(Last updated: November 16th, 2019)

Criteria to qualify for rankings:

  • Must be younger than 23 years old
  • Cannot have played more than 10 NHL games
  • Must be either under contract or drafted by the Golden Knights

Players are ranked based on value to the organization. The most important factor is the player’s ceiling, or how good they can eventually become, but also taken into consideration is how close they are to playing in the NHL and how likely they are to play in the NHL. This is NOT a ranking of which players are the best if a game were to be held today.

Recently Removed: Cody Glass (NHL), Nic Hague (NHL), Nic Roy (NHL)

SKATERS

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

1) Peyton Krebs (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 1st Round, #17 overall
Age: 18 (January 26, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Previous Ranking: #2

Krebs is finally back from the Achilles injury. He skated in one practice with the Golden Knights before heading back to Winnipeg to play in the WHL. He’ll wear the “C” for the Ice and is expected to be a dominant force in the league again this year. The big test will come at the World Junior Championships in December. He’ll be one of the best players on the Team Canada roster, and coming off their disappointment last year, the pressure will be on.

More on Krebs
7/5/19 – The Golden Knights first pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is everything and more that you can ask for out of a center prospect. He’s a 200 foot player, plays in all situations, has a high level of skill, drives the offense on his line, and has great hockey sense and compete level. Unfortunately, Krebs came to camp with an injury and wasn’t able to skate. Had he gone out and dominated camp, he would have had a real shot to have been #1 on this list due to his ceiling. Hopefully he makes it took rookie camp in September, if not, World Juniors will be his next real shot to show he’s ready. By then, Glass will probably have played in 10 games, so don’t be surprised if Krebs is atop this list the next time it is updated.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

2) Jack Dugan (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #142 overall
Age: 21 (March 24, 1998)
Most Recent Team: Providence College (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #8

Since his terrific 2019 Development Camp, Dugan has taken his game to the next level absolutely dominating the NCAA. His 24 points in 10 games leads college hockey. Dugan recently mentioned on a podcast that he wants to “dominate” at the level he’s at before moves on. He’s doing that, and then some.

More on Dugan
7/5/19 – Maybe the most impressive player at 2019 Development Camp, Dugan appears on the path to being one of the best picks in the Golden Knights 2017 draft class. He’s absolutely everywhere in the offensive zone whether his team has the puck or not. His skating looks excellent for as large as he’s become and his ability and willingness to carry the puck seems to have come a long way. The one thing missing with Dugan is his finishing ability. It just didn’t show up much at all despite having multiple chances in Dev Camp. He’s going back to Providence this year, and it wouldn’t shock me if he’s there for a few more, but when he’s done, he’s going to be in the picture for the Golden Knights, which is awesome for a 5th round pick.

1/8/19 – The fact that Dugan dropped three spots has much more to do with what I think of the system as a whole as to what I think of Dugan. In short, I really like this kid and think he’s going to be a good player someday. The problem is that NCAA kids take forever to get to the NHL and I don’t see any difference with him. As a freshman he’s put up 22 points in 20 games at Providence so he’s continuing to produce despite the rise in competition.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – The leap Dugan made from the 2017 Development Camp to 2018 was tremendous. He was a scoring machine in the scrimmages both putting the puck in himself and setting up teammates. Last year he scored 66 points in 54 games with the Chicago Steel. This year he’ll be making the leap to Providence College to play in the strong Hockey East conference. Don’t expect to see Dugan in a Golden Knights uniform anytime soon, it literally might be four years away, but this is a player with a lot of upside and will likely go from relative unknown in the Golden Knights prospect system to an impactful player on NHL ice in a hurry.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

3) Lucas Elvenes (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #127 overall
Age: 20 (August 18, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #9

Another fast riser on this list, Elvenes is all the way up to #3 because he’s taken the AHL by storm as a 20-year-old. He’s leading the Wolves, all AHL rookies, and ranks 2nd in the entire AHL in points with 21. He also leads the league in assists with 16 in 16 games. Elvenes is a playmaking forward that seemed to be slow to see his game translate to NHL-sized ice. No longer is that an issue as he’s scoring in every situation in the 2nd best league in the world, the AHL. He’s knocking at the door of getting a chance to show his stuff at the NHL level, but don’t expect his stay to be long if he does get that chance due to injury at some point soon.

More on Elvenes
7/5/19 – Admittedly, I’ve been all over the place on Elvenes, but the more I watch him, the more I like him. Plain and simply, he’s a playmaker and the more comfortable he is with the players he’s playing with, the more plays he makes. In Development Camp he and Dorofeyev were shredding defenses, creating scoring chances left and right. The smaller ice appears to be less and less of an issue for him and I think surrounding his with guys who can score will help him a lot. This season with the Wolves is going to be a big one for Elvenes. If he dominates, he’s going to fly up this list, if he’s just so so, he could be near the bottom soon.

1/8/19 – There is obviously an inherent bias towards guys directly after World Juniors, but I will admit, I went in with a keen eye on Elvenes looking for one thing, playmaking at even-strength. Finally, I saw it and I saw it in bunches while Sweden was still in the tournament. He looked dangerous almost every time he was on the ice and with a maligned Swedish forward group he was probably the second or third best forward on the team. Playing in the SHL appears to have him looking for the puck a bit more and becoming more active in the play. I’m still not 100% sold this is an NHL prospect, but he’s a lot closer now than I thought four months ago.

