Vegas Golden Knights Claim Ryan Carpenter Off Waivers

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Ryan Carpenter #40 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on October 21, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Ryan Carpenter #40 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on October 21, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Vegas Golden Knights claimed an unheralded forward off the waiver wire Wednesday.

When l looked at the Vegas Golden Knights at the beginning of the season, I saw a ton of balance. The roster had only a few top six forwards but a lot of third and fourth line players. Defensemen in this lineup never saw 20 minutes per game on a consistent basis before. Nevertheless, this team is playing beyond expectations and adapting as the season moves along.

However, when I took a look at this roster, I saw one fatal flaw. The number of left-handed shots on this hockey club outweighs the number of right-handed shots by a wide margin. Out of the 13 forwards on the roster, the Golden Knights only have three right-handed shots.

Usually, teams like to split their rosters in half when it comes to handedness. The team is doing very well without many right-handed shots, which surprises me to some extent. General manager George McPhee still made it a priority to go out and get one even if it’s only for depth purposes.

On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights claimed Ryan Carpenter off of waivers from the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks placed the right-handed centermen on waivers on Tuesday hoping that they would safely send him down to their AHL affiliate. But McPhee had other ideas on how they could use Carpenter on their major league club.

Carpenter only has one assist through 16 games and has underwhelmed early on in the 2017-18 campaign. Then again, the Vegas Golden Knights team is the land of opportunity, and he could prove himself here with bolstered playing time. Just look at how excellent William Karlsson and Erik Haula are playing with added minutes.

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The Oviedo, Florida native put up substantial numbers in the AHL last season with the San Jose Barracuda. Carpenter registered 14 goals, 25 assists and 39 points in 54 games played. In the 2015-16 season, he was a bit better on the score sheet totaling 18 goals, 37 assists and 55 points in 66 games played.

I envision Carpenter being the 13th forward on a nightly basis but I think he will play more than an extra forward should. On most nights I believe Vegas Head Coach Gerard Gallant will scratch him, though if he see’s a line that needs improvement or stability, that’s where Carpenter could come in handy.

Carpenter has a projectable 6’0 195 lb frame, and plays a chippy, grinding style of hockey. He fits the criteria of what Gallant believes in which may be another reason why they added this player. However, he may need to add strength to thrive at the NHL level.

Luckily Vegas didn’t have to use their San Jose expansion pick on this player. Instead, they got this player pretty much for free plus a fifth-round pick in 2019 from Montreal after trading David Schlemko to the Canadiens in the offseason. Another great example of George McPhee accumulating assets.

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All in all, this is a very nice depth move for the Vegas Golden Knights. I don’t expect Carpenter to be in the lineup right away, but he may crack the lineup somewhere if an injury occurs down the road. We’ll see how Carpenter does when he switches jerseys for the first time in his young pro career. Maybe San Jose will regret giving up on Carpenter just like many other teams regret giving up on a specific talented player for nothing in return.