For the first time since 2019, the Golden Knights are holding a Development Camp at City National Arena. The pandemic wiped out two years of Dev Camp and it’s left us with a lot of prospects who have either never been in a sweater with a Vegas logo on it or have done it sparingly.
With that, there’s a lot to keep an eye on during the scrimmages at the end of the week. Here’s what I’m looking for.
1) Will Brendan Brisson look like the clear #1 prospect in the VGK system?
Brisson has impressed at every level including his most recent short stint in the AHL. However, I’ve still been left with some questions, most notably his ability to hold the puck in the offensive zone and his overall defensive game. As one of just two 1st round picks, and playing as an older player, Brisson needs to clearly stand out as one of the best players in these scrimmages.
2) Can Lukas Cormier’s offensive game translate against better competition?
Numbers, numbers, and more numbers. That’s all we’ve seen from Cormier in the QMJHL. But, due to the lack of camps the last two years we’ve only seen hin in Vegas for the Rookie Faceoff in Arizona and then a few preseason games. He wasn’t particularly good in either and it seemed like his deficiencies defensively overshadowed his offensive game. It would be great to see that half-goal-per-game player show up with a VGK uni on.
3) Is Kaedan Korczak ready?
If you take one peek at Korczak’s frame, you’ll know he’s more than ready to play in the NHL physically. He was steady through the AHL season and looked competent in his single NHL appearance. Back in September in the Rookie Faceoff, there was a lack of urgency to his game that concerned me. It seemed to dissipate as I watched him a few times for Henderson. I’m hoping to not see it again.
4) Where is Korczak compared to Daniil Chayka, Connor Corcoran, and Layton Ahac?
Korczak is the runaway favorite to be the next call-up on the blue line for the Golden Knights, but there’s a group of players at this camp that could have a say in that. Korczak isn’t the flashiest player, so he has to show out to be more responsible than each of the three names above. If he is, it’ll confirm my beliefs, but if he’s not, some doubt will likely creep in as to what his chances are to break through this year.
5) Does Patrick Guay’s scoring touch carry on to VGK Development Camp in his first appearance?
Two years ago the draft guide I trust the most (NHL Black Book) called Guay undraftable as an 18-year-old. That was before he posted 55 goals in the QMJHL a few years later. Now, the Golden Knights have spent a draft pick on the diminutive scorer and there’s no excuse for the goals to not keep flying in during these games. Typically I give this year’s draft picks a pass during their first Dev Camp, but with him being overaged, he’s not afforded that. For this pick to work, he has to score, score a lot, and keep scoring everywhere he goes. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are included.
6) Have Carl Lindbom or Jesper Vikman made up ground on Isaiah Saville?
The last we saw of the two younger goalies, it was a rollercoaster. Each had miserable practices, miserable periods, and great ones of both too. It was clear they were new to the system and still working their way through learning. The last we saw of Saville he was playing very well in the AHL. Due to age, Saville should be miles ahead of both of the Swedes, but he needs to prove it this week.
7) How do the speed merchants fare?
There are three VGK-controlled forwards in this camp that are really known for their speed. They are Ryder Donovan, Jackson Hallum, and Jordan Gustafson. Often times these scrimmages turn into a bit of a slop fest which neutralizes the speedy players’ ability to impact the games. But, that happens in the NHL too, and the guys who make it find a way to use the speed to change the game at some point. We haven’t seen a lot (or any) of these guys so it will be interesting to see if that speed flashes like it needs to.
8) Will the Michigan men stand out?
Of course, we expect Brisson to be one of the best players on the ice, but there are three other players from the Wolverines at this camp. Nolan Moyle, Mark Estapa, and Steve Holtz are all representing Michigan and all three are on the older side. Brisson said he was happy Estapa was on his team because he didn’t want to play against him all weekend. Let’s see if any of these three have us keeping an eye on them as they head back to college.
9) How many goals will Daniil Bourash score?
I spent most of the first day of camp watching with a talent evaluator and he was mesmerized by Bourash’s shot/release. Sure, he had concerns about some other parts of his game, but I want to see if that shot will shine through when he’s playing against defenders rather than just in drills. As an 18-year-old from Belarus who went undrafted this year, he could easily be someone the Golden Knights keep tabs on for next year’s draft. That is, of course, if my buddy’s eye is right and the shot is truly that good.
10) Can Wilmer Skoog pull off the lacrosse move in a scrimmage?
Everyone loves a good lacrosse-style goal, and in the history of Dev Camp we’ve never seen anyone try anything even close to as crazy as that. This kid has done it multiple times in his career. Here’s one such highlight. I vowed to donate $100 to charity if he does it and many joined in to where we have almost $2000 pledged if he pulls it off. C’mon Wilmer, do it!
Isn’t Jackson Hallum enrolled at Michigan?
I have two Minnesota hockey nuts who tell me is going to be a great player.
knights fan in minny
flower the main man in minny now talbot traded to ottawa
As much as I’d like to get excited about development camp and the players involved we just never hit on a winner. Unfortunately it looks like more AHL caliber players.
THE hockey God
I asked Matyas Sapovaliv what his reaction was when he first stepped outside the Las Vegas airport and felt the heat.
He laughed and replied “The weather punched me in the face.”
I think Matyas Sapovaliv will surprise and be a Matt Cullen-like player.
THE hockey God
that’s the way Emmanuel, keep up the positive waves. Your post reminded me of what they said about Gordie Howe when he first came into the league during his early seasons.