9/12/18 – Elvenes has been flying up the charts on prospect ranking charts all over the place, but not here. He moves up a bit because he showed out very well on the Golden Knights power play, but at 5-on-5 he continued to be invisible. In practice he looked like he was primed to go out and have a huge impact on the games, then he didn’t. Not even close to time to give up in him, but he’s got to figure out the even strength on the small ice.

7/28/18 – A member of Team Sweden for the second consecutive World Junior Summer Showcase, Elvenes needs to build on his last international appearance. He put up four assists and a goal in two games last year with the Swedish U20 team but his game hasn’t translated on the North American ice at Development Camp. He didn’t flash much at all during the scrimmages either year. Playing on the smaller ice may be a factor.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

4) Dylan Coghlan (D)
Acquired: Signed as Free Agent on September 20, 2017
Age: 21 (February 19, 1998)
Most Recent Team:  Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #11

Coghlan had an incredible training camp with the Golden Knights and appeared like he had a great chance to win the job that eventually went to Hague. However, his size likely stood in his way. He’s now playing well in the AHL, again, this year as the Wolves #1 defenseman. His offensive game shows up every time you watch him play, and he’ll eventually get his shot in the NHL.

More on Coghlan
7/5/19 – I’m not as down on Coghlan as I am up on many other players. He still looks like a player that has an NHL future, but where I thought he would be a Colin Miller type offensive weapon, I’m starting to wonder if he’s more of a well-rounded player. That sounds like a good thing, but with his stature, it may not be. The offensive game didn’t show up at Development Camp despite being one of the older and most experienced players on the ice. He’s in the mix to win the Golden Knights roster spot, but he’s going to have to do a lot more offensively in rookie camp, training camp, and preseason to grab it.

1/8/19 – He’s become a stalwart in Rocky Thompson’s Wolves lineup. As a right-hand shot, he certainly has value to the Golden Knights eventually as they are short on RD’s. He’s in a very similar spot as Whitecloud, hence the tie, as there’s a bit of a logjam of defensemen and seemingly no room for any of them to ge through. Brannstrom, Hague, Whitecloud, Bischoff, and Coghlan all seem to deserve a look but maybe only one or two will be likely to get it this year after rosters expand. There are a lot of factors of who gets that shot first and when, and it’s not all to do with talent. I wouldn’t expect to see Coghlan in a VGK uniform any time soon.

9/12/18 – Coghlan had a bit of a quiet camp, but when he was paired with Hague he looked solid. Wasn’t sure if he would ever develop into an NHL prospect before, it may be safe to say he should get a chance at some point. As a right-handed defenseman, he’ll likely enter the mix next year and beyond. Keep an eye on this guy, he might be the undrafted steal of the 2017 class for Vegas.

7/28/18 – As an invitee to both 2017 Development Camp and Training Camp, Coghlan impressed and parlayed it into a contract before heading back to Kennewick, Washington for the WHL season. While there, he had a massive offensive year for a defenseman, putting up 63 points in 69 games. He’s going to have to get a bit better in his own end, which is part of the reason he was passed over in back-to-back drafts, but his offensive ability is exciting.

 

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

5) Pavel Dorofeyev (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #79 overall
Age: 19 (October 26, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
Previous Ranking: #3

Playing in the KHL at the age of 19 is an impressive feat. Early in the season he hasn’t really put up much by way of numbers, but no matter what the stats say, there’s no denying the talent Dorofeyev possesses. The more professional experience he gets under his belt, the better he’s going to become. He’ll be at World Juniors for Team Russia, and he’ll likely put on a show.

More on Dorofeyev
7/5/19 – This guy has skill for days and he’s only 18-years-old. Dorofeyev slipped in the draft, but he impressed mightily at Development Camp in his first appearance. The KHL prospect is incredible controlling the puck and advancing it to dangerous areas. His vision is stupendous which matches his passing. After a full season on the international-sized ice it was to be expected that Dorofeyev would not look as comfortable on the puck on the smaller rink, but that couldn’t have been further from reality. He’s got a long way to go physically, but the upside on Dorofeyev is incredibly exciting.

 

6) Kaedan Korczak (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #41 overall
Age: 18 (January 29, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Previous Ranking: #7

Korczak looked really good at camp and he has taken that game to the WHL racking up 14 points in 19 games for the Kelowna Rockets. Korczak is the type of defenseman that the Golden Knights are desperately looking for at the NHL level. Of course, he’s not ready at this point (nor would he be available to them anyway) but he’s a mobile, puck-moving d-man who will chip in offensively while taking care of his own end. The next time we really get to see what Korczak has to offer will likely be for Team Canada in December. If he can show something special in that tournament, the 2nd round pick is going to be in the top-five on this list next time for sure.

More on Korczak
7/5/19 – The Golden Knights moved up in the draft to select Korczak and it didn’t take long to show why they valued him so much. In his own end, he’s a rock, defending both with his feet (mainly by keeping terrific gaps) and his stick. But what impressed me most with Korczak was his willingness to jump into the rush, or even start a rush. He reminded me a lot of Nate Schmidt, where the entire offense just looks more dangerous in transition when he’s out there.

 

7) Zach Whitecloud (D)
Acquired: Signed as Free Agent on March 8th, 2018
Age: 22 (November 28, 1996)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #4

After starting the season on “season-opening injured reserve” Whitecloud was sent to the AHL where he’s stepped in very well. If not for the injury, he very well may have won the job out of camp, however, Whitecloud has consistently proven that he’s going to be a steady player, not one with a ton of high-end upside. #7 is a bit cruel for him as he’ll eventually become an NHL player for sure, but he’s likely going to become more of a depth defenseman when he finally reaches the NHL level.

