It happened: Marc-Andre Fleury, three-time Stanley Cup champ and probably one of the best goaltenders in the league, is the face of the NHL’s brand-new Vegas Golden Knights franchise. (If you look closely at the video below, you will see that Sidney Crosby was slightly pissed about losing his long-time roommate and clutch teammate. Can’t blame him.)
But looking at the bigger picture, there will actually be solid Vegas Golden Knights team next season, with the likes of James Neal, Reilly Smith, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Marc Methot. Today, we give you a one-sentence-per-player analysis of the (real) Vegas Golden Knights:
Just for fun, I put a (*) beside the players that were correctly picked in our Vegas Expansion Draft Preview article (https://6sidesports.net/2017/06/20/expansion-draft-preview-who-goes-to-vegas/) released on Tuesday.
Calvin Pickard – A steady backup goaltender with a ton of upside and some NHL experience between the pipes.
Luca Sbisa – A solid top-4 D-man that can defend well and get some points too.
Teemu Pulkkinen – He hasn’t produced the points yet, but he could be a decent third-line winger in the near future.
Jon Merrill – A depth defenseman.
William Carrier – A prospect power forward.
Tomas Nosek – A prospect left-winger with a big frame.
Cody Eakin – An experienced, reliable bottom-six forward.
Jonathan Marchessault – A rising goal scorer with elite potential – a 30 goal scorer last season.
Brayden McNabb* – A solid fifth or sixth man on your blueline.
Connor Brickley – 5 points in 23 career NHL games for a 25-year old forward is a bit underwhelming.
Chris Thorburn – A Don Cherry favourite, Vegas has their rock ’em-sock ’em goon.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – A bottom-six filler in the forward unit.
Jason Garrison – You can put him anywhere in your top six D-man unit.
Jean-Francois Berube – A minor-league goalie who can maybe be an NHL backup in the future.
James Neal* – A top-line winger with one crazy shot and a big frame.
Deryk Engelland – A third-line defenseman with a knack for throwing bodies around.
Brendan Leipsic – A minor-league goal scorer who killed juniors but has yet to snipe cellies in the big league.
Colin Miller* – A steady, two-way defenseman that could be put on the second or third line.
Marc Methot – He is a top-four defenseman on any NHL team that is known for his energy, smarts, and physicality.
David Perron* – He’s had his ups and downs, but it’s safe to say that Perron can consistently contribute and play both ends of the ice on the third line.
Oscar Lindberg – A big, skilled third liner who hasn’t hit his ceiling quite yet.
Griffin Reinhart – A highly sought-after defensive prospect back in 2012 who is starting to reach his top-six potential.
Alexei Emelin – A big-body, hard-hitting defenseman that comes at a hefty price for a second/third-line blueliner.
Clayton Stoner – A solid sixth or seventh defenseman, depending on injuries.
Marc-Andre Fleury* – I really don’t have to tell you how great he is.
Erik Haula – A small, skilled forward who can put up third-line numbers.
William Karlsson – Started to peak at the NHL last year as a third-line contributor, so we’ll see if he’s able to stay in the big club for a full season.
Trevor van Riemsdyk* – A skilled top-four blueliner who still has yet to reach his ceiling.
Nate Schmidt – A solid fourth or fifth guy on the blueline.
You know what… this team already looks better than the Vancouver Canucks.