Having watched Tomas Nosek lead the Grand Rapids Griffins in goals and points during last year’s Calder Cup Championship run, I could only smile and wonder what could have been as Nosek scored 2 goals in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 6-4 win over Washington last night.
Nosek was all but guaranteed to be the player plucked off the Wings’ roster during the expansion draft due to his age and contract (in hindsight, Petr Mrazek being exposed meant very little other than a symbolic wake-up call, and Riley Sheahan’s ups and downs were evident).
It was a little disappointing to see the Wings expose Nosek, not because he’s magically going to be a 1st line center at the NHL level, but because he could’ve stabilized the third and fourth lines as a support player who is willing to play a supporting role–and teams need those kinds of players to succeed.
Last year, on June 2, Nosek was playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins and delivered the game-winning goal with 13.9 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 1 of the Calder Cup Championship. The Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 and went on to win the series in six games.
The 25-year-old Nosek, playing on the fourth line, actually scored two goals for the Knights in third period. His game-winner came at the 9:44 mark off a feed in front from defenseman Shea Theodore. He also landed an empty-netter with three seconds remaining.
“This is another level, so it feels great,” Nosek said via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We tried to keep the things simple and go hard to the net. I think that’s what made us good in the third period. We have to keep doing that. Just keep things simple and be hard on the forecheck and create some chaos in there.”
Wallner continues; again, I’m not suggesting that Nosek is a star in the making, but the Golden Knights’ version of a “Grind Line” (with Ryan Reaves of all people and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare) is proving again that a strong checking line is an essential part of a winning machine.
I’m glad that Nosek is succeeding on the 4th line in Vegas, and it was neat to see him score two key goals last night.