More on Whitecloud
7/5/19 – Whitecloud took a nice step in the right direction playing a full season in the AHL with the Wolves. He was paired with Nic Hague which makes it incredibly difficult to separate the two, but I’m ready to put Whitecloud above Hague due to lack of deficiencies. I don’t see much wrong with the way he plays and I expect him to be a solid NHL defenseman soon. I love the way he uses his skating to defend, which I think will only get more impressive if he can continue to do it at the NHL level. He’s close, and certainly will be in the mix to win that open blue line spot with the Golden Knights, but even if he doesn’t, this is an NHL player for sure, something that can’t be guaranteed with many on this list.

1/8/19 – As somewhat of a veteran among the Wolves defense, at age 22, Whitecloud continues to look like the same player we’ve seen since he signed with Vegas. He’s good defensively with a little bit of offensive skill. He moved down on the list because of the way the Golden Knights treated him during the time when Nate Schmidt was out. Jake Bischoff made the roster over Whitecloud and Bischoff couldn’t get into a game. The more and more you see of Whitecloud the more you see a solid NHLer who just needs his breakthrough moment.

9/12/18 – In the last rankings, he was declared the most pro-ready prospect, that honor has been taking from him by Erik Brannstrom. Whitecloud looks like he’s going to become a solid, safe, defensive option that could help an offensive-minded defensive partner thrive. Playing with Brannstrom, Whitecloud took care of the Golden Knights end while helping Brannstrom bring the puck forward and make plays. Think Deryk Engelland, but like 30 years younger. (Sorry Deryk)

7/28/18 – The most pro-ready prospect in the entire Golden Knights pool is Zach Whitecloud. He spent the final few weeks of the season with the Golden Knights and even played in an NHL game with Vegas in which he was +3 vs. Edmonton. In Development Camp he was physically the most ready player, but he also displayed great poise and leadership on the ice. When his time comes, and it may not necessarily be out of training camp, he’s not going to be a flashy player, but he will be reliable. He projects as a solid stay-at-home defenseman with potential upside offensively as he matures. His place near the top of the list is more based on how close he is to playing in the NHL than it is the likelihood he becomes a superstar player. That being said, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Whitecloud puts together a long and successful NHL career.

 

8) Layton Ahac (D)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #86 overall
Age: 18 (February 22, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Ohio State University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #13

Ahac has cemented himself as a staple in the Ohio State defense, which is impressive as a freshman. Statistically, he’s not going to blow you out of the water, but Ahac is a very good defense-first defenseman. He and the Buckeyes will be at T-Mobile Arena for the Fortress Invitational in early January.

More on Ahac
7/5/19 – The tall, skinny, defenseman is headed to Ohio State to play college hockey this year, but he sure impressed in camp before leaving. His skating was impressive, his poise was excellent, and his passing from the defensive zone was suburb. I would have liked to see a little more jump to his offensive game, but in a first camp, as a 3rd round pick defenseman, he looked pretty darn good.

 

9) Paul Cotter (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #115 overall
Age: 20 (November 16, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #10

Cotter had a goal of earning his spot in the AHL out of Rookie Camp this September. He did just that playing very well both in the rookie games in Irvine, CA as well as in the preseason when he got a chance. Cotter is a bulldog on the ice and plays the style of game that Gerard Gallant will love. Thus far, his AHL numbers have not translated, but he’s been a constant in the lineup and should get the call for Team USA for World Juniors.

More on Cotter
7/5/19 – Missing Development Camp really hurt Cotter in these rankings. It’s probably unfair because he’s almost certainly better now than he was a year ago, but not getting to see him with the likes of Dorofeyev, Elvenes, Rondbjerg, and Dugan made it tough to keep him above all of those guys. He was out with an injury and didn’t even attend camp to my knowledge. I still really like the skill level and scoring ability Cotter possesses. Hopefully, he has a monster year and rips up World Juniors and he can bully his way back into the top five.

1/8/19 – Cotter has had an interesting year after starting at Western Michigan. He was having limited success and even found himself scratched from a game at one point. He decided to leave school to go play with the London Knights of the OHL where he’s thrived. 12 points in 17 games has earned him a consistent role in the lineup of a good team. Also, Cotter signed a contract with the Golden Knights recently. This kid can score and he’s probably going to keep doing it at every level he plays at. I’d still guess he’s two or three years away from making his way to Vegas, but you can bet he’ll be a name to keep an eye on at next year’s World Juniors.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp.

7/28/18 – The clear standout from the draft class of 2018 at Development Camp. Cotter has since been invited to play for Team USA at the World Junior Showcase where he’ll be joined by fellow VGK prospect Brandon Kruse. There’s just a certain smoothness to Cotter’s game that is fun to watch. He barely looks like he’s moving when he has the puck and has shown an innate ability to make good passes in traffic. Plus, he has a lightning quick release on his shot which gives most goalies trouble. He’ll head to Western Michigan this year to play in the NCAA and hopefully, he’ll have a spot on the World Junior Championship team in early 2019.

 

10) Jonas Rondbjerg (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #65 overall
Age: 20 (March 31, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #6

In the very first game of the AHL season Jonas Rondbjerg was injured and is expected to be out for an extended period. Rondbjerg had an excellent Development Camp but wasn’t as noticeable in Rookie Camp. It’s a shame he’s missing time because he’s the type of player that could have possibly pushed to get a call-up as a bottom-six fill in for the Golden Knights this year.

