights didn’t have a single player on his list.

The Golden Knights don’t have a line of blue chip players waiting for their opportunities. It’s entirely possible that the player they draft at No. 19 next month will instantly become their best prospect. It will be the earliest they have drafted in the first round since taking Peyton Krebs 17th overall in 2019.

That’s not a failing as much as it is a strategy. The Golden Knights trade away draft picks and prospects to acquire players who can help them now. They accept the reality that their prospect pool will be shallow.

Here’s the Vegas Hockey Now List of Their Top Five Prospects

1. Left Wing/Right Wing Brendan Brisson (Drafted 29th overall in 2020)

With eight points in 15 games, Brisson, 22, has proven he can contribute at the NHL level. That’s a 44-point pace. When the roster reshaping is done next fall, Brisson may have a place on their third line.

The Golden Knights asked Brisson to improve his all around game this season, and he worked on it for Henderson in the American Hockey League. He is trying to become a more effective forechecker and a.stingier defensive forward.

Vegas coaches need Brisson to be ready for next season because salary cap concerns could leave their forward depth thin.

2. Goalie Carl Lindbom (Drafted 222nd in 2021)

Swedish puckstopper Carl Lindbom, 20, made more progress than any other Golden Knights prospect this season. He was given consideration for No. 1.

This year, Lindbom enjoyed a memorable season for Farjestads BK Karlstad, posting a 17-7-0 record with a .911 save percentage in the Swedish Hockey League. He played four games for the Swedish National Team, posting 4-0 shutout against Finland in an exhibition game last month.

Lindbom was drafted in the seventh round, third from the bottom, in the 2021 NHL draft. He has developed impressively since then. He will need AHL seasoning, but there’s every indication he is headed to the NHL.

3. Defenseman Lukas Cormier (Drafted 68th in 2020)

If the Golden Knights move a veteran defensman to open up cap space, Cormier may be first in line. Cormier, 22, has logged 120 games of American Hockey League experience.

He’s a creative offensive defenseman who competes hard. Cormier is under six feet. He needs a coach who trusts his offensive instincts and believes in his all around game.  He’s probably going to be a No. 4 defenseman or a third pairing guy.

The former Quebec Major Junior Hockey standout can run a power play.

4. Center Matyas Sapovaliv (Drafted 48th in 2022)

The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder Matyas Sapovaliv can be the big center every NHL coach wants. The Czech standout posted 62 points in 54 games for the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League.

He’s already a decent all-around player, effective in the faceoff circle and always mindful of his defensive responsibility.

Sapovaliv is more of a project than a finished product. But he is intriguing.

5. Forward Mathieu Cataford (Drafted 77th overall in 2023)

After registering 90 points in 65 games this season for the Halifax Mooseheads, Cataford picked up a pair of assists for the Silver Knights.  He can shoot, pass and battle.

Cataford, 19, isn’t going to develop into a first-line performer, but he should be able to produce offense at the NHL level. But it will be a while before we see him in Vegas.

 

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