“When Howe first broke into the league in the 1940s, Ted Lindsay recalled not long ago, “he seemed to think he had to beat up everyone one at a time.” But Jack Adams, then the Red Wings’ general manager, took him aside and told him to take it easy. In recent years. Howe hasn’t fought very often. He hasn’t had to, since not many people want to take him on. But in 1959 he made it clear that he had not relinquished his title by default. Throughout the 1958-59 season. New York Ranger coach Phil Watson had assigned Eddie Shack, then a bumptious rookie, to stick with Howe when the Rangers played Detroit, and for the first several games Shack did a remarkably fine job. In New York one night, though, the predictable occurred. Shack emerged from a skirmish with Howe with a face cut that needed three stitches to close. Lou Fontinato, who was then the Rangers’ “policeman” — the man charged with retaliating for any indignities his teammates might suffer at the hands of opposing bullies — drew a bead on Howe at the first opportunity and smashed him into the boards. Both Howe and Fontinato dropped their gloves. Fontinato went low, for Howe’s body. Howe grabbed him by the sweater with his left hand and, with his right, administered the most famous single punch in NHL history, shattering Fontinato’s nose. That week, Life magazine ran one full-page photo of Fontinato in the hospital, his nose a wreck and his eyes swollen and bruised, and another of Howe in the dressing room, with his shirt off and his muscles rippling. In a nice summary of the importance of a man playing a bodycollision sport like hockey not only being tougher than his opponent but appearing to be tougher, the Rangers’ coach Watson said later that the heart went out of his team not when Howe threw his mighty punch but when the two contrasting photos appeared for the world to see: the Red Wings’ cool Goliath had made a patsy out of their champion. The Rangers finished a bad last that year.
But even Fontinato, a likeable ruffian who has unfortunately been lost to hockey through a serious injury, could not hold Howe’s victory over him as a personal grudge. Scott Young, then writing his excellent sports column for the Toronto Globe and Mail, happened to be present when Howe and Fontinato met for the first time off the ice after their match. “I guess you know Gordie Howe.” Young said to Fontinato. “I guess so, but I’m not sure I should lower my hands to shake with him.” Fontinato said, and then smiled and did so.
Hopes and prayers. It’s all ya can do with these guys. See it for what it is
Fat bastard has pissed away all hopes of finding and keeping top end young talent
Such a great thing flushed away so quickly by an arrogant slob
Wow – have never heard George McPhee be referred to as a “fat bastard” or “arrogant slob” before! You do realize that McCrimmon has reported to McPhee essentially since Day 1 of the franchise, and that McPhee has always had (and continues to have) final say in all key roster moves, right? So if you’re going to hide behind a keyboard and call people names, then at least be man (or woman) enough to call them both out, and not pretend one is the evil scapegoat while the other will forever be only judged by the 1st season. Makes you look pretty dumb…
the hockey God
@smh your thoughts are well thought out and pretty obvious! the OP is obviously an obtuse plant based life form. With little sign of any of five critical cognitive skills.
knights fan in minny
nice insult king
The two of you, kinda, sorta getting along ….. kinda, sorta?
If so, let me know so I can stock up on bottle water, tarp and duct tape, because we’re talking some End Times type sh*t happening here.
Seriously, if the two of you were anonymously seated next to each other at a bar, I’d bet anything it would be BFF time in no time. 🙂
Vegas was probably giddy as hell with the flames losing Johnny hockey only to be nut kicked by evader kane signing on w the oilers.
….geez that a whole lotta talent
the hockey God
he’ll likely head back to an east coast american based team
Toughest small guy in the history of the NHL. Always outweighed by about 40 pounds and gives away 5-7 inches in every fight.
George McPhee versus Rick Tocchet – Round 3
First two fights were even and I believe in the third one McPhee was getting the better of him and Tocchet realizing the little tough son of a bitch would never give up tried to take him down with a wrestling move.
the hockey God
nice galdom, theoron fluery was also one tough cookie
Who in the Blue hell is Sakari Manninen??
the hockey God
$3 all you can eat sushi buffet and then out the door at resorts worl d?
THE hockey God
is bill veeck now in charge of personnel signings ? What next a british skier long jumper Eddie the Eagle ? I hear the yellow vomit will be home jerseys this year. Will they be matched with white skates ? Green skates , a la charlie o finley’ 70s oakland A;s ? Will players wear handle bar staches? You know a franchise is in trouble when they start going down the gimmick road, which is usually a dead end with no turn around.
Very nice post THG
THE hockey God
galdom, i was cracking up so bad when I wrote that my side still hurts from laughing
Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan just got traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a bag of onions.
What becomes of the borderline Knites? Ya know should have been Las Vegas Nites . Well Niagaraland got them a blockbuster trade all young uns fer Eichel. Gave away the farm for more over stretched bounty. Anyhoos, time for good tinkering, than toying with more wheeling by dealing to the high ended Salary Cap. Less loss leaders. More fun bunch as season WON. Out.
Last year really was their best chance and they couldn’t even make the playoffs.
Ken, your thoughts. I’m not a fan of trading a player at their lowest value. I disagree strongly to people who think they should move guys like Lehner or Karlsson and attach huge sweeteners to move their contracts. That nonsense has to stop. They obviously weren’t going to extend Pacioretty and I’m glad they didn’t attach a sweetener to this but they got absolutely no return.
My big question is that if Max Pacioretty is on this team and has stats like this at next year’s trade deadline……..
45 GP 23 G 19 A 42 PT
Can’t you then trade him as a rental and get a first or second round pick?
Glass half full, at least this likely means they will be resigning Nick Hague. Got to say that it would be really silly to move on from a 6’ 6” 23 year old defenceman.