Updated July 21, 2021 - 6:41 pm
Now that the expansion Seattle Kraken have their roster, the next event on the NHL calendar is the draft.
The Golden Knights own the No. 30 pick in Friday’s first round, though they will actually select one slot earlier with Arizona forfeiting its first choice as part of sanctions for violating the league’s combine testing policy.
In addition, the Knights have the 36th overall selection, giving general manager Kelly McCrimmon and assistant director of player personnel Bob Lowes ammunition if they want to move up.
The coronavirus pandemic made for a difficult scouting season, with many junior leagues playing limited schedules, or not at all in the case of the Ontario Hockey League.
Still, the Knights will have a deep pool of prospects from which to choose in the late first and early second rounds should they stand pat. Here are 10 prospects that could interest them when they are on the clock:
RW Tyler Boucher (USNTDP, USHL) — The son of TV analyst and former NHL goalie Brian Boucher is ranked the No. 25 North American skater by Central Scouting and is headed to Boston University in the fall.
Boucher had a difficult season, first coming down with pneumonia before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in April. But at 6 foot, 1 inch and 205 pounds, he is viewed as a modern-day power forward who plays with an edge.
D Shai Buium (Sioux City, USHL) — There doesn’t seem to be a consensus evaluation on the 6-3, 209-pound Denver commit, who was pegged No. 20 among North American skaters by Central Scouting.
Buium’s parents are from Israel and he grew up near San Diego. Despite needing to improve his skating, Buium has considerable upside and could go anywhere from late in the first round to early in the third round.
C Zach Dean (Gatineau, QMJHL) — The No. 21 North American skater by Central Scouting didn’t put up eye-popping offensive numbers with 10 goals and 20 points in 23 games. Yet he’s regarded as a strong forechecker with a high compete level.
Dean (6-0, 176) was named to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s all-rookie team in 2019-20 and also tied for the team lead in scoring at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
C Wyatt Johnston (Windsor, OHL) — A small growth spurt up to 6-1 and 178 pounds helped elevate Johnston’s stock, and he is ranked the No. 16 North American skater by Central Scouting.
While the Ontario Hockey League season canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Johnston’s only action was with Team Canada at the under-18 world championships. He posted four points in seven games.
D Scott Morrow (Shattuck-St. Mary’s, USHS) — He dominated the prep school circuit and the Knights have excellent coverage in that area, taking a player from the Minnesota high school ranks in each of the past two drafts.
Morrow is committed to defending national champion Massachusetts and needs time to develop. Not all scouts were enamored with the defensive side of his game, but his overall skill set is hard to ignore.
RW Oskar Olausson (HV 71, Sweden) — Ranked the No. 13 European skater by Central Scouting, Olausson debuted in the top-tier Swedish Hockey League this season before going on loan to the second division.
He dominated with HV 71’s youth teams and is regarded as an elite goal scorer. However, there are questions about Olausson’s consistency and hockey sense that could drop him down draft boards.
RW Sasha Pastujov (USNTDP, USHL) — He set a record for the U.S. National Team Development Program with a 21-game point streak and finished with a team-best 52 points in 34 games this past season.
Pastujov is ranked as the No. 18 North American skater by Central Scouting and signed with Notre Dame. He also has a fun background, as his parents met while working for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
RW Simon Robertsson (Skelleftea, Sweden) — He is ranked the No. 11 European skater by Central Scouting and received his first taste of Swedish Hockey League action after shining at the under-20 level.
Robertsson projects as a power forward with good size (6-0, 190) and a quick release on his shot. In seven games at the under-18 world championships, he notched three goals for Team Sweden.
RW Mackie Samoskevich (Chicago, USHL) — One of the most skilled offensive players available, Samoskevich is ranked the No. 26 North American skater by Central Scouting and considered a high-character prospect.
He played two seasons with Chicago in the United States Hockey League and was a teammate of Knights 2020 first-round pick Brendan Brisson. Samoskevich be a freshman at Michigan in the fall.
C Logan Stankoven (Kamloops, WHL) — The knock on the No. 31 North American skater is his lack of height, but the 5-8 Stankoven is a dynamic scoring threat. He posted eight points in seven games for Team Canada at the under-18 world championships.
Stankoven had seven goals in six games during an abbreviated junior season, and the Knights’ preference for Western Hockey League prospects is well known.