More on Rondbjerg
7/5/19 – Rondbjerg is a player that is probably not going to jump off the ice for most people watching him, but if you key in on him you’ll learn to love the way he plays the game. He’s excellent positionally, he’s a tenacious forechecker who has a strong stick, and he’s everywhere in terrific in the defensive end. The offensive game has a bit of a ways to go, but I think the forechecking might eventually lead to that coming his way as he plays with better players. He looked unstoppable with Jack Dugan at Development Camp and I expect him to have a monster year with the Wolves.

1/8/19 – Rondbjerg was far and away the best player on Team Denmark at World Juniors. He looks like a physical force on the ice who is reliable all 200 feet. Scoring remains a bit of a question mark as he and his teammates didn’t do much of it in that tournament and he’s struggled to score with Vaxjo in Sweden. However, as a 3rd round pick, he looks like he’s got an NHL future and should make the jump to the AHL next season.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp.

7/28/18 – Rondbjerg impressed at 2018 Development Camp consistently creating scoring chances for teammates. He has very good hockey sense which tends to lead to finding himself with the puck in open areas. When he’s there, he’s a smart player that picks out the right play more often than not. Rondbjerg has played 40 games in the SHL playing against grown men so he may be ready for the jump to the AHL this season. However, it’s more likely he’ll stay in Sweden for another full season. He has shined when playing for his country, Denmark. In six games at the World Junior Championship, he tallied seven points which ranked him tied for 12th behind many top prospects including Casey Mittelstadt, Martin Necas, Filip Zadina, Cale Makar, Brady Tkachuk, Sam Steel and others. It’s elite company to be keeping in a very competitive tournament. Don’t sleep on Rondbjerg, he might end up being the Golden Knights steal of the 2017 Draft.

 

11) Connor Corcoran (D)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #154 overall
Age: 19 (August 7th, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Previous Ranking: #21

Corcoran is expected to be a defense-first player, but he’s lighting it up offensively in his fourth season in the OHL. Four goals and nine assists in 16 games has him in the top 15 for defenseman in points per game and he’s taking care of his own end as well posting a +3 thus far. Considering he ended last year with a -45 rating, that’s quite a step in the right direction.

More on Corcoran
7/5/19 – He continued to look like the player we’ve expected him to be. He’s a defense-first guy who relies on fundamentals over flash. These types of guys are so hard to keep tabs on, even when you get to watch them live, because the best thing they can do is be unnoticeable. He was that in Development Camp, which I think is a good thing, right?

1/8/19 – He’s going to be a tough one to keep track of because he’s a typical defensive-minded defenseman. The stats won’t look good and he’s not going to find his way into many glowing postgame stories. He’s kind of in a class of his own among VGK prospects as there aren’t many giant defensemen list.

9/12/18 – In the rookie games, Corcoran looked like the youngest player on the ice. As the weekend went on he certainly grew and started to seem a bit more comfortable, but like Bouchard, it’s not really fair to judge him against the other four defensemen. We’ll learn a lot more about him when he returns next year for camp.

7/28/18 – The youngest Golden Knight prospect is likely going to be a more defensive minded player as he matures. He’s physically very strong and looked excellent along the boards at Development Camp, but his skating and puck-moving skills never quite displayed themselves at City National Arena.

 

12) Peter Diliberatore (D)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #180 overall
Age: 19 (March 31, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Quinnipiac University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #12

It would have been nice to have seen more of Diliberatore in Rookie Camp, but as an NCAA player he was not eligible to participate. He was one of the players that showed the most amount of development from 2018 to 2019 and he’s continuing to show that at Quinnipiac. Six points in nine games and 21 PIM shows he’s got a litt grit to his game.

More on Diliberatore
7/5/19 – Diliberatore was the last prospect in the rankings both times he’s been eligible. Not anymore. He now looks like a confident, steady defenseman with smooth, strong skating which allows him to generate offense in transition. He was one of, if not the most, impressive defensemen in camp and he’s starting to look like a player who has a real shot at becoming an NHLer. His size didn’t seem to impede anything he was trying to do on the ice and his decision making was nearly flawless the entire week. He’s a good example of why you don’t write off draft picks after one Development Camp a few days after they are drafted.

1/8/19 – A rare smaller defensive-minded defenseman (or at least that’s what he’s been scouted as), Diliberatore has nine points in 20 games as a freshman at Quinnipiac.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – As a high schooler playing with many high-end prospects and even a few professionals, Diliberatore kind of looked like a high schooler. It’s really not too fair to judge him on the performance at Development Camp though because as a shorter defenseman he was kind of thrown to the wolves.

 

13) Ivan Morozov (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #61 overall
Age: 19 (May 5, 2000)
Most Recent Team: SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
Previous Ranking: #14

This is a deceptive one because Morozov actually moves up in the rankings, but he really shouldn’t have. He’s been unable to crack the KHL roster for SKA St. Petersburg and he hasn’t exactly ripped up the Russian minor league, the VHL. World Juniors will be important for Morozov as he may be a top-six center for Russia.

More on Morozov
7/5/19 – Yet again, we didn’t actually get to see him play as he skipped Development Camp for the second year. Thus, he ends up soaring down the rankings even though he appears to be a player with a real future. He’s young enough to play for Russia in World Juniors this year, and he should have an expanded role. Hopefully the numbers start showing up in the KHL this year too.

