Wealth of connections between Jets, Golden Knights with playoffs set to begin
The cities may be a 27-hour drive apart, but Winnipeg and Las Vegas — whose NHL teams begin their playoff series Tuesday night — have a lot of connections, well beyond their 2018 clash in the Western Conference final.
The Golden Knights seem to be a frequent landing spot for Manitoba-born players — notably team captain Mark Stone, a Winnipegger who was traded from the Ottawa Senators in the 2018-19 season.
Stone made headlines this week, as the team announced his availability for Tuesday’s game after being sidelined with a back injury since mid-January.
“I guess I’ve got to convince a lot of friends to wear Knights jerseys in Winnipeg,” Stone told reporters prior to the series.
In addition to Stone, the Knights’ official roster includes Manitobans Brett Howden (Oakbank), Keegan Kolesar (Brandon), Zach Whitecloud (Brandon) and injured Winnipegger Nolan Patrick.
Vegas will have a familiar face to Winnipeg fans in goal during the series as well. He’s from British Columbia, but Laurent Brossoit wore a Jets uniform for three seasons as backup to Connor Hellebuyck.
Brossoit, who is slated to start Game 1 against his former teammate, told media on Monday that he’s looking forward to the matchup.
“I taught him everything he knows that year, and I think he’ll attest to that,” Brossoit joked.
“It’ll be fun to go against him. We got along really well, and we had a good, healthy, competitive relationship.”
Current Jets defenceman Nate Schmidt has also worn both teams’ colours. He was selected as a member of the inaugural Golden Knights team in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
And the connections don’t stop there. Although the Golden Knights are one of the league’s newest franchises, with only a few years of history, they’ve also been a past hockey home for Adam Brooks and Cody Eakin — both Winnipeggers who also spent time with the Jets — as well as Cody Glass, Brendan Leipsic, and Ryan Reaves, all of whom also hail from the Manitoba capital.
The now-retired Luca Sbisa, a Swiss defenceman, also wore both teams’ sweaters — playing 30 games with Vegas in 2017-18 and 44 with the Jets in 2019-20.
Finally, a promising young centre drafted by Vegas in 2019 (but since traded to the Buffalo Sabres), Peyton Krebs, cut his teeth in Winnipeg as a member of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice.
Of course, none of the connections — past or present — between the two teams will matter much when the puck drops Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, as both teams vie for an all-important playoff victory.
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