When the Golden Knights entered the NHL, the front office prioritized building through the draft.
The result is a talented farm system stocked with several players ready to contribute at the NHL level despite two of the Knights’ top prospects being traded.
Here is a look at the top 10 prospects in the Knights’ system for the 2019-20 season:
1. Cody Glass
The Knights have been methodical in their development of the 6-foot-2-inch, 192-pound center, who was the first draft pick in franchise history in 2017 (No. 6 overall). Glass averaged almost two points per game in his final season in major-junior and played a pivotal role in the Chicago Wolves’ run to the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup final with 15 points in 22 postseason games.
2. Nic Hague
Assistant coach Mike Kelly once described the lanky second-round pick in 2017 (No. 34 overall) as “Bambi on ice,” but Hague now has the most upside of any defenseman in the system. Teammate Max Pacioretty likened the 6-6 youngster to Hall of Famer Chris Pronger, citing his size, reach and nasty streak. Hague posted 32 points and a plus-31 rating in the AHL in 2018-19.
3. Peyton Krebs
The playmaking, two-way center fell to the Knights in the first round of the 2019 draft (No. 17 overall) after he underwent surgery for a partially torn Achilles tendon. He’s expected to make a full recovery. Krebs (5-11½, 183 pounds) served as captain for Team Canada during the Under-18 World Championship and posted 19 goals and 49 assists for his major-junior team in the Western Hockey League.
4. Lucas Elvenes
The flashy 6-1, 187-pound winger impressed in the Swedish Hockey League against professionals, posting 20 points in 42 games for Rogle BK after showing 5-11-16 in 28 games the previous season. Elvenes was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft and will play for Chicago (AHL) as he continues to adapt to the smaller North American ice sheet.
5. Zach Whitecloud
The 6-2, 206-pound defenseman skated on the top pairing with Hague and led the AHL in plus-minus rating (plus-39) during his first full professional season. Whitecloud, who signed as a free agent out of Bemidji State in 2018, is a reliable defender and showed his two-way potential with 15 points in 22 games during the postseason.
6. Dylan Coghlan
The Knights signed the British Columbia native as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and he opened eyes in his first season in the AHL. Coghlan (6-2, 202) led Chicago’s defensemen with 15 goals, 25 assists and 40 points. He produced more than half of those points on the power play and continues to improve his work in the defensive zone.
7. Pavel Dorofeyev
The Russian winger showed his quick hands during Development Camp and appears to be a steal after being selected in the third round of the 2019 draft. Dorofeyev (6-1, 171) toyed with players his own age in the Russian junior league, scoring 17 goals and 31 points in 19 games in 2018-19, and the Knights believe his skating will improve as he gets older.
8. Jack Dugan
A fifth-round pick in 2017, Dugan led all NCAA freshmen in assists (29) and ranked second in points (39) while helping Providence to the Frozen Four. The 6-2, 194-pound wing was a consistent performer at Development Camp in the summer and could factor into the Knights’ plans for 2020-21 with a big sophomore campaign for the Friars.
9. Jimmy Schuldt
The 24-year-old defenseman signed as a free agent after a decorated four-year college career at St. Cloud State and recorded an assist in his NHL debut. He was a two-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey and also was named the 2018-19 National Collegiate Hockey Conference Player of the Year.
10. Kaedan Korczak
The Knights traded up in the second round of the 2019 draft — with rival San Jose Sharks, no less — to select the 6-3, 197-pound stay-at-home defenseman from Kelowna of the WHL. Korczak isn’t flashy offensively, but he is a fluid skater and underrated puck mover who also has plenty of sandpaper to his game.
Note: Prospects must maintain rookie status when they enter the NHL. (“Must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age by Sept. 15 of that season is not considered a rookie.”)
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