1/8/19 – The first real chance we’ve gotten to see Morozov was a good one. He looked very good at times as the 4th line center for Team Russia. His selection to this team was impressive in the first place as Russia historically does not like to choose 18-year-olds for their U20 team. However, Morozov helped make an impact and looks like a terrific 200-foot player. His backchecking was probably the most exciting part of his game as he constantly would come back into his own zone, break up a play and then get the puck moving forward. Still want to see a lot more of him, but don’t be surprised if he’s in the top 3 or 4 the next time I update this list.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – Unable to attend Development Camp following the Draft, Morozov remains a bit of an unknown. However, he has recently signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg (yeah, the Shippy one) and was selected with Vegas’ only pick in the top 75 of the 2018 Draft which indicates he’s highly regarded. He has quick hands and should be a strong two-way center if/when he makes it to the NHL. A trip to World Juniors would do well for him to move up this list where he probably belongs.

 

14) Brandon Kruse (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #135 overall
Age: 19 (March 26, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Bowling Green State University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #19

The little speedy forward has continued to do nothing but produce at George McPhee’s alma mater. He’s essentially a point-per-game player and is keeping that up in his junior year in college. That being said, his so-so performance at Development Camp is keeping him from flying up the rankings. A selection to the Team USA World Junior roster would go a long way in helping him up into the top ten.

More on Kruse
7/5/19 – Kruse was a standout in 2018 Development Camp, he was not in 2019 Camp. That’s not to say he was bad, but the passing skills that made him jump off the ice a year ago didn’t really shine through this time around. All he does is put up numbers in college, so hopefully, that translates a little better the next time we see him.

1/8/19 – Kruse continues to put up solid numbers at Bowling Green as a sophomore. Seven goals and 26 points in 21 games is exactly what he needs to be doing. Look forward to seeing how much bigger he’s gotten when he gets to come back to Vegas in July for Development Camp.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – The other Golden Knight prospect to be invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase is 19-year-old Kruse. He’s an excellent passer that is a good skater and has the ability to score. As a freshman at Bowling Green, he scored 33 points in 41 games. At Development Camp, Kruse was impressive despite looking tiny. Just 5’9″ and weighing less than 160 pounds Kruse is a long way from being NHL-ready, however, the tools are there and he looks to be a promising prospect.

 

15) Ryder Donovan (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #110 overall
Age: 18 (October 4, 2000)
Most Recent Team: University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: 18

Donovan hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard, but he’s been a constant in a very talented Wisconsin lineup. A big, speedy player, he needs experience for his hands to catch up to his mind and feet. The more he plays in college, the better he’ll get.

More on Donovan
7/5/19 – The name of the game for Donovan is speed. He just needs the rest of his game to catch up to his feet. Playing with much better players than he’s used to, he didn’t look out of place at all because his skating kept him around the action. His hands need to get much better but I definitely think they can as he heads to the University of Wisconsin. I expect when we see him again that he’ll be a standout in the “look how far this guy progressed” category.

 

16) Slava Demin (F)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 4th Round, #99 overall
Age: 19 (April 4, 2000)
Most Recent Team: University of Denver (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #17

Demin is in the midst of a pretty important season in his career. Playing on a very good Denver team (#2 in the country), he’s expected to play a lot of minutes and be a shutdown defenseman. His -2 rating is a bit concerned on a team that’s 8-1-1 and has been #1 in the nation for a period this year. He has just two points and 25 penalty minutes. Let’s see how the rest of the season goes.

More on Demin
7/5/19 – Demin looked like a solid defenseman all week but he didn’t really ever jump out. I love his gap control backing into the D-zone which is one of the most important aspects of playing defense in the NHL. He ends up dropping three spots on this list, but my opinion is much higher on him than it’s ever been, I just need to see a lot more. Demin is headed to the World Junior Summer Showcase with Team USA, so at least it won’t be long until we get to see him.

1/8/19 – At the University of Denver he’s not putting up massive numbers but has been good in the +/- category at +14 in 18 games which is tied for 3rd among all freshman in the NCAA. He’s scored two of his three goals in his last two games so he may be starting to pick it up.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – Like Morozov, Demin was unable to attend Development Camp. Thus, he’s much further down this list than he probably should be. He’s an exciting puck-moving defenseman with excellent offensive upside and isn’t undersized like many other Golden Knights 2018 draft picks. He’s highly regarded defensively as well. Everything you read about Demin makes him out to be a great defensive prospect, but the fact that we’ve yet to see him has him down much further than where he was drafted. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the name, he’s American. Born in California, played in Anaheim Ducks youth system, and is committed to Denver University.

 

17) Nick Campoli (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #158 overall
Age: 20 (February 16, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Clarkson University (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #25

Before you go crazy saying “woah, up eight spots!” understand that this has a lot more to do with players coming down and him staying steady than anything else. As a 2017 Draft pick, he’s starting to run low on time to prove himself worthy of a contract. Vegas has until August of 2022, so we aren’t that close, but his four points in 10 games (including zero goals) is a bit concerning for a 20-year-old forward in college.

More on Campoli
7/5/19Multiple times I found myself looking down the roster sheet thinking, which players have I not focused some attention on. Multiple times the name Nick Campoli came to mind. So, in the final game, I made a point to watch him specifically in as many shifts as I could. He didn’t make a mistake that I could pick out, but he also didn’t do much to help his team drive offense. As an older player in the camp, I expected him to pop a few times, I didn’t see it, which means he has to stay near the bottom of this list.

9/12/18 – Did not attend Rookie Camp

7/28/18 – Campoli is already a Golden Knight, heading to Clarkson University to play in the NCAA. He scored and in bunches in the OJHL but it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up at the collegiate level. He’s short, but has a stout frame and a strong accurate shot.

