Golden Edge mailbag: On Nate Schmidt, bobbleheads, more

Updated October 30, 2018 - 4:55 pm

Send NHL writer Ben Gotz all your Golden Knights questions and hot takes. Tweet him @BenSGotz or email him bgotz@reviewjournal.com.

It was a busy week for the Golden Knights with another contract extension, more injuries and a special giveaway, and there’s questions on all of them! Let’s get to it:

“Is Nate Schmidt European?” – @JustinLevineHBS

Short answer: No.

Newly extended defenseman Nate Schmidt is not skating away his 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs in Vienna, Austria, because he gets to see family and friends.

The Saint Cloud, Minnesota, native actually is about 4,700 miles from his kin.

Schmidt went overseas because he can’t participate in team activities (including meetings and practices) until 10 days before his suspension ends, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He is eligible to play again Nov. 18 at Edmonton, so a return date is close.

Skating with the Austrian Hockey League’s Vienna Capitals allows him to stay in shape and practice against a decent level of competition until then. He probably fit in some European sightseeing too after signing his new $35.7 million contract.

“That’s…a 2nd PP unit.” – @Kowikie

The Knights’ second power-play unit on Sunday, which consisted of defenseman Colin Miller and forwards Erik Haula, Oscar Lindberg, Tomas Hyka and Ryan Reaves, wasn’t what the team envisioned this offseason.

Still, it’s hard to knock something when it works.

The Knights only had four power-play goals entering Tuesday but one of them came from that group of five and newfound power-play weapon Reaves. Maybe the bruising winger, who scored the first power-play of his career Sunday against the Ottawa Senators, is the net-front presence the Knights need with that unit while they’re missing forwards Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty.

“What should be the next sponsored bobblehead by VGK and why?” – @E15Emerson

It’s going to be hard to follow bobbleheads for mascot Chance and defenseman Deryk Engelland (especially since the team made a video with the latter set to Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere”) but there’s a few good options.

The most deserving to go next would probably be Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, seeing as they’re the Knights two leading scorers and undeniably faces of the franchise.

But a more creative pick would be fan favorite Ryan Reaves, maybe to promote the aspiring brewmaster’s IPA (India Pale Ale) when it launches.

Or how about Jonathan Merrill? The defenseman has a great mustache and now a black eye after fighting Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki on Sunday, two features that could make for an excellent bobblehead.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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