Vegas Golden Knights: A quick but detailed recap of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft

A general view of the draft board following the first round of the 2020 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
A general view of the draft board following the first round of the 2020 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is in the books for the Vegas Golden Knights.

It was a busy couple of days for the Vegas Golden Knights who added six prospects in total to their farm system, including a high-end playmaker and a defenseman that could prove to be an absolute steal.

They also traded a Fourth Round pick in 2022 to the Detroit Red Wings in order to move up to the Fifth Round and take a Swedish goalie. Vegas got a couple of steals and they did a good job of maximising the selections they had at their disposal.

Of course, it will be a few years at least until we can properly judge and evaluate the true merits of the 2020 NHL Draft Class for the Golden Knights, with even First Round pick Brendan Brisson needing time to mature and develop before he is ready for the big leagues.

Here are Vegas’ six picks in total:

  • 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 centers, two defensemen and one goalie, three USA born players, one Swede, one Russian and one Canadian. Swedish goalie Jesper Vikman was the Golden Knights’ tallest pick at 6-foot-3, and offensive defenseman Lukas Cormier was the shortest at 5-foot-10.

And, perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the fact that the Golden Knights didn’t draft a single player from the WHL, and just one of their selections came from Canada in total. That is a big change compared to recent years where the Knights have done a lot of their work in the WHL due to General Manager Kelly McCrimmon’s ties with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Four of Vegas’ eight selections in the first two rounds of previous Drafts came from the Western Hockey League, so it was somewhat of a surprise that McCrimmon and the rest of the front office didn’t dip into that particular pool this year, instead opting to lean on the USHL for a lot of their picks in 2020.

Kelly McCrimmon, Vegas Golden Knights.
Kelly McCrimmon of the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

McCrimmon on the Draft

Speaking of Kelly McCrimmon, the Golden Knights General Manager gave his thoughts on how the 2020 NHL Entry Draft went for his organization. “The Golden Knights fans should be really comfortable with the guys who are in charge of finding our players for the Entry Draft. I believe we have a tremendous staff and thank you to all of those people for their work throughout the year and the last two days.

“Our preparation was really good, I knew that it would be. The decision to find a draft pick in the Fifth Round, to be able to take the goalie (Jesper Vikman) really rounded out our draft class nicely. We wanted to take a goalie if possible. The organization got better over the last two days, these are two of the more important days of the year. Maybe the most important days of the year for any NHL team. I was really pleased that we were able to come away with the players that we did.”

Inside Track

Bob Lowes, the Vegas Golden Knights Assistant Director of Player Personnel, was at the heart of everything the Golden Knights did across the two days of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

He was also responsible for ensuring that the Golden Knights had done their homework on each prospect and got their Draft Board together months before the main event, so it was interesting to hear his views on Vegas’ 2020 Draft Class.

“You always go into the Draft hoping you add some talent and assets to your stable, and I think we were picking a little later in each round for the most part until the Third. I thought we did a really good job. I think we were patient in the First Round and got a player we were really excited about getting in Brandon Brisson. I think he will be full value for us.”

Moving on up

Without a pick after the Third Round until the Sixth, the Golden Knights got aggressive by dealing a Fourth Round selection in 2022 to the Detroit Red Wings in order to move up to the Fifth Round, where they took Swedish goaltender Jesper Vikman with the 125th overall pick.

Bob Lowes explained the thought process behind that aggressive move, and why the scouting and personnel team liked Vikman so much. “Well I think you put your list together, and our collaboration with Mike Rosati and our scouting staff. We really liked his size. He is 6-foot-3, he still isn’t physically developed yet in that he’s only 180 pounds, so he has some growth there. What we liked about him is that he has a really good development path. He was picked by Portland in the Western League, which means he is not coming over this year.

“He will stay and play junior, and then he will come over the following year. We just like the development path. His athleticism, his ability to move, his size.”

Closing Remarks

So the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is in the books and the Golden Knights seem pretty pleased with this year’s Draft Class. They covered a lot of bases and ticked a lot of boxes across all six picks and their farm system should be a lot better.

I’m particularly intrigued by Maxim Marushev, the Russian forward drafted with the 215th overall pick in the Seventh Round by the Golden Knights. Marushev is a 6-foot-1, 170 lbs center who recorded 40 points (23 G, 17) in 35 games for Bars Kazan in the VHL last season.

The Golden Knights haven’t exactly got a good record when it comes to developing prospects from Russia, just look at Nikita Gusev, but Marushev has good size and could develop into a solid checking forward that can provide secondary scoring from a bottom-six role in the NHL.

As already mentioned, this is going to be a hard Draft class to assess in the immediate future, it might take up to five years until we can give a solid evaluation of it. Brendan Brisson, Vegas’ First Round pick, will need a couple of years before he’s NHL ready but he certainly has plenty of upside and could develop into a potent top-six playmaker for the Knights.

dark. Next. Post Draft news & notes

We will have a lot more content on the 2020 NHL Entry Draft in the coming days, including final grades on all six prospects. We need to get Free Agency out of the way first, which opens at noon ET on Friday. But make sure you stick with us for plenty of content over the coming days with the Golden Knights looking likely that they will make some major moves.

*All quotes in this story come from