The Vegas Golden Knights started off their week by bringing in another young netminder. Also, the Minnesota Wild, who just brought their top prospect over from Russia, is sending another overseas for the 2020-21 season. Finally, we stay in Russia for our Prospect of the Day.
Golden Knights Sign Another Goalie
For the second time in the last two weeks, the Golden Knights signed a young goaltender to an entry-level contract. After signing 2017 draft pick Jiri Patera on June 30, they inked Logan Thompson on Monday afternoon.
Thompson played in 32 games last season for the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL, posting a .929 save percentage (SV%) and 2.25 goals-against average (GAA). Before that he, was rather successful in playing in Canada. He was the 2019 U Sports OUA West Goaltender of the Year for Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he had a .934 SV% and 2.22 GAA in 24 games.
Prior to the 2018-19 season, Thompson played four seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Brandon Wheat Kings. He played in 122 games, putting up a .905 SV% and 3.26 GAA and was part of the 2016 WHL championship team that played in the Memorial Cup tournament.
The Golden Knights are stocking up on young goaltenders and rightfully so. At the NHL level, they have veteran Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, who will be an unrestricted free agent once the 2019-20 season wraps up. They also have Oscar Dansk and Dylan Ferguson under contract, along with Patera and Thompson. This doesn’t bode well for Garret Sparks, who will be an unrestricted free agent after playing this past season for the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Wild Prospect Heads to Russia
Just a day after the Wild finally signed prospect Kirill Kaprizov out of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), another one of their recent draft picks will be heading to Russia. There have been reports over the past couple of weeks that Alexander Khovanov will play the 2020-21 season in the KHL. On Tuesday, those reports became official by the league as he has been loaned to Ak Bars Kazan.
Khovanov was drafted by the Wild in the third round (86th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Many feel that he is the next best prospect in the Wild organization after Kaprizov. He had a great season 2019-20 for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), scoring 32 goals and 99 points in just 51 games.
This is a good move for the 20-year-old forward because the status of the start of the 2020-21 seasons in both the NHL and AHL is still up in the air. The KHL season is scheduled to start on time, on Sept. 2.
Prospect of the Day – Rodion Amirov
We will stay in Russia for our Prospect of the Day. Amirov is the top-rated Russian-born player by NHL Central Scouting. They have the left wing ranked as the fifth-best European skater heading into the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Related – 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Amriov played in 21 KHL games for Salavat Yulaev Ufa this past season and picked up just a pair of assists. This came after playing very well in the Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga (MHL), Russia’s top junior league, scoring 10 goals and 22 points in 17 games. He obviously looked much better playing against players his own age as opposed to the professionals in his home country’s top professional league.
The 18-year-old has decent size being 6-foot-0 and 168 pounds. Scouts have heralded his skating ability and the aggressiveness in his game. He is an excellent forechecker that does not shy away from a board battle. He’s a smart player that excels in all three phases of the game.
Our own Mattew Zator feels that he will be a first-round pick at the draft.
Amirov is all over the board in the rankings, from as high as 12th to as low as 25th. Though, some teams could find his package very enticing, so he could go as high as 10th. He is a very intriguing forward with his overall consistent game and package of skill and defensive acumen. Attitude and character also matter to a lot of teams, so don’t be surprised to see him chosen in the middle or even close to the top of the first round because of it.
He has an elite two-way game that NHL teams love. While he may never evolve into a top-line superstar, he has the potential to have a very long and successful NHL career one day.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.