While the Golden Knights’ focus is on the Stanley Cup Final, the team’s hockey operations staff is focusing on the franchise’s future.
As coach Gerard Gallant and his players prepare for Game 1 on Monday, general manager George McPhee, assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon and members of the team’s amateur scouting staff are headed to Buffalo for the NHL Scouting Combine, which begins Sunday at the HarborCenter.
“The combine is a critical week, and we’ll be well-represented,” McCrimmon said Tuesday from Regina, Saskatchewan, where he is scouting the Memorial Cup championship. “It’s an opportunity to learn about the prospects as people and a chance to ask questions and go over our final lists and make adjustments if we need to.”
Those one-on-one interviews that were conducted a year ago in Buffalo wound up being part of the reason the Knights selected Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom in the first round and Nic Hague in the second round.
This year’s NHL Entry Draft is June 22-23 in Dallas. The Knights currently don’t have a first-round pick, having traded it to Detroit for Tomas Tatar, but the team has seven picks between rounds two through six.
“Nothing changes,” McCrimmon said. “You never know if you’re going to make a deal that gets you into the first round so you prepare as you always do.”
Even if your team is in the Stanley Cup Final?
“It’s business as usual for us,” he said.
Forward Will Carrier missed the entire Western Conference Final and goaltender Malcolm Subban missed the final three games against Winnipeg with undisclosed injuries. Their availability remains uncertain.
Gallant said Tuesday both are day-to-day.
“I’m hoping they’ll be ready soon,” he said. “We’ll see the next few days what happens in practice. But the extra days off definitely helps them.”
Carrier has not skated since Game 5 of the second round against San Jose. Subban, who has not appeared in the first three rounds of the playoffs, was scratched before Game 3 of the conference final and has not been on the ice or seen around the locker room since.
The team moved his locker from the normal backup’s spot near Marc-Andre Fleury. Maxime Lagace currently occupies the backup goalie’s stall.
New jerseys, new look
The Knights have sported an inaugural season patch on the front of their uniforms all season.
But the NHL has both teams participating in the final wearing a special Cup patch. For the Knights, that patch is located on the same spot as the inaugural season patch.
According to equipment manager Chris Davidson-Adams, the NHL is providing new jerseys for the team with the Stanley Cup patch on it.
Vegas Golden Knights confirm they will remove their "inaugural season" patch in favour of the #StanleyCup patch for the final round
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) May 22, 2018
“It makes our job easier,” he said. “We don’t have to replace one patch for another.”