They say that your reaction when facing adversity is what shapes your outcome - Dylan Coghlan would probably agree with that general idea. The Golden Knights defensive prospect has come from a different path than most others around him.
Born in Duncan, British Columbia, the blueliner played his junior hockey in the states with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. He played a total of four seasons during his tenure with the Americans, often playing against fellow Vegas prospects such as Cody Glass and Dylan Ferguson.
After two productive seasons in Washington with Tri-City, Coghlan was 18 years old and saw the 2016 NHL Entry Draft as a possibility, although never heard his name called. The defenseman went undrafted and earned an invite to the Detroit Red Wings summer development camp.
Coghlan returned to Tri-City for the 2016-17 season with a new motivation, and had his best season yet in juniors collecting 53 points (15 G, 38 A) in 71 games. Once again, he looked forward to the draft, but went undrafted for the second straight summer.
The story gets better for Coghlan, as he received another development camp invite - this time by Vegas in its inaugural season, later earning himself an invite for rookie camp in September. Coghlan finally saw his work pay off as he would go on to be the only free agent in camp to earn an entry level contract with Vegas.
With a new bode of confidence, the 6-2 defenseman returned to his junior team for a fourth and final season. The Vegas signee led all defenseman on his team with 63 points (17 G, 46 A) across 69 games during the 2017-18 season. His production in the WHL translated to the professional level in Chicago, as he put up 40 points (15 G, 25 A) during the Wolves 2018-19 run into the playoffs.
"We had a really close group, I told all these guys that I've never been part of a team like that," said Coghlan in June during his fourth development camp. "The older guys made us feel at home and part of the team right away. I wouldn't change anything."
Coghlan will return to Vegas for rookie camp again next month, looking to continue to play with a chip on his shoulder.