The Golden Knights usually would be wrapping up development camp a week after the draft, not catching their breath after a dizzying few days of free agency.
But the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible for the Knights’ top prospects to get together at City National Arena and familiarize themselves with their new organization.
“We wouldn’t want to bring players in off of the teams that they’re playing in for development camp, so unfortunately it is going to be one of the things that goes by the wayside for this particular year,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “It’s a really valuable piece of our business that won’t be possible this year.”
The Knights’ prospect pool looks different from a year ago after graduating Cody Glass, Nic Hague, Nicolas Roy and Zach Whitecloud, though the latter maintains rookie status.
Here is a look at the top 10 prospects in the Knights’ system:
1. Peyton Krebs — The center/left wing earned his way onto the expanded roster for the postseason and impressed the coaching staff during his time in the bubble. He still needs to get stronger but will have a chance to make the team out of training camp.
2. Lucas Elvenes — He led the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League in scoring with 48 points in 59 games during his first pro season in North America. Elvenes turned 21 in August, and the winger projects to take another step forward offensively.
3. Jack Dugan — The NCAA’s leading scorer as a sophomore turned pro this summer and will get a long look during his first training camp to see if he’s NHL ready. Dugan, 22, has good size at 6 feet, 2 inches, and 185 pounds and drives offense from the right wing.
4. Brendan Brisson — The Knights’ first-round pick in 2020 is a slick playmaker who will continue to work on his skating at Michigan. Brisson is on a longer development path and expected to play at least three seasons in college, but projects as a point-producing forward.
5. Kaedan Korczak — The defenseman was a second-round pick (No. 41 overall) in 2019 and posted 11 goals and 49 points in 60 games in juniors with Kelowna of the Western Hockey League. He is a candidate to play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
6. Ivan Morozov — The 2018 second-round selection (No. 61 overall) is emerging as a regular for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League. Morozov, 20, projects as a two-way center and should slot into the Knights’ lineup once he signs. His contract in Russia ends in 2022.
7. Dylan Coghlan — He is one of the few right-shot defensemen in the system and moved up the organization’s depth chart when Deryk Engelland was not re-signed. Coghlan had 11 goals and 24 points for Chicago (AHL) and made the Knights’ postseason roster.
8. Peter DiLiberatore — A sixth-round pick (No. 180 overall) in 2018, he continues to climb the organization’s rankings at left defense thanks to his puck-moving skills. DiLiberatore (6-0, 175) returned to Quinnipiac for his junior season to add more strength.
9. Pavel Dorofeyev — The Russian winger showed promise last season in the KHL but has yet to click with his new club after he was involved in a blockbuster trade to Traktor Chelyabinsk this summer. Dorofeyev has elite hands, but has only shown glimpses of his talent.
10. Lukas Cormier — An offensive-minded left defenseman who was selected in the third round (No. 68 overall) last week. Cormier is undersized at 5-10, 180, but has produced eight points in four games for Charlottetown of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Note: Rookie status means a player “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.” Players who have exceeded rookie status are no longer considered prospects.