(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

The Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights wrapped up their yearly summer Development Camp. Every draft pick since the 2020 Draft attended plus a host of Silver Knights, Ghost Pirates, and camp invitees.

The group was split into two teams that practiced together for the entire week and participated in two scrimmages. Here are my observations from 2023 Development Camp.

  • Jackson Hallum is very fast.
    • This is really not news as it’s been the defining feature of his game since he was selected in the 3rd round of the 2020 Draft, but boy did it show up on the ice this week. He scored three times in the scrimmages (no one else had more than one), and he was noticeable all over the ice in both games. His hands and mind definitely appear to be catching up to his feet. Certainly an exiting prospect moving forward.
  • Isaiah Saville is on another level compared to the other goalies.
    • This is certainly not to say any of the goalies were bad (they definitely weren’t) but there’s a certain calmness in the net and playing the puck with his stick that Saville possesses the others simply don’t at this time. Saville should get plenty of starts in the AHL this year and it wouldn’t surprise me if he pushes Jiri Patera for the starting role.
  • Brendan Brisson has improved as a passer and playmaker.
    • There wasn’t a single power play for his team in the two games in which he played so we didn’t get to see his most dangerous weapon, but Brisson made an impact with his precise passing. Coming off watching a playoff run that ended in the Stanley Cup, accurate passing is something I’ve kind of taken for granted, but then watching prospects play you see the importance of it. ┬áBrisson was excellent setting up his teammates multiple times for good looks. Can’t say I’m fully convinced he’s ready to take an NHL spot away from a guy like Paul Cotter or Pavel Dorofeyev, but this is the closest I’ve ever felt.
  • Daniil Chayka is a rock.
    • After four periods of not really noticing him I decided to really focus on his game in the final two periods, and I was impressed. He broke up a number of plays in the neutral zone, was excellent on and off the puck in the D-zone, and activated multiple times offensively but wasn’t found by teammates. I’ve always believed he has a good shot at being an NHLer, I’m pretty convinced of it now.
  • Two roster invitees impressed me, one in each game. Scrimmage 1 it was Robbie Fromm-DeLorme and scrimmage 2 it was Jayden Lee.
    • Fromm-DeLorme is a WHL player who went undrafted and is known as an energy type guy. He looked like much more than that in the first scrimmage as he was consistently driving the play for his team. Passing, forechecking, hustle, IQ, hands, I liked all of it from him. Unfortunately, he got hurt in the second game and missed a chunk of it.
    • Jayden Lee, a four year defenseman at Quinnipiac, was uber confident on the puck. He dusted multiple guys at the blue line and even poked in a rebound goal in the first game. Despite scoring in Scrimmage 1, he was better in the second one. It’s hard to describe beyond, he just looked like he’s better at this sport than pretty much everyone else.
  • Daniel D’Amato is close.
    • The Henderson Silver Knight who has been around multiple camps with the Golden Knights continues to stand out every time he’s on the ice. There’s still a bit of skill lacking in his game which is why I wouldn’t project him to be ready to break through to the NHL any time soon, but this kid can really play. He’s noticeable in all three zones and has a very strong stick. I expect him to have a good year in Henderson and potentially start to take steps towards moving upward.
  • Mathieu Cataford was the most impressive 2023 Draft pick
    • He just seems to have a nose for the puck and for the goal. His skating looked good especially through the neutral zone and he was typically in the right place for rebounds. I’m always extremely careful to judge the guys that were picked last week in their first Development Camp, but I’ve definitely got my eyes on him moving forward.