 

18) Keegan Kolesar (F)
Acquired: via Trade from Columbus Blue Jackets for 2017 2nd Round Pick (selected 2015 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, #69 overall)
Age: 22 (April 8, 1997)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #16

Not much has changed with Kolesar. He’s still a potential fourth line option down the road, but as he gains more and more experience in the NHL, he’s expected to do more and hasn’t. On a Wolves roster slightly void of offensive talent, he hasn’t helped to fill that gap with just four points in 13 games. His head coach in Chicago loves him, but I’m still skeptical that we ever see him in a Golden Knights jersey.

More on Kolesar
7/5/19 – Wolves coach Rocky Thompson could not stop raving about Kolesar when I spoke to him in San Diego. He consistently referenced both Ryan Reaves and William Carrier. Personally, I don’t think he’s at that level, or frankly even all that close to it. Physically, he’s got all the tools, I’m just not sure he has the speed to play the physical forecheck game in the NHL. Wouldn’t shock me if he gets a shot sometime soon to see.

1/8/19 – Kolesar has had a somewhat quiet season with the Wolves and is starting to become a bit of a concerning prospect. Speed in the number one concern with him and the question is, as a 21-year-old, can he ever build up enough of it to play at the NHL level. He’s a -10 in 37 games and has just 14 points with the Wolves this year. He helps fill an age gap in which the Golden Knights are slim, especially with forwards, but I’m not counting on seeing Kolesar in a VGK jersey in the near future, if ever.

9/12/18 – Kolesar still checks in around the same spot he did before, but he’s got a real chance to fly up this chart if he keeps playing like he did in the rookie games. He looked like a man among boys for a majority of the games and really took it to another level in the final one. He almost had a double Gordie Howe hat trick (was one fight short). If he plays at this type of level against guys older than him, he’ll shoot up at least four or five spots in the next two weeks.

7/28/18 – The Golden Knights used one of the many picks they acquired in the Expansion Draft for the 2017 Draft on a player from the 2015 Draft. Kolesar is a strong player that skates well and has an excellent shot. He had a bit of a rocky year in his first professional season however slipping between the AHL and ECHL. He’s got all the characteristics of being a typical Golden Knights fourth liner, but the troubling season coupled with the lukewarm 2018 Development Camp leaves some pause.

 

19) Marcus Kallionkieli (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #139 overall
Age: 18 (March 20, 2001)
Most Recent Team: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Previous Ranking: #24

Kallionkieli has been injured since Development Camp and has been rehabbing with the NHL team at City National Arena. Without the ability to see him play, it’s hard to really judge much on him since the draft. Scouts like him a lot, and the Golden Knights are investing in him by keeping him around. Plus, he signed a contract, which many above him on this list have not. That’s a good sign in what the team thinks of him.

More on Kallionkieli
Kallionkieli was fairly unnoticeable in the short time he was able to spend on the ice during the scrimmage at Development Camp. He did not play in the final two games due to injury which could certainly have been a reason his skill level didn’t shine through when he was out there. His skating looked good though, which is why he’s not at the very bottom of this list. Just need to see a lot more from him.

 

20) Jake Leschyshyn (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 2nd Round, #62 overall
Age: 20 (March 10, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Previous Ranking: #23

For the first time ever, in rookie games and the preseason, we finally started to see what made Leschyshyn a 2nd round pick. There were flashes of speed, his hands looked better, and his positioning as a center was good. However, as cap wore on, he started to fade. Then, heading off to the AHL, he’s really done nothing through 16 games. Leschyshyn has three years left on his entry-level contract. Right now, it seems like a longshot that he’ll progress out of the AHL before it ends.

More on Leschyshyn
7/5/19 – I just wanted more from him all week long. He was playing with two wingers that were consistently impressing, but Jake never seemed to be the one making the plays. He’s definitely a reliable player, but as a 2nd round pick you would expect to see much more in his game. Also, I’m not sure the AHL is going to be a place for him to thrive either as he’s still a smaller guy in stature.

1/8/19 – Let me start out by saying I am NOT someone who gets overly excited about numbers in the CHL, but this kid just keeps pumping them out. Despite being traded from Regina to Lethbridge Leschyshyn has kept up an over a point per game pace and he is getting rave reviews from everyone who watches him play. Back to that trade, he was traded for a massive haul of draft picks because Lethbridge believes they can win now. I’m admittedly still skeptical, but there might be something in this 2nd round pick we hadn’t really seen yet.

9/12/18 – Not entirely sure what to make of Leschyshyn’s play in the rookie games. He didn’t stand out, but he didn’t seem to have trouble either. His size is a bit of a concern if he’s not going to end up being a scorer in the NHL. He probably still deserves a pass due to the devastating injury, but he’s got to get going this season and come to the next rookie camp and look great to live up to that 2nd round pick.

7/28/18 – Prior to the 2017 Draft, Leschyshyn tore his ACL and missed a majority of the season. He was having a good year and was seemingly destined to be a 1st round selection. The injury caused him to slip to the 2nd round where the Golden Knights selected him. He’s recovered from the surgery, but his game has not seemed to come completely back. He played as the 3rd line center on the Regina Pats and did not make a major impact on the CHL’s biggest stage, the Memorial Cup. Then, at Development Camp he didn’t really stand out like a 2nd round pick should. It’s far from time to give up on Leschyshyn, but this season will be important for him to get going back in the right direction.

