Nic Hague still unsigned, what does the uncertainty mean for the Golden Knights’ defense?

Nic Hague

The NHL season opener is less than a week away, and Bruce Cassidy is moving forward with final cuts with or without defenseman Nic Hague, who is still at a stalemate with the VGK front office over contract negotiations. Nic Hague, only 23 years of age, has already logged 142 games in his 3 years stint with Vegas Golden Knights since he was drafted by the Knights in 2017. Don’t think for a second the rest of the league isn’t keeping a close eye on the situation, as teams look to finalize their rosters by Monday.

8 Defensemen, 2 defensive slots

With Nic Hague absent, Jake Biscoff, Kaedan Korczak, and Ben Hutton look to be the front runners, among others that will look to solidify a final roster spot. Bruce Cassidy has made it clear to the media after Tuesday night’s victory over the Coyotes that in order to make the Knights roster, guys have to “be an identity guy, got to be a 200 ft guy, get to the net, score greasy goals, and grab second chance goals.”
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Ben Hutton joined the Knights midseason last year and played well enough to earn a contract extension worth 1.7 million that has him in Vegas until the end of the 2023-24 season. With a new coach this season, Hutton is looking to impress Coach Cassidy in the final two games of the preseason as a proven, inexpensive sixth or seventh defenseman. Hutton played in 58 games last year, with the Knights collecting 3 goals, 10 assists, and 13 points.

Since 2019, the Golden Knights have hosted a Development Camp for the younger players. Only five players have been invited to return for the second time in 2022. One of those players is Kaedan Korczak. Korczak has had a very impressive rookie and training camp with the Golden Knights. The 2019 second-round draft pick has caught the eye of Coach Cassidy, playing Korczac the most out of the rest of the defenseman with the absence of Will Courier. Korczak has been paired up with Veteran Jake Bishop, who is also fighting for one of the last defensive spots.

Speaking of Jake Bischoff, the 28-year-old has not appeared in regulation since March of 2021. Bischoff missed the remainder of the 2021 season due to a knee injury. Bischoff put his body on the line as he sacrificed himself to block a shot on goal, leaving him with a broken knee cap. Bischoff has been with the team since the acquisition in 2017 via an expansion draft. When Bischoff is healthy and on the ice, there is no doubt he gives 110%!

Finalizing the Roster

As the preseason comes to a close and the regular season approaches, teams have to have their rosters cut to the league’s 23 active man roster by Monday, October 10th. Coach Bruce Cassidy is doing everything he can to keep his starting lineup a secret. However, with only two games left in the preseason, the lines set for the last two games should be pretty telling. Don’t be surprised if you see guys play up to twenty minutes as they try and solidify their spot on the roster. This is the last chance for first-year Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to put together four championship lines that will hopefully bring the city of Las Vegas a Stanley Cup Championship. Look for all three guys to have significant amounts
of playing time as they close out the preseason.

 


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