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Camp Finishes With High Scoring Affair

by Pat Evans @GoldenKnights /

The 2018 Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp was capped off by a thrilling 11-6 Team White win against Team Grey.

Forward Jack Dugan had five points in the game, including four assists. Forward Cody Glass led the teams in goals with a hat trick.

The camp was capped off by a shootout, which was won with a goal by forward Jonas Rondbjerg.

All in all, the week accomplished its job, according to Wil Nichol, the Golden Knights director of player development.

"Development camp is about educating the players," Nichol said. "It's education for them, what it is to be a Golden Knight and for us to evaluate them."

Nichol said he wasn't all that surprised by any one of the returning players.

The staff would expect players like 2017 first round draft picks Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom to do well, along with second rounder and CHL Defenseman of the Year Nicolas Hague.

Some in attendance might have been pleasantly surprised by defenseman Dylan Coghlan's performance throughout the week, but not Nichol.

"Returners are my job, I'm with them all the time," Nichol said. "I see them all year."

Regarding new guys, be it 2018 draft picks or unsigned players, Nichol said those were more of a surprise for him. He said it is tough to judge the recent draft picks as they come from all over the place and at different levels of competition.

"Kruse, I thought he did well, nice job here," Nichol said. "The Cotter kid really popped for me. Not sure they're a surprise, but my eyes were drawn to them."

There were also several unsigned prospects at the camp who will head to college this fall. Nichol said while they were impressed with them and may one day sign them to professional contracts, the Golden Knights respect those colleges' needs.

Nichol said the college players shouldn't have a doubt knowing the Golden Knights are interested and that because he, along with general manager George McPhee and assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon all played college hockey, they understand and like the development at that level.

"We have a lot of respect for those coaches and it's tough on the program to lose a kid at this time of year," he said. "We like to do things the best we can."

There were multiple players Nichol talked about playing well and having plenty of growth curve ahead of them as well.

One player was Brannstrom, the 2017 first round draft pick who played in the top league in Sweden last year. Brannstrom thrilled the crowd late in the third scrimmage, as he skated pass three defensemen with the puck before placing it in the top corner of the net past the goalie.

"I thinky Branny had a great camp," Nichol said. "He's definitely improved. He has some things he can keep working on. That goal was elite."

Another defenseman, Zach Whitecloud, spent last season at Bemidji State before signing with the Golden Knights after the college season.

"Zach had a real good week overall," Nichol said. "He's a sponge, never any worry with his want to get better. He still has quite a curve up."

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