The turning of the calendar from Sept. 4 to Sept. 5 holds little significance to most but, for the Vegas Golden Knights, the new day is the first day of the 2019-20 season as the team's young players reported for Rookie Camp presented by NextGen.
General Manager Kelly McCrimmon addressed the media as camp opened to provide updates and thoughts as the team prepares for the Anaheim Rookie Faceoff from Sept. 7-10.
"[The tournament] provides a lot of value to the organization in terms of our ability to evaluate the players in that setting," McCrimmon said. "For the first time, we feel really confident that there will be players who play this weekend that will play on our team this year."
McCrimmon confirmed that defenseman Jimmy Schuldt will play for Vegas during the rookie tournament after signing a one-year deal Thursday. Schuldt will join a talented group of players which includes Golden Knights draft picks, signees and free agents hoping to make a positive impression on the organization during camp. McCrimmon said that Schuldt's presence at camp this year will give the 24-year-old defenseman his first true taste of an NHL season.
"We have really high hopes for Jimmy right now and for where his game can go to," McCrimmon said. "His maturity and his poise will really serve him well as he makes this transition."
While Schuldt has some familiarity with the organization as he enters his first pro training camp, forward Cody Glass said he's picked up tricks from his two previous Golden Knights training camps that have prepared him for a pivotal 2019 camp.
"I've gained a lot of good experience through our AHL playoff run and things like that," Glass said. "I know what to expect going into the higher level."
Though Glass was a key part of the Chicago Wolves' trip to the Calder Cup Finals in 2019, his goal for himself this season is bigger than the AHL.
"Now I have the mindset of 'I'm a pro and I'm trying to stay with the big team,'" Glass said.
As Glass and the rest of the rookies prepare to head to Anaheim on Friday, McCrimmon is excited to see how the younger members of the organization handle themselves against the top prospects from five other NHL clubs.
"What I like most about the rookie tournament format is that it's players against their peers," McCrimmon said. "You see who a player is, what their strengths are now and what their strengths will be as they continue to mature and develop."