(Photo by BSU Photo Services)

Las Vegas–Today the Vegas Golden Knights along with General Manager George McPhee have announced that they have signed college free agent Zach Whitecloud from Bemidji State University.

Earlier in the year, Whitecloud was highly sought after by teams around the NHL particularly the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Steve Yzerman of Tampa and Rob Blake of the Kings were just some of the few notable GM’s that had the opportunity in speaking with Whitecloud back in January.

The good thing for McPhee and the Golden Knights is they managed to be the winning franchise in signing Whitecloud to a three-year entry level contract.

“He’s a very well-rounded player. A highly sought-after defenseman by a lot of clubs and we are delighted to acquire him as our first college signing. It should be a very good fit for the Vegas Golden Knights.” McPhee said on signing Whitecloud.

Whitecloud spent the last two seasons with Bemidji State University skating in 77 games over the course of his Freshman and Sophomore campaigns and produced 36 points (7 goals and 29 assists).

In his final season with the Bemidji, Whitecloud scored four goals and tallied 14 assists in 36 games.

The 6’1″ 203 pound from Brandon, Manitoba is a right handed shooting puck handling defenseman which will be a benefit the Golden Knights future given that most of their current blueliners on the active roster are lefties. Whitecloud also has the potential for offensive upside in his NHL career.

Right now the Golden Knights only have two right handed shot defenseman in Deryk Engelland and Colin Miller in the lineup.

“He’s a mobile defenseman. He moves the puck real well and he’s a safe player right now. We think he plays conservatively and we believe he can give us a lot more offensively. He has lots of room for growth. He’s good and safe and conservative. He’ll build the offensive in his game.” Says McPhee on Whitecloud’s potential.

Much like last year with the Reid Duke signing this one was also influenced by Assistant General Manager Kelly McCrimmon.

McCrimmon knows Whitecloud from their days in Brandon as he was a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings Midget AAA team during 2011-2014.

“Well our scouts identified him. Kelly McCrimmon knew him from his time in Manitoba. We’ve looked at him for a few years here. He’s really developed well and he wants to be a pro now. We’re really delighted to have him.” McPhee said.

With the Golden Knights on the road currently in Detroit to take on the Red Wings tonight, Whitecloud is expected to join up with the team in Buffalo tomorrow.

“He’ll join us in the next couple of days. As soon as we can get him on a plane.” Says McPhee.

He’ll also be wearing #2 on his Golden Knights sweater.

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