 

21) Ben Jones (F)
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #189 overall
Age: 20 (February 26, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Chicago Wolves
Previous Ranking: #20

Jones has pretty much always looked the same player, a defensive center who scored in Canadian juniors but no where else. He’s certainly good enough to have a professional career, but it’s hard to project him as anything but a long-shot to make the NHL at this point.

More on Jones
7/5/19 – Jones continued to look like the player we’ve seen in the past. He’s a defensive forward who puts up points because of his forechecking and the way he takes care of the puck. This year will be a big step for him playing in Chicago with the Wolves. If the offensive numbers translate, he’ll shoot up these rankings, but I’m not so sure they will. I still expect him to eventually become a bottom-six penalty kill type guy.

1/8/19 – Now the captain of the IceDogs, Jones has continued to dominate the OHL. He’s a +26 38 games into the season which is likely more due to his defensive prowess than offensive. I’m ready to see what he can do in a league with better competition.

9/12/18 – Here’s a guy who took a nice step in the right direction at Rookie Camp. Jones is probably not ever going to be a top-six type player, but he has workhorse bottom-six guy written all over him. He has a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare style to his game. He’s an excellent penalty killer, always seems to be in the right place defensively as a center, and just outworks guys all over the ice. The 7th Round pick definitely didn’t look like it among a group of players drafted above him.

7/28/18 – The last skater selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 Entry Draft was one of the eight players from that draft who signed a contract. He was a bit more noteworthy in 2017 than 2018, but there was nothing glaring to the negative either year. Jones had a huge year in Niagara scoring 79 points in 68 games and added 12 more in 10 playoff games. Late round picks have an incredibly low success rate, which is why he is so low on this list, but he’ll be a guy to keep an eye on in Training Camp this year. Wouldn’t be a major surprise if he’s top 15 or even top 10 by the time he heads back to Niagara.

 

22) Xavier Bouchard (D)
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #185 overall
Age: 19 (February 28, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Previous Ranking: #22

Back in January I decided to give credit to Bouchard for his +/- improvement. Well, that has gone by the wayside as he’s back to a -7 through 20 games and looking like he’s headed for a repeat of his -30 in 17-18 as opposed to his +39 last year.

More on Bouchard
7/5/19 – Bouchard popped on the ice in Vegas more than he ever has before this week. He looked so much more comfortable on the puck than he did a year ago and his puck moving skills are starting to shine through. I still think there’s a ways to go, but he’s definitely headed in the right direction.

1/8/19 – I’m not a big +/- guy, but it’s one of the only reliable stats beyond goals and assists we consistently get from juniors. Boy did Bouchard take a step in the right direction in that category. He was -30 last season, this year in 32 games he’s a +20. That’s going to be important for a puck-mover like Bouchard. 23 assists in 32 games ain’t half bad either.

9/12/18 – The quality that stood out most with Bouchard at Rookie Camp was his feistiness. He looked a bit unsure on the defensive end for the most part but when someone needed to be hit (during or after the play), Bouchard was always there to make it happen. As a younger player, he earns a pass for not standing out on a unit with Brannstrom, Hague, Whitecloud, and Coghlan.

7/28/18 – A tall slender defenseman who skates reasonably well for his size. He’s known as a puck-mover, but a smart offensive-minded defenseman. After a big first year in Baie-Comeau and earning the “A” in year two he took a bit of a step back, posting a -30 rating and dropping 13 points in scoring. At Development Camp he looked a bit uneasy at times but certainly had some strong moments that made it clear the talent is there.

 

23) Mason Primeau (F)
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #141 overall
Age: 18 (July 28, 2001)
Most Recent Team: North Bay Battalion (OHL)
Previous Ranking: #26

Named an assistant for North Bay, Primeau has decreased his penalty minutes while increasing his scoring through 20 games.

More on Primeau
7/5/19 – I’m not normally a fan of bigger guys, he wasn’t able to use his physicality in camp, and he was one of the youngest guys on the ice. It was all cut out for Primeau to be the last ranked player on a list made by me. Truthfully, it’s unfair, because his hands were better than expected and he didn’t stand out as slow, but someone has to be on the bottom, so here we are.

 

GOALIES 

1) Dylan Ferguson
Acquired: via Trade from Dallas Stars with 2020 2nd Round Pick for Marc Methot (selected in 2017 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #194 overall)
Age: 20 (September 20, 1998)
Most Recent Team: Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL)
Previous Ranking: #2

Ferguson has officially cemented his spot as a professional goalie starting the season in the ECHL and making two AHL appearances in Chicago. He’s clearly on the right path and will likely start to push Dansk and/or Sparks next season. As for this season, he needs to keep showing consistency, something he’s done over his first two months as a professional.

More on Ferguson
7/5/19 – The one aspect of Ferguson’s game that shows up the most when watching him is his compete level. He looks like he wants to save every single shot, no matter the situation or likelihood he should actually save it. In the scrimmage that he was able to play in Development Camp it appeared like he was planning on winning the game singlehandedly for his team. The intensity is there, his style is good, and he’s getting more and more consistent. For a smaller guy, his ability to look big inside of the goal is impressive and his athleticism is exciting. It appears like the Golden Knights’ plan for Ferguson is to hand him the reigns as the backup in Chicago, which says a lot about what the organization thinks of him as well.

1/8/19 – Ferguson has put up similar numbers to his other seasons in the WHL saving a little over 90% of shots. Due to his age he seems to be a bit further along than Kooy but the physical tools aren’t as promising. Don’t forget that he was the first to sign a contract, he was specifically targeted by VGK in a trade and he was seemingly the highest rated goalie in rookie camp. It’s neck and neck with Kooy but ties are no fun so Dylan drops down a spot.

