After becoming an official member of the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights have signed their first player. Knights general manager George McPhee announced Reid Duke from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League was signed to an entry-level-contract this afternoon.
The Golden Knights have made the first player transaction in team history & signed forward Reid Duke.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 6, 2017
Reid Duke Signs With Knights
Duke signing with the Knights makes him the first player transaction in Golden Knights history. The team announced that he will finish his Western Hockey League season with the Wheat Kings. He will join the Knights for their development camp in the summer.
Duke is currently in his fifth season with the Wheat Kings. In 54 games, he has recorded 35 goals and 32 assists, both career highs. His goals and 67 total points lead all Wheat Kings players. This season marks the second time he has reached the 30-goal mark as he finished with 33 last season.
Reid was a part of the Wheat Kings team that won a WHL championship in 2015-16. He recorded 8 goals and 16 assists in 21 playoff games.
Before coming over to the Wheat Kings during the 2014-15 season, Duke also spent time with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In 132 games with the Hurricanes, he recorded 25 goals and 45 assists
LWOH Scouting Report
LWOH prospect writer Ben Kerr gives the following scouting report:
“A former Minnesota Wild draftee who did not sign. Duke is a solid two-way player, who showed hard work, grit and physical play in all three zones, and defensive responsibility. A good skater, with solid speed, decent acceleration and good edgework and agility. Duke could stand to work on core strength and balance though. Offensively he is a very good playmaker with strong vision and passing skills. His shot is underrated and he needs to use it more often.”
During Reid’s first two seasons with the Wheat Kings, Kelly McCrimmon was his head coach. McCrimmon is now the assistant general manager of the Golden Knights.
“I think what’s impressive with Reid is a real high skill level and yet a guy that’s able to play a big, strong, heavy game,” McCrimmon said. “When we project Reid, we think his game will evolve as he becomes a pro. We believe he’s going to be an NHL player.”
Reid was drafted by the Minnesota Wild during the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The team, however, failed to sign him to a deal in time to retain his rights. He was not re-drafted this past summer, allowing him to be an unrestricted free agent as a result.