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Picking the best Vegas-era Wolves

The group includes three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie. Players who spent more time in Rosemont got the benefit of the doubt.

Brandon Pirri was a key part of the Wolves’ teams during their affiliation with the Golden Knights.
Courtesy of the Wolves

With the 2019-20 AHL season officially complete, the Wolves and Vegas Golden Knights have parted company. In three seasons, the partnership brought the Wolves two division titles and the 2019 Western Conference championship.

Here is the all-Vegas Era Wolves team. The group includes three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie. Players who spent more time in Rosemont got the benefit of the doubt.

FORWARDS
Daniel Carr, Curtis McKenzie, Brandon Pirri
The best single campaign belongs to Carr, who scored 30 goals with 41 assists in just 52 games during the 2018-19 season on his way to the AHL MVP award. It was Carr’s only season with the Wolves but it’s hard to argue with an MVP.

Carr won the 2018-19 MVP, but that award may have gone to Pirri if he had spent the entire season in Rosemont. That season, Pirri produced 42 points in 29 games before going up to the NHL. In three Wolves seasons, Pirri picked up 62 goals and 67 assists in just 124 games, and the 2019-20 group was noticeably different with him on the ice.

While Carr and Pirri are known for their scoring, McKenzie endeared himself to the Wolves over two seasons with his all-around gritty game. His 37 goals and 59 points were a boost, but he made his impact with his leadership and willingness to plant himself in front of the net.

“If you were on our bench you would know what he means to our team,” then-Wolves coach Rocky Thompson said of McKenzie earlier this season. “Their appreciation for his sacrifice is really evident.”
Also considered: Tomas Hyka, Brooks Macek, Teemu Pulkinnen, Gage Quinney, T.J. Tynan

DEFENSEMEN
Jake Bischoff, Zach Whitecloud
The Wolves’ blue line benefited from Bischoff’s steady presence. In 181 games over three seasons, Bischoff rarely put a skate in the wrong place and was consistently predictable, which is as high a compliment as a defenseman can receive. He led the 2017-18 team with a plus-23 rating, and won the team’s 2020 Tim Breslin Unsung Hero Award.

Like Bischoff, Whitecloud was a key part of the 2019 conference champions. In two seasons, Whitecloud appeared in 109 games. He also contributed 15 points in 22 playoff games last year, and finished the 2018-19 regular season with a plus-39 rating.
Also considered: Erik Brannstrom, Dylan Coghlan, Nic Hague, Griffin Reinhart

GOALIE
Oscar Dansk
The Wolves don’t come within three wins of the 2019 Calder Cup without Dansk, who earned 10 of their 12 playoff victories last spring. In three Wolves seasons, Dansk won 58 games and may have done some of his best work this season, helping a young team stay in the playoff picture.

In December, Dansk was named the AHL goalie of the month after going 7-0 with a 1.57 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. Entering December, Dansk was 4-6-0 with a 3.60 GAA and .874 save percentage.

“He works really hard,” Thompson said. “Sometimes you can work so hard that it frustrates you and you can overdo things at times. I think that’s what happened at the start of the year. What he needed to do was channel his work ethic and learn to relax a little bit, take a breath.”
Also considered: Max Lagace