2019 Dev Camp has wrapped up which leaves us with no hockey to watch for a brutal two months. So, in the meantime, we’ll have to over-analyze three meaningless scrimmages at City National Arena as if they were the end all be all of the development of the prospects.
Joking, of course, but seriously, here are my takeaways from what I saw at Development Camp this week.
- Safety first
- It starts with Cody Glass. He played in the first period and a half of the first scrimmage and was taken out due to precautionary reasons. No reason to risk him getting hurt in scrimmages against kids he’s already better than. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. Didn’t seem like it was.
- Dylan Ferguson, Marcus Kallionkieli, and Dylan Coghlan were all kept out of scrimmages as well. It’s always disappointing to not see these guys play in the rare chances we get to in person, especially Kallionkieli. He didn’t stand out much in one scrimmage he did play, but if he was hurt, that makes sense as to why.
- 2017 Draft Picks looking like NHLers
- The 2017 Draft will forever be one of the most important in team history. For a club that had just come off the Expansion Draft and had a boatload of picks, they had to cash in on a few. It’s starting to look like they did.
- Jonas Rondbjerg was the most consistent and best player in camp for me. His two-way game stands out when you really key in on him. He’s a tremendous forechecker and is really good along the walls in all three zones. He’ll start the season in Chicago, but I’ll go on record with the bold prediction that he plays a game in a VGK uniform in 2019-20.
- Jack Dugan was a close second to Rondbjerg, constantly making things happen when he was on the ice. He’s turned into a wrecking ball and it’s fun to watch him play in the offensive zone. The dude is relentless in his pursuit to get the puck back. The one thing I was missing was the finish. He scored a beauty on a breakaway but there were four or five other chances I thought to myself, that could have been a goal, and they weren’t. When they first got him I wasn’t sure what to think, last year he started to make me think he had a shot, now I’m willing to say I’d be surprised if he isn’t an NHLer at some point.
- Lucas Elvenes started to look like the player I read about when they got him. His vision is incredible on the ice and there’s no pass he can’t make. He’s mentioned to me in the past that the smaller ice has taken him some time to get used to and you are starting to see it. He finally looks comfortable on the puck and when it’s on his stick something good is bound to happen.
- I wanted to see a bit more out of Jake Leschyshyn, Ben Jones, and Nick Campoli. There were moments for all three, no doubt, and there’s no question each seems further along than they’ve been in the past, but I just didn’t see the flash that made me say, that kid’s going to the NHL one day out of any of the three. Of course, they’ll two of the three will be heading to Chicago and the other back to NCAA (Campoli), which will give them much more of a chance to keep taking the steps.
- Love me some Pavel
- I enjoy skilled players. Russian players tend to be very skilled. Thus, I tend to like Russian players., but I really like Pavel Dorofeyev a lot. His ability to hold onto the puck while advancing it into more dangerous places on the ice than where he got it is impressive, especially for an 18-year-old. Pretty much every time he touched the puck there was danger for the defense. This is also talking about a kid who has hardly ever played on North American sized ice. Wait until you see the updated prospect rankings, I’m super high on this guy, to say the least.
- Blue line depth just keeps getting deeper
- It’s well documented how deep the Golden Knights already are with defensive prospects, but it’s getting deeper. Kaedan Korczak, Layton Ahac, Peter Diliberatore were all excellent and Xavier Bouchard, Connor Corcoran, and Slava Demin all had solid camps as well.
- It’s just three days, but my scouting report on Korczak is quite a bit different than what I read about him when he was drafted. He was touted as a defense-first guy, and while I thought he did well in his own end, the number of times he flashed in the offensive and through the neutral zone was impressive. He looked like your prototypical Vegas defenseman who skates very well, jumps into the rush whenever possible, and pinches at the right time to keep plays alive. I completely see why the Golden Knights thought it was necessary to jump up in the Draft and take him, he looks excellent.
- Ahac and Diliberatore both had similar camps and they were each stellar. Both look excellent on the puck and their skating is smooth both backing into the zone and skating out of it.
- A number of times I found myself forgetting about Slava Demin, which can be a good thing for defensemen. When I did take the time to focus my attention on him, his positioning stood out, in a good way. I didn’t see a ton of offensive upside in his game this weekend, but defensively he was sound.
- I don’t have a bad word to say about any of them, which is much better than what I walked out of the 2017 and 2018 camps saying. Isaiah Saville was particularly impressive looking comfortable in his first camp. Plus, I really like that kid off the ice. His personality is infectious. Both Jordan Kooy and Jiri Patera looked improved from last year as well.
- Ryder Donovan
- Let’s start with the best thing about him, he’s fun. I had the chance to chat with him multiple times and I really enjoyed the way he handled camp, how he interacted with his teammates, what he thought of Vegas, his camp blog, all of it, it’s impossible to have a conversation with him without laughing at some point. Those are my favorite types of people.
- On the ice, it was hit or miss with him as he got his feet wet with much higher-end players than he’s used to playing with. He told me the passing was the most impressive thing he saw on the ice and you could see how it was surprising him while out there. The game just seemed to be moving a little quicker than what he normally sees, and while he has the ability to play at that speed (meaning his skating is great, his hands are good, and he’s typically in the right place), it doesn’t seem like he was able to process everything quickly enough. That’s probably the best negative I can write about a player though because experience should correct it all. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play in college and in again in camp next year.
- Non-Roster Players
- I promise you, this isn’t just because he’s 6’9″, the non-roster player that stood out the most was Keenan Suthers. It felt like every time he was on the ice he was making things happen. In a camp that didn’t feature a ton of goal scoring, he put the puck in the net multiple times and created many other chances.
- A few others that popped were Wyatt Bongiovanni, Gustaf Westlund, Mick Messner, and Mitchell Chaffee. Westlund was probably the most impressive of all, but a lot of it may have had to do with linemates. After Glass went out, Westlund stepped into the center role with Rondbjerg and Dugan (the two best players in the scrimmages). The fact that the coaching staff selected him to be that player says something, but the way he performed while in that role said more.
- Suthers probably should be a guy the Golden Knights keep an eye one, but even with him, there’s was no one in this camp in the same stratosphere as where Schuldt was last year. I’d honestly be surprised if there’s a non-roster signee out of this one.
That’s it, if there’s a player I missed that you want to know more about, drop a note in the comments or send me a tweet.