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2019 VGK Development Camp

Steve Marcus

Keenan Suthers (79) skates in a drill during Vegas Golden Knights development camp at City National Arena in Summerlin Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

Golden Knights development camp has come and gone, meaning the next time the team will have any on-ice action will be during training camp in September.

Most of Vegas’ top prospects were around City National Arena for the past week — even technically this year’s top draft choice, Peyton Krebs, who was wheeling around on a scooter recovering from a torn Achilles. It gave the coaching staff a chance to get their first look at some players while evaluating the progression of others they’ve watched for years.

Here are a few thoughts after spending the week at the rink.

• The best prospects showed, well, why they are considered the best prospects. Cody Glass, Vegas’ top forward, only played the first half of the first scrimmage before leaving for precautionary reasons, but that was all he needed. Glass and his linemates dominated play. Glass had little more to prove against prospects. His play at training camp will be much more telling. Ditto for top defenseman Nicolas Hague, who was clearly the best blueliner of the bunch. He showed an acute sense of when to jump into plays as well as a lethal shot. He’ll battle for a roster spot in September.

• Jack Dugan and Jonas Rondbjerg played on Glass’ wings, but even after he left, they didn’t lose a step. Members of the 2017 draft class, they are in their third camp and coaches are pleased with their development over the last two years. People around the Golden Knights have said Dugan, “looks like a man now,” and though he figures to play his sophomore season at Providence next year, he could be a candidate to sign afterwards. Rondbjerg has a wicked shot and is expected to play in North America for the first time next year.

• The most impressive of the free agents? Easily 6-foot-8-inch behemoth Keenan Suthers. He scored a pair of goals in the three scrimmages and came close to two more. His height is eye-catching, but he’s more than a big body. He skates like a forward six inches shorter and won more faceoffs that anyone would expect. Team personnel admitted they were also impressed with the big man. The 21-year-old will be a junior at St. Lawrence next year, but Vegas will keep an eye on him.

• The Golden Knights may have found a steal in 2019 third-rounder Pavel Dorofeyev. He slid to No. 79 overall while some had him as high as the No. 15 prospect in the draft. He has terrific puck-handling skills with zone entries that were among the best at camp. It’s hard to bump him off the pick and he flustered defenses with a slight hesitation in his shot. Dorofeyev didn’t look like a first-year player, and though he’ll be in Russia for a few more years, he could be a future NHL playmaking winger.

• Was the Golden Knights’ goalie of the future at camp this week? Hard to say. Jiri Patera, a 21-year-old fifth-rounder from 2017, looked great in a 31-save shutout Friday, and 2019 fifth-rounder Isaiah Saville made some terrific saves as an 18-year-old. Dylan Ferguson is the most advanced of the group, but he only played once in the three scrimmages.

• Ryder Donovan and Mason Primeau are both big-bodied centers that Vegas took mid-round chances on at this year’s draft. They’re both raw, tall and in need of filling out, but both were fast and flashed potential that indicated they could be standouts in two years as third-year development campers. Donovan will join a loaded Wisconsin recruiting class in the fall while Primeau will head back to North Bay of the Ontario Hockey League.

Article written by #LasVegasSun