9/12/18 – Ferguson didn’t play in any of the rookie games, which in theory should be a bad thing. Instead though, it indicates the Golden Knights rank him the highest, by giving him the first preseason game rather than a rookie game. We’ll heed VGK’s rankings and leave him atop the list.

7/28/18 – You might remember young Dylan from his short stint with the Golden Knights, but you should remember him from his solid showing at Development Camp. He looked confident in the goal, something he didn’t look while in the net in Edmonton or even at Development Camp in 2017. Ferguson has a little bit of an edge to him, and it seems to translate to confidence and swagger on the ice. Plus, he’s awesome interacting with kid fans when he comes off the ice.

 

2) Isaiah Saville
Acquired: 2019 Entry Draft, 5th Round, #135 overall
Age: 19 (September 21, 2000)
Most Recent Team: University of Omaha-Nebraska (NCAA)
Previous Ranking: #1

“The Mayor” has gotten off to a nice start in his collegiate career. Posting a 2.27 GAA in seven games, Saville has helped the Mavericks get out to a 5-3-1 start. He’ll always be a bit of an anomaly as a right-hand catching goalie, but there’s nothing to make anyone doubt this kid to this point. Plus, he’s got a heck of a personality, which is going to make him a fan favorite no matter where he plays.

More on Saville
7/5/19 – Saville has been by far the most impressive goalie in his first appearance with the Golden Knights. He looked incredibly confident in the goal and his technique was terrific for an 18-year-old. Dave Prior is constantly working with goalies to try and make minor changes to their game, often times throwing them off a bit, but with Saville that wasn’t the case. Prior wanted Saville to challenge shooters further out of the goal cutting down angles. He did it, and it seemed to make him even better as the week went on. Of the goalies remaining in the Golden Knights system, he’s the highest draft pick and he looks like he’s on the right path to becoming a solid prospect.

 

3) Jordan Kooy
Acquired: 2018 Entry Draft, 7th Round, #208 overall
Age: 19 (April 30, 2000)
Most Recent Team: Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Previous Ranking: #3

After a rough start to the season for the London Knights, Kooy was traded to Sarnia Sting. He’s been better there, but still hasn’t put up the type of numbers he’s capable of.

More on Kooy
7/5/19 – Kooy was solid once again between the pipes at Development Camp making all the saves he was supposed to. However, there weren’t many moments with him in goal in which he stopped shots that should have been goals. Instead, he just stopped all the ones he should. That’s not necessarily a problem, but as he gets older, he’s going to have to start doing it a bit more. He did however look much more comfortable in camp this year than he did a year ago. Dropping down to 3rd is much more a reflection of how good Saville looked as opposed to Kooy doing anything wrong.

1/8/19 – Essentially an afterthought when drafted, he’s turning into a goalie that probably would have gone in the top few rounds had Dave Prior and McPhee not scooped him up in the 7th of the last draft. Still just 18, Kooy is putting up solid numbers as the backup for the London Knights. He’s posted a 2.52 GAA and .918 Sv%, both the best of all VGK goalie prospects in the CHL.

9/12/18 – The final score didn’t look great when Kooy skated off the ice, but he flashed some brilliance between the pipes in his rookie game. Being a year younger than Patera and Zhukov yet looking as good if not better than both of them is saying something. His size is exciting too, he’s a big guy and seems to know how to use it to his advantage.

7/28/18 – Kooy had an incredibly rough first scrimmage at Development Camp, but quickly turned it around and may have even been the most impressive goalie in the second and third scrimmages. He appears to be a guy who has excellent upside and a year or six of working with Dave Prior never hurt anybody.

 

4) Jiri Patera
Acquired: 2017 Entry Draft, 6th Round, #161 overall
Age: 20 (February 24, 1999)
Most Recent Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Previous Ranking: #4

Patera has found himself in a bit of a battle just for playing time in Brandon. He has started just eight games, while draft eligible Ethan Kruger has seen the nets 14 times. Patera’s stats are better, but playing time is a good indicator of form in Canadian juniors.

More on Patera
7/5/19 -He dropped down to 4th on the list last time due to a shoddy performance at World Juniors. He stays at #4 now because the guys in front of him all look very good. As a whole the goaltenders had their best camp yet, with all four of them looking good for the most part. Patera definitely seems to be progressing and is starting to track the puck a bit better than he had the previous times we’ve seen him. I was down on the goalie prospects in the system, but after doing this exercise again, ranking Patera 4th, and realizing how good he was in camp, the depth in the system actually looks pretty good.

1/8/19 – Patera is the only one of the Golden Knights goalie prospects to have made a World Junior roster. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very good while playing with the Czech team. He had a miserable game the one he was in the net and even had the blooper of the tourney tripping while trying to get back to the net. His numbers in Brandon have been pretty good though, so don’t go crazy. These are 19-year-old goalies we are talking about, if any of them pan out it would be amazing.

9/12/18 – Despite having the best stat line of any of the three goalies, he was the least impressive. It may have a lot to do with the fact that the Kings rookies did not generate much offense, but Patera seemed to lose track of the puck quite a bit. It’s important to note though that the gap between #1 to #4 is fairly slim here. Couple good periods and Patera could be first.

7/28/18 – Patera was selected by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the CHL Import Draft and is looking forward to trying his hand against better competition this season. He made a couple of incredible reactionary saves during 2018 Development Camp, one in particular that still boggles the mind as to how he kept the puck out. He seems to have quick reflexes and is a fairly large guy for his age.