The Vegas Golden Knights agreed to terms with center Brandon Pirri and goaltender Max Lagace — both of whom spent most of the 2017-18 season with the Chicago Wolves — on Day 1 of NHL Free Agency. The Golden Knights also inked deals with forwards Daniel Carr, Alex Gallant and Curtis McKenzie, defenseman Jimmy Oligny and goaltender Zach Fucale.
The 27-year-old Pirri spent significant time in the American Hockey League for the first season since 2013-14. He and Teemu Pulkkinen led the Wolves with 29 goals and 12 power-play markers. The Toronto native finished the season fourth in team scoring (29-23–52) and second – behind only Brett Sterling — with a 15.7 percent shooting success rate.
Lagace was one of five goaltenders to grace the crease for the Wolves during the 2017-18 campaign. The 25-year-old Quebec native backstopped Chicago for 23 games — only Kasimir Kaskisuo appeared in more (29). Lagace compiled a 14-5-2 record, 2.84 goals-against average and .905 save percentage for the Wolves and a 6-7-1 record with a 3.92 GAA and .867 save percentage for Vegas. He served as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup during the Stanley Cup Final.
McKenzie joins the Vegas organization from Dallas where he spent five seasons (2012-18) and captained the Texas Stars to an appearance in the 2018 Calder Cup Finals. The Texas Stars reached the playoffs in each of McKenzie’s five seasons and won the Calder Cup in 2014. The British Columbia native has skated in 52 postseason contests and collected 38 points (16G, 22A). Twenty of those points (11G, 9A) came in 2018 and McKenzie finished second in Calder Cup Playoff scoring. He also led the league in postseason goal-scoring with 11 tallies.
Selected by Dallas in the sixth round, 159th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft, McKenzie’s first full professional season was the 2013-14 campaign. His performance — he led all AHL rookies with 65 points and 38 assists — earned him the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award as the league’s best first-year skater.
McKenzie has spent time in the NHL — he made his debut on Oct. 18, 2014, and has appeared in 98 more games. Overall, he owns 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 NHL points. Last season he skated in seven games and collected two assists for Dallas.
Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, 36th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft, Fucale has spent the last three seasons with the Canadiens organization. During the 2017-18 campaign, the 23-year-old split time at the AHL and ECHL levels. At the AHL level with the Laval Rocket in 18 games, he produced a 10-7-0 record, .890 save percentage and led Laval netminders with a 3.26 goals-against average. With the Brampton Beast, Fucale appeared in 11 ECHL contests and compiled a 5-4-0 record, 2.83 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
Oligny has spent the last four seasons (2014-18) skating for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. The 25-year-old has appeared in 259 AHL games and collected 43 points (7G, 36A) along with 419 penalty minutes. The Quebec native also skated in three postseason games during the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Carr split the 2017-18 campaign between the Montreal Canadiens and Laval Rocket. With Laval, he skated in 20 games and registered 19 points (11G, 8A). Carr finished the season with the parent club — skating in 38 games and logging 16 points (6G, 10A).
The 2018-19 season will mark Gallant’s sixth year as a pro. His first five were split between the AHL, ECHL and Southern Professional Hockey League. Gallant has spent the previous three seasons skating in the AHL. In 2017-18, he appeared in 38 games for the Syracuse Crunch and tallied three points (G, 2A). Gallant owns six points (2G, 4A) through 94 AHL games.