Vegas Golden Knights: Post Draft, pre Free Agency news and notes

Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates through the spotlights. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates through the spotlights. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

There’s lots going on in the world of the Vegas Golden Knights right now.

We’re here to catch you up on all things Vegas Golden Knights because there is a hell of a lot going on right now.

We’ve just wrapped up the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and Free Agency is due to open at noon ET on Friday.

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The Golden Knights are working hard behind the scenes in order to try and make some major moves on Friday, and they’ve already been busy over the past couple of days.

So, without further ado, let’s get you caught up with all the latest pertaining to the Golden Knights right now…

2020 NHL Entry Draft

This year’s Draft is now in the books and it was a long couple of days with Day Two taking just under eight hours to complete.

It was an absolute marathon.

However, it was a productive couple of days for the Golden Knights who bolstered their farm system with six picks.

They selected high-end playmaker Brendan Brisson with the No.29 overall pick in the First Round, and the son of super agent Pat Brisson boasts a hell of a lot of upside.

Vegas also traded up in the Fifth Round to take a Swedish goalie, and we’ve listed their picks below for you:

  • First Round – No.29 overall – C, Brendan Brisson – Chicago, USHL
  • Third Round – No. 68 overall – D, Lukas Cormier – Charlottetown, QMJHL
  • Third Round – No. 91 overall – C, Jackson Hallum – St. Thomas, High-MN
  • Fifth Round – No. 125 overall – G, Jesper Vikman – AIK JR, Sweden
  • Sixth Round – No. 184 overall – D, Noah Ellis – Des Moines, USHL
  • Seventh Round – No. 215 overall – C, Maxim Marushev – Bars Kazan, VHL

The final totals amounted to three forwards, all centers, two defensemen and one goalie with no picks from the WHL, which is a huge surprise given Vegas General Manager Kelly McCrimmon’s background.

The headline of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft for the Golden Knights was the fact that they drafted another high-end offensive talent in Brendan Brisson, who boasts a lot of upside and potential.

They may have also pulled off an absolute steal with defenseman Lukas Cormier with the 68th overall pick, while Maxim Marushev is an interesting late round selection.

We’ll be delving a lot more into each pick over the coming days so make sure you keep an eye out for that.

Nate Schmidt #88 and Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights
Nate Schmidt #88 and Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights smile during a training camp practice at City National Arena. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Stephenson, Cousins & other RFA’s

While the Draft was going on there was some notable news relating to free agency to emerge from the Golden Knights camp.

Chandler Stephenson signed a four-year, £11 million extension after establishing himself as a key role player for the Knights, and you can read all about that deal here.

Home-grown forward Gage Quinney also signed an extension at one-year, $700k while Qualifying Offers were extended to defenseman Jimmy Schuldt and forwards Reid Duke and Keegan Kolesar.

These can be signed on Friday.

However, Qualifying Offers were not extended to Brett Lernout or Nick Cousins, with both now set to hit the open market once Free Agency begins on Friday.

Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon did suggest that Cousins could still be an option, but that is depending on if the Golden Knights can clear the necessary cap space.

Cousins would be a nice piece to bring back as a depth player, and he was solid in seven regular season games with the Knights, posting three points (1 G, 2 A) while averaging 13:53 minutes of ice time.

However, there’s a lot of work to be done by the Golden Knights before they can think of bringing Cousins back.

Which brings us on to…

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues poses for a portrait ahead of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Free Agency

Friday could be a big day for the Golden Knights. Or it could be an absolute dud.

It is no secret that they are shopping a number of considerable pieces, including Marc-Andre Fleury, Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny in order to free up the cap space needed to go big-game hunting once Free Agency opens on Friday.

The Buyout window has now closed so the Knights will have to move those pieces in a trade if they are to create the cap space they need, while they will also need to get cap compliant before the start of the 2020-21 season with Vegas currently over the $81.5 million salary cap.

If the Golden Knights can clear some salary then don’t be surprised if they are in the running for a big hitter in Alex Pietrangelo or Torey Krug.

With Free Agency set to be dominated by goalies this year, don’t be surprised to see Vegas take advantage with a backup goalie a need that will have to be addressed if Fleury is traded.

Next. Golden Knights round out 2020 Draft with size. dark

Overall, it has been a busy week so far and it should only get busier as the meaty part of the off-season kicks up a gear.

That’s your quick news recap and we will have plenty of Draft breakdown coverage in addition to a look ahead to Free Agency on the site.