Vegas Golden Knights Top 10 WHL NHL Draft Options


The Vegas Golden Knights have interesting options in the Western Hockey League.

This draft is being called labeled as worst draft since 1999, but that draft still produced players like Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson, Radim Vrbata, and Martin Erat so it be wise for the Vegas Golden Knights to still take as my chances as they can get. We will be taking at look at the top prospects league by league. First let’s start off with Western Hockey League or WHL.

  1. Nolan Patrick. Center. 18 Years Old 6’3 198lbs. Brandon Wheat Kings. 28 Games 18 Goals 24 Assists.

It’s easy to see why Patrick is predicted to go number one in the NHL draft. He is the ultimate offensive juggernaut with great hands, a great shot, and all around great playmaking abilities. Patrick would be a fantastic player for the Golden Knights to start their franchise with, but the Knights will have to get one of the top two picks for that to happen.

Patrick has connections to the Vegas Golden Knights too. Vegas Golden Knights Assistant GM, Kelly McCrimmon, was the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings for Patrick’s first two seasons. In addition, Patrick is also the teammate of Reid Duke, the greatest player in Vegas Golden Knights history.

  1. Cody Glass. Center. 17 Years Old 6’2 179lbs. Portland Winterhawks. 64 Games 29 Goals 60 Assists

Cody Glass is one of my favorite players in this years draft. Glass is a two-way forward and an amazing playmaker. This play kind of sums up Glass perfectly.

He is out there killing a penalty, uses his speed to get room on the defense, demonstrates his great puck control, never gives up the play, and the amazing shot when in tight position. He is the competitor to end all competitors. Hence why, Glass is projected to go around 14th-30th in the draft. He won’t be the Vegas Golden Knights’ 1st round pick, but if he slips to the second round get the champagne bottles out.

  1. Callan Foote. Defenseman. 18 Years Old 6’3 209lbs. Kelowna Rockets. 66 Games 5 Goals 48 Assists

The son of long time NHL’er Adam Foote is not like his Dad that much. Foote is not a physical player, but he is great two defenseman. He is able to QB a powerplay and lock down in the zone.

Foote is also extremely smart and probably the smartest player on the ice every shift. If you check out his highlights you can see how well he reads plays and perfectly knows when to sneak in or pinch to generate scoring chances.

  1. Kailer Yamamoto. Center. 18 Years Old 5’8 159lbs. Spokane Chiefs. 59 Games 37 Goals 48 Assists

You want a player teams are going to regret not taking because of his height? Then Yamamoto is your guy. The 5’8 center has been dominate in the WHL since in his rookie season. He also had great success at the 2015-16 U18s with 13 points in 7 games.

Yamamoto is a hype train that I would ride and one I thought more people would jump, but that doesn’t to be the case. Yamamoto is projected to go from 14th to 29th, but Alex Debrincat fell to the second round so it wouldn’t be terrible to get your hopes up about Vegas taking him in the second.

  1. Michael Rasmussen. Center. 17 Years Old. 6’5 203lbs. Tri-City Americans. 50 Games 32 Goals 23 Assists

Rasmussen is an interesting prospect. He scores goals and has great size, but Rasmussen comes with a tremendous amount of red flags though.

Almost half of Rasmussen’s goal have come on the power play and that is true for both 2016-17 and 2015-16. If you draft Rasmussen, I believe you’re getting a player like Michael McCarron, and that is not worth top 10 value, which is where some project him to go. Inclusion Vegas needs to pass on Rasmussen.

  1. Jusso Valimaki. Defenseman. 18 Years Old. 6’2 201lbs. Try-City Americans. 54 Games 18 Goals 40 Assists

Probably the top 20 pick with the least amount of hype around him is Valimaki. The Finnish defenseman is having a great season with Tri-City though and is a leader on their powerplay. He was also on team Finland at the World Juniors this year, scoring two goals in 6 games.

Valimaki will not be a top six pick and he’ll never drop to the second round. He is projected to go 10th to 20th in the draft, so the odds he ends up in Vegas are next to nothing.

  1. Nikita Popugayev. Right Wing. 18 Years Old. 6’6 203lbs. Prince George Cougars. 67 Games 28 Goals 38 Assists

The giant Russian is an interesting prospect. He has what you can’t teach in size, but does that matter in the modern and in the future NHL? Popugayev is a very risky prospect.

When with the Moose Jaw Warrior, Popugayev was over a point per game with 51 points in 40 games. Then in January, he was traded to the Cougars, where he has struggled and only put up 15 points in 27 games. He is another first round projected pick who will probably slip to the second round.

  1.  Kole Lind. Right Wing. 18 Years Old. 6’1 176lbs. Kelowna Rockets. 65 Games 28 Goals 52 Assists

Lind is another first round talent that could easily fall to the second round. The thing that jumps out at you the most is the 52 assists and they should. Lind is not just feeding some goal scorer machine, his assists have come up and down the lineup.

This is proven true when his top line mates, Dillon Dube and Calvin Thürkauf, left for the world juniors. In the 11 games during World Junior time, Lind had 16 points in 11 games. Lastly, he has also moved past last year’s consistency problem.

  1. Henri Jokiharju. Defensemen. 17 Years Old. 6’0 170lbs. Portland Winterhawks. 65 Games 8 Goals 36 Assists

Jokiharju is a very smart player offensively. He is always able to make that first pass out of the zone. Jokiharju never seems to take a bad shot and is able to make plenty of plays from the blueline.

The second best Finnish defenseman in the WHL is comparable to Troy Stecher in opinion. Their games are so similar to each other. Jokiharju is not thought of to be a first round pick and maybe not even a lock in the second round.

  1. Stelio Mattheos. Center. 17 Years Old. 6’1 194lbs. Brandon Wheat Kings. 63 Games 25 Goals 32 Assists

When it was first announced Vegas would be getting an NHL team the gambling jokes were all over, so in the spirit of that I bet $5,000 on the Vegas Golden Knights taking Mattheos in the third round. Why Stelio Mattheos in the third round? Here is a list to tell you all the reasons.

  • That Brandon Wheat King Connection

Mattheos has plenty of red flags. The first red flag is his speed. The second red flag is that 56% of his goals have come on the powerplay that is a major red flag. Third red flag is he plays with Nolan Patrick, due to Patrick his point total is inflated. When Patrick is in the lineup, Mattheos has a 1.21 ppg (35 Points in 29GP), which is a lot higher than .65 ppg (22 Points in 34GP) when Patrick is not in the lineup.

As a result I’m not that high on Mattheos. Therefore, I would say pass on Mattheos. 

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Time for the hat trick of mentioning the WHL Connection with Kelly McCrimmon, but it is something to remember. The Vegas Golden Knights will have a strong knowledge of the WHL thanks to McCrimmon. With quite a few good options, don’t be too surprised to see a few players on this list drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in June.