Hello, Neighbo(u)rs: Vegas Golden Knights - LA Kings Insider

2016-17 record: First season. Welcome, neighbo(u)r!
2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: N/A
Corsi-for rate: N/A
Additions: Everybody
Subtractions: N/A

Hello, blank canvas. The Vegas Golden Knights enter the National Hockey League as the 31st club, and for a Los Angeles team that has two teams within a one-hour flight and another team separated by 40 miles of terrible traffic, the geographic proximity is welcome.

It’s up to the Golden Knights to turn T-Mobile Arena into an inhospitable environment, but the actual product on the ice during the early throes of expansion should make that difficult. Eventually, Vegas, which predictably and impressively leveraged the expansion draft into a surplus of draft picks through the remainder of the decade, should boast a talented crop of impressive young players, but as of now, those players are simply part of a burgeoning young prospect pool.

The team is essentially one big question mark. The most certain bet for the Golden Knights is that they will receive consistent goaltending that should keep them in most games, but top-flight scoring and quality defense will likely be an Achilles heel during their inaugural season. There’s good feistiness, and the prospect of David Perron, Cody Eakin, James Neal, Brayden McNabb and Deryk Engelland getting onto the ice at the same time could go a way towards setting a model of competitiveness for many young teammates to follow, but this defensive group should have a rough go, even if Shea Theodore is a bright young offensively inclined puck-mover and the versatile Nate Schmidt was a fine expansion addition from Washington.

It’s still early to get a sense of how this group will align and who among the glut of defensemen will open the season with the club, but for a Golden Knights preview (and an early look at the team Vegas should bring to El Segundo for next week’s rookie games), Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal joined LAKI to share early impressions of Los Angeles’ newest divisional rival.

HELLO, NEIGHBO(U)RS: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights

Photo credit: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI

Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.