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Golden Knights’ Inaugural Draft Class Delivers a Mixed Bag

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With little fanfare, the Vegas Golden Knights parted ways with another member of their inaugural draft class this week. The club placed forward Jake Leschyshyn, taken No. 62 overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, on waivers last Tuesday and he was claimed by the New York Rangers the following day. The move, in itself, wasn’t surprising, as the 23-year-old hadn’t hit the scoresheet in 22 games this season, but it marked another departure from a class that features just three holdovers still in the organization among 12 selections.

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To date, the Golden Knights’ 2017 class has graduated an impressive seven players to the NHL, albeit with only two remaining with the organization. That record of success looks pretty strong in a vacuum but seems a little disappointing considering the franchise leveraged its position of power through the Expansion Draft to stockpile picks, including three first-rounders.

In light of bidding farewell to Leschyshyn, let’s take a look back at the 2017 Draft and see where those 12 draftees are now and how they’ve panned out.

Picks Still in the Organization

Let’s give George McPhee his due here, as the selection of Nicolas Hague (No. 34 overall) has offered serious value, especially considering he was the fourth pick made by the club. The 24-year-old still has lots of room for growth, but he’s already a blue line mainstay in Vegas trusted with 18 minutes a night on one of hockey’s deepest back ends.

Nicolas Hague Vegas Golden Knights
Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Last season, Hague demonstrated he could do even more when called upon. Filling in further up the lineup as injuries ate away at the club’s depth, he handled himself well while paired with Alex Pietrangelo at times. Even still, the organization is excited about potential development still to come from the Kitchener, ON native. At 6-foot-6 with a booming shot, there remains the possibility for Hague to grow into a more formidable physical presence and power play point man in the future.

Beyond Hague, Jonas Røndbjerg (No. 65) has bounced between Vegas and the Henderson Silver Knights this season after enjoying a 30-game stint last season as part of his NHL debut. That the 23-year-old Dane hasn’t hit the scoresheet yet isn’t entirely surprising considering he’s averaging just over 10 minutes per game of ice time. He’ll likely continue to float between the two leagues as the first forward called upon…

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