When Dylan Coghlan went undrafted, it seemed that he wasn't high on the radar of the 30 teams in the NHL.
Then came the 31st team - the Vegas Golden Knights.
As Vegas joined the fold in the NHL, Coghlan burst onto the scene with the Western Hockey League's Tri-City Americans. On Sept. 20, 2017, Coghlan signed a three-year entry level contract with the Golden Knights and spent the first of those three seasons lighting up the WHL.
He attended Golden Knights development camp in 2017 and said he was happy to see familiar faces when he returned for the 2018 camp last June.
"It's nice to be with the same guys again," Coghlan said. "I was at Detroit's camp one year, now I'm at my second camp here."
Players come from all walks of their young hockey lives to skate at Golden Knights development camp and they all bring a little bit of their junior or college team with them. The mix of players from various leagues creates a hybrid style of play for the week that these prospects are together on the ice. Being exposed to other ways to play and think about the game was something that Coghlan thought was beneficial to himself and the other players at camp.
"We're all kind of similar players, but different leagues have different styles of play," he said. "We're all here for a purpose and that's to hopefully play here one day."
Getting comfortable in a situation is something that allows Coghlan to thrive on the ice. It took him a year to get his legs under him with Tri-City, but once he found his comfort level, his point production took off.
In his first two seasons with the Americans, Coghlan registered 29 points in 125 games. In his third season, his production skyrocketed as he buried 15 goals and chipped in 38 assists for 53 points in 71 games. Last season, he was almost a point-per-game player as he collected 63 points in 69 games.
While he's proved himself as a dynamic offensive defenseman, Coghlan knows that transitioning from being a junior hockey player to a being professional will take a lot of attention to detail.
"It's about the little things, especially in practice," Coghlan said. "Like with passing the puck-if you mess up a pass, just redo it."
Now, Coghlan looks to find his niche in the Golden Knights organization. The buzz surrounding the team at development camp was just a taste of the love for hockey in Vegas and, even in a smaller setting, Coghlan was impressed with the support shown by the Golden Knights faithful at City National Arena.
"I've never had a practice where the stands are almost full," Coghlan said. "It's nice to hear them cheering us on in practice, it's obviously a great hockey city."
As he gets ready for training camp in September, Coghlan is hoping for another smooth transition that will lead to a full-time spot on the Golden Knights defense. Based on his 2017-18 season in Tri-City and his showing at development camp, he has reason to enter the 2018-19 season with confidence.