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Golden Knights Staff's Diverse Experience Brings Dev Camp Connections

Several players who have been invited to camp have connections to the Golden Knights staff

by Cutler Klein @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

While building a robust and experienced hockey operations staff, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has pulled the best hockey people from all across the tight-knit hockey community.

In turn, that diverse staff has helped to bring in players from their past hockey jobs to the team's inaugural Development Camp.

Many players that took the ice at development camp have some connection to a member of the Golden Knights' hockey operations and scouting staffs. The most notable example is assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who had served as majority owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings since 1988. Three current or former Wheat Kings have taken the ice at development camp: forward Reid Duke, goalie Logan Thompson and defenseman Dmitry Osipov.

While Osipov did not know the assistant general manager while he was in Brandon, having joined the team after McCrimmon's departure, he got a taste of why so many in Brandon sang his praises. 

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"I talked to him for quite a while and I really like his way, how he talks to you, how he respects you," Osipov said. "He's a really good guy."

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McPhee himself also has a past connection to players on the ice. Defenseman Michael Kim plays hockey at Boston College with McPhee's son, Graham. While Kim was formally invited to the camp by director of player development Wil Nichol, he said he got the chance to talk with McPhee on his many visits to see Graham play throughout Boston College's season.

Invitee Nikolas Brouillard also has a number of connections to the Golden Knights. He and scout Raphael Pouiliot were born just four years apart in the town of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, a town of about 53,000 people along the Yamaska River.

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Additionally, Pouilot was the head scout for the QMJHL's Rouyn-Noranda Huskies where Brouillard played in 2015-16.

 

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With Pouilot scouting and Brouillard playing, the Huskies went on to win the QMJHL title and falling one goal short of the Memorial Cup, losing in overtime in the championship game to the London Knights.

Brouillard went on from Rouyn-Noranda to join the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears, and eventually earned a spot with the AHL's Toronto Marlies. At the end of the 2016-17 season with the Marlies, he got to meet future Golden Knights Expansion Draft selection Brendan Leipsic.

The two of them were nursing injuries at the end of the season, so they got to spend some quality time working out together to try and get back on the ice.

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"Obviously, he's a really good player, amazing skills and he's a great guy," Brouillard said of Leipsic.

Not every player has a connection to the Golden Knights' staff quite yet, but with the amount of exposure these guys are getting at development camp, it's only a matter of time.

"It's a small community in the hockey world, so usually one person knows another," said defenseman Grant Hutton, who said he does not have a unique connection to any member of the staff. "But, yeah, the hockey community is tight and you try and develop the best relationships that you can and they help down the road." 

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