Reid Duke turned in early Tuesday night, prepping for today’s game in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. He didn’t expect his roommate to wake him up to answer a late-night phone call.
The voice on the other end gave him the news he had long been hoping to hear. The first Golden Knight is finally a Golden Knight.
Duke was told to report immediately to join the team in Las Vegas.
“It’s something you dream of as a kid,” said Duke, who was the first player signed with Vegas in March 2017 but has yet to play an NHL game. “I didn’t really expect it coming in the middle of the night, but I know I didn’t get too much sleep after that phone call.”
The Golden Knights announced the move today, making roster space by assigning forward Daniel Carr to the AHL. Duke got to the airport at 5 a.m. today for a flight to Las Vegas and was one of the first on the ice at City National Arena for the Golden Knights’ optional skate at noon.
“I was supposed to be playing tonight in Iowa,” Duke said. “It’s so exciting, it’s hard to be tired.”
Coach Gerard Gallant did not commit to Duke playing in Thursday’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Max Pacioretty returned to the ice today after missing Tuesday’s game, and if Pacioretty plays, then the final spot on third line with Ryan Carpenter and Tomas Nosek will either go to Duke or Oscar Lindberg, who had two assists Tuesday.
“He’s played real well down in Chicago for a third of a season, so he’s getting an opportunity to come up,” Gallant said of Duke. “He’s got some speed, he’s playing well and doing the right thing.”
Duke had six goals and seven assists in 22 games in the AHL. He was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft by the Minnesota Wild.
“I’m just going to come in and do my best,” Duke said. “It’s a pretty cool opportunity, and I want to make sure that I put my best foot forward here.”