Why Trent Swick could be an NHL Draft steal for the Golden Knights

NHL Draft picks come and go. However, Trent Swick could be the late-round home run the Vegas Golden Knights needed.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, Rounds 2-7
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, Rounds 2-7 / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

In sports, drafts can be a funny thing sometimes. For every Ryan Leaf, there is a Tom Brady waiting to grasp greatness by the throat. Of course, there's also the polar opposite, where fans will witness Sidney Crosby become a once-in-a-generation player. Meanwhile, the sixth-round pick becomes nothing more than an AHL player at best.

But could that be the case with Trent Swick, the 2024 sixth-round draft pick for the Vegas Golden Knights? The forward from the Kitchener Rangers has plenty going for him. He's 6'7" and weighs 214 lbs., making him a sizable opponent for anybody unfortunate enough to face him. But his build isn't the only thing impressive about Swick.

Last season, he scored 25 goals and 37 assists (63 games) with the Rangers, boasting a +24 rating. But that wasn't the only year where he was a productive player. In 2019-20, he scored 26 goals and 29 assists in 32 games for the Southern Tier Admirals (U16 AAA). He has the potential to break through as a player and become a late-round NHL Draft steal.

Besides, who doesn't love a star that comes out of nowhere? That was the case with Brady, who suddenly became one of the best NFL quarterbacks ever. That adds extra incentive to watching big events like the drafts, where a late-round steal can change the trajectory of a franchise's direction. While that won't be the case with the Vegas Golden Knights, here's how Trent Swick can impact the team.

What makes Trent Swick special?

With big size comes a tough matchup for defenders to tackle. Swick knows how to cut inside, creating the next play for his teammates. He knows how to make adjustments and adapt, making him even more challenging to defend. That comes with deceiving his opponents offensively, a unique trait among players his size. Add incredible vision with the puck and he can become an offensive force.

Of course, it took some time for him to adjust to the Ontario Hockey League's style. In two seasons before 2023-24, he scored 13 goals and 11 assists in 80 games for the Rangers. Same thing in 2018-19, where he only scored four goals and eight assists in 27 games before exploding with the Southern Tier Admirals.

With some seasoning and patience, he can become a viable player for the Golden Knights. Fans should expect him to start slowly, for he's one to adapt to a different league. However, that could also pay off in the long run if he develops properly. That's especially true with Vegas lacking forward depth in their prospect system.

His current trajectory for the Vegas Golden Knights

Sometimes, the NHL Draft has late-round steals come and go. For example, Joe Pavelski was the 205th overall pick in the 2003 draft, with people not giving much thought to him. However, he became a four-time NHL All-Star (and eventually a pain in Vegas's rear), scoring 476 goals and 592 assists.

While it'll be impossible for Trent Swick to duplicate Pavelski's career, he can become a nice goal-scorer for the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas doesn't need him to score 40 goals in a couple of seasons. What they need is consistent scoring. With his penchant for learning and adapting, he can develop into a good role player.

After all, Vegas has rarely developed their first-round draft picks. Instead, they've sent them to different teams, getting incredible talent in return. Don't expect Swick to appear at the NHL level yet, for the 20-year-old still needs to develop. However, he can become a key contributor like fellow big man Nic Hague.