Connect with us



Oct 19: Silver Knights Players

Steve Marcus

Silver Knights center Brendan Brisson (24) skates against the Bakersfield Condors during a game at at the Dollar Loan Center in Henderson Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.

This summer is an important one for Brendan Brisson, one of the top prospects in the Vegas Golden Knights’ stable.

In his third Golden Knights development camp, Brisson is learning how to be a leader. He’s the elder statesman at 21 years old, leading the younger players and newcomers by example.

But this is also the year when the training wheels come off. Brisson, the 29th overall pick by Vegas in 2020 out of Michigan, is about to play his second year of professional hockey. All signs point to him starting the year with the Henderson Silver Knights, but Brisson will be part of a stacked competition to be on the Golden Knights’ roster come opening night.

“It’s my second year here (on ice),” Brisson said, adding that his focus as a leader would be on “just going first in drills, being a help to anyone if they have questions around the rink and the organization.”

The ideal timeframe for NHL prospects going to development camp is three years. It’s a weekslong journey that puts an emphasis on how the NHL team trains, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with food and exercise, and the importance of work in the community. Due to the pandemic, Brisson’s first development camp  in 2020 was conducted virtually.

By the end of the third development camp is when critical evaluation takes place. How close is the player to the NHL? What does he still need to work on at the American Hockey League-level before he makes that full-time jump?

Once the third development camp wraps up, the clock starts ticking on when a player can contribute for the NHL team.

For Brisson, the time is drawing near.

“That’s part of my job. This year it’s Briss, it’s (defenseman Lukas) Cormier, it’s (defenseman Daniil) Chayka, those guys, this is it for them,” said Wil Nichol, director of player development for the Golden Knights. “They were also those first-year guys who were a little extra nervous and maybe a little shy at first. We want to make them feel comfortable, and it’s good for their development to lead.”

Brisson got off to a slow start in his first full year of professional hockey. He had just 13 points in his first 27 games with the Silver Knights, who as a team started off near the bottom of the league standings. Playing on different lines on almost a nightly basis, Brisson finished strong with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in his final 31 games.

That finish helped Brisson realize the different intricacies in how to get better every day.

“Now I kind of know what it takes and what to expect,” Brisson said, noting his mindset changed during that period. “Pro hockey is a lot different than when I was at Michigan and before that.”

Before the Golden Knights drafted Swedish center David Edstrom 32nd overall in last week’s NHL Draft, Brisson was the last remaining of Vegas’ first-round picks. The four before him — Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom and Peyton Krebs — were all traded.

Brisson was part of the Black Aces — the group of players called up to NHL rosters during the playoffs in the event of injury — when the Golden Knights went on their Stanley Cup run. The experience motivated him to want to play full-time with a championship team. It also helped give him an idea of the intensity of playoff hockey and the importance of every play.

“Seeing them celebrate makes me want to hold the Cup even more,” Brisson said. “I think it was great for my development.”

But this time of year, and training camp in September, will be a reminder of where the Golden Knights are at with their prospects. Brisson, because of his status as a first-round pick, will be the one with the magnifying glass on him this fall.

The decision for the Golden Knights to move on from Reilly Smith — freeing up his $5 million cap hit to re-sign Ivan Barbashev to a five-year contract at the same average annual value — creates competition for the second-line left-winger position, which Brisson could land.

There are young players ahead of him. Pavel Dorofeyev made an impact with seven goals in 10 games as a late-season call-up. The 22-year-old Russian forward skated with William Karlsson on that line, which enjoyed good chemistry.

Then there’s Paul Cotter, who played in 55 games and scored 13 goals in his rookie year last season. The 6-foot-2 forward, who will turn 24 in November, showed promise at times. He will be in line to compete for the open spot, as well.

The good news for Brisson is that if he doesn’t make the NHL roster out of camp, it won’t be an indictment on him. The Golden Knights’ depth will dictate how the roster takes form before the season opens Oct. 10. Of the 12 players who scored double digits in points during the playoffs, 10 were forwards.

Eyes will be on the former Wolverine, whether he makes a last-minute case as a Golden Knight or as a top-line forward in Henderson under new coach Ryan Craig.

“If I do start off (in Henderson), it’s going to be a good place to be with him behind the bench,” Brisson said.

Danny Webster can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Danny on Twitter at

Article written by #LasVegasSun