In Kelly McCrimmon’s first draft as a general manager, he was surprisingly able to select Peyton Krebs with the 17th-overall pick. On Day 2 of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights were able to fill up their prospect cupboard with another seven selections. McCrimmon and his scouting staff found great value in all of their new prospects. Here is a review of their 2019 draft class.
Peyton Krebs, Center, 17th Overall
Throughout the season, Krebs was one of the top-ranked centers and was expected to go in the top 10. He suffered an unfortunate Achilles injury before the NHL Combine and many scouts feared this would affect his development. One major scout, TSN director of scouting Craig Button, is not concerned about the injury and thinks Krebs is still a home run pick.
“I don’t have the medical report (on Krebs), but from what I understand and in talking to medical people, this is an injury that will have little to no impact on his future potential and it will heal. “
With a run of defensemen selected earlier than expected, Krebs was still in the stands when the Golden Knights were on the clock.
It didn’t take long for McCrimmon and the rest of the organization to select Krebs. He possesses a high hockey IQ, elite vision, and great skating. Yes, he will lose some valuable development time over the summer, but he is expected to have a quick recovery and could be available for training camp in September, so there is no need to worry.
Kaedan Korczak, Defense, 41st Overall
Korczak is a big, right-shot defenseman from the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL. He has size, at 6-foot-3, but needs to beef up his frame. He likes to transition the puck quickly and is regarded as one of the smartest players in the draft.
While his numbers won’t wow you (4 goals and 29 assists for 33 points), Korczak is one of the best one-on-one defenders and will be the perfect complement to an offensive defenseman.
Pavel Dorofeyev, Left Wing, 79th Overall
Dorofeyev has great puck skills and an incredible release. While playing in Russia’s junior league, the MHL, he potted 17 goals and 31 points in 19 games. He also saw some time in the KHL and at the Spengler Cup tournament, and while his numbers didn’t pop out at that level, he was playing against men who were a lot stronger than he was and he was not averaging a ton of ice time.
Layton Ahac, Defense, 86th Overall
The second defenseman selected by McCrimmon, Ahac is smart player who uses positioning and instincts to defend. Much like Korczak, his offensive game won’t impress you, but he can move the puck around and skate out of trouble if needed.
Ahac is committed to Ohio State University for next season, where the lighter schedule will give him extra gym time to help him add some muscle and work on his skating.
Ryder Donovan, Center, 110th Overall
Donovan has been one of the top high school players in Minnesota over the last two seasons. He has good size and an explosive first stride. His vision and offensive abilities are his best attributes. He can stick handle through you or use his size to crash the net and has a very deadly shot to score from the outside or down low in tight.
He has committed to the University of Wisconsin for next season so he will have time to add weight to his frame to become a power forward at the top level.
Isaiah Saville, Goalie, 135th Overall
The first of three fifth-round selections by the Golden Knights was Saville from the USHL. He is the only goalie Vegas selected in this draft. In his first season, he led the league in goals-against average (GAA) with a 1.90 and 25 wins in 34 games.
Saville was named to the All-Rookie Team, a First Team All-Star, and won the Goaltender of the Year Award. He is now moving on to the college ranks where he will play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Marcus Kallionkieli, Left Wing, 139th Overall
Kallionkieli is a Finnish player from the USHL. He was close to a point-per-game pace last season, but he benefited from more skilled linemates who drove the play while Kallionkieli was the finisher.
Kallionkieli boasts a very good shot but he just lacks the creativity to drive offense on his own. Look for him to keep developing his overall game and he could turn into a good complementary bottom-six forward.
Mason Primeau, Center, 141st Overall
Hockey is part of the Primeau bloodline. His father, Wayne, and uncle, Keith, both played in the NHL and his cousin, Montreal Canadiens prospect, Cayden is expected to be one of the next great NHL goalies. Mason has plenty of size (6-foot-5), but doesn’t have the skill to match. If he can improve his skating and his puck skills, he has the potential to slot into a bottom-six role and become that feared player his father and uncle were.
The Future Grows Everyday
Vegas is still reaping the benefits of their expansion draft trades, as the team had eight selections in the first five rounds of this year’s draft. They also have another eight in the 2020 Draft and could use those picks to help get themselves out of cap trouble since they have already stocked their cupboard with 28 selections in the last three seasons.
McCrimmon and his staff were able to add a lot of skill at the forward position, a couple of defensemen who were molded for today’s NHL, and a goalie who is raw, but oozes talent. They are building from within and that is how you create a championship team in a sports town.