McCRIMMON’S WHEAT KINGS CONNECTIONS PAYING DIVIDENDS
(Article by Dan Marrazza – VegasGoldenKnights.com)
It was almost a scene out of Happy Gilmore.
As the Golden Knights played their first game of Rookie Camp on Tuesday in El Segundo, Calif., one of the stories was starting goalie Logan Thompson. Despite the team losing 6-2 to the Kings, Thompson didn’t give up a single goal while playing the first half of the game.
Thompson left with the Golden Knights leading 1-0 before being relieved by draft pick Jiri Patera midway through the second period.
Sure, the Golden Knights’ first regular-season game won’t be until October 6.
But as Thompson lined up as the first starting goalie of any kind in team history and played flawlessly, it was almost like that scene in Happy Gilmore. The one where Adam Sandler drives his first professional shot from the tee to the green, and broadcaster Verne Lundquist goes…
“What a shot by Happy Gilmore…who the hell is Happy Gilmore?”
For a team like the Golden Knights which has had big-name acquisitions such as Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal, there might have been an indication to go…
“Who the hell is Logan Thompson?”
Allow us to tell you.
Actually, allow us to share general manager George McPhee’s thoughts on Thompson. McPhee cited Thompson – along with forward Alex Tuch and defenseman Jake Bischoff – as positive spots for Vegas in its Rookie Camp loss.
“He played very well,” McPhee said of Thompson. “He was very, very good. Really happy with him.”
Thompson’s performance, perhaps a surprise to some fans, wasn’t a surprise to the Golden Knights’ front office. The 20-year-old goalie has played the past three seasons for the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Where besides being a teammate of Reid Duke, Thompson played for a team that was owned and at times coached by Golden Knights assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon.
Although Thompson remains an unsigned free agent that could sign with any team that’ll have him (or return to juniors for one more season), it’s obvious Vegas is keen on the netminder. Besides being invited to Rookie Camp, Thompson was previously a free agent invitee to Golden Knights Development Camp earlier this summer.
“Oh, Crim has always, he’s always pushed me,” Thompson said. “It’s good to have him here. He had me in Brandon. It’s really good the way things worked out with him here.
“But Crim has his impression of me. I still want to make an impression throughout the whole coaching staff.”
Over the past two seasons, Thompson has gone 31-18-2, with a goals-against averages of 2.63 and 3.24, and save percentages of .898 and .908 for Brandon.
The Golden Knights currently have goalies Marc-Andre Fleury, Calvin Pickard, Oscar Dansk and Maxime Lagace signed to professional contracts.
Maksim Zhukov, Jiri Patera and Dylan Ferguson are goalie prospects the team has the rights to.
“I’m just happy to be invited to camp in Vegas,” Thompson said. “Trying to live the dream every day.”
Which with a perfect first appearance, it’s safe to say, at least today, that Thompson is.