Tyler Wong holds a unique place in Golden Knights lore thanks to his hat trick in the franchise’s first preseason game.
But the diminutive winger is at the team’s development camp this week hoping to show he’s more than just a goal scorer.
”I scored a lot of goals in juniors, and that might not be the way I make it to the NHL,” Wong said. “Whatever spot opens up, you’ve got to be able to fill a role and work your way up.”
Wong came to rookie camp on an American Hockey League contract last season and was one of the early standouts. He bagged three goals and an assist in the Knights’ 9-4 victory over Vancouver in the preseason opener Sept. 17.
But the 5-foot-9-inch Wong was cut a week later and split time last season between Chicago (AHL) and the ECHL learning a new role as a bottom-six forward and penalty killer.
“I think the coaching staff really helped me develop my defensive side of the game,” Wong said. “I really think I rounded out my game. It was a big step forward for me to learn the pro game and to add a couple more clubs to my bag and be able to fit any role an NHL team wants me to play in.”
Wong collected three goals and four assists in 54 games for Chicago and had two points (one goal, one assist) in six appearances with Quad City of the ECHL.
The 22-year-old signed an AHL contract with Chicago on May 31 and is expected to play with the Wolves this season.
Wong skated with Reid Duke and 2017 first-round pick Nick Suzuki in Friday’s scrimmage at City National Arena and scored the first goal in Team Grey’s 5-0 victory over Team White.
“It’s kind of a little bit of a ‘Gong Show’ out there. Everyone is kind of going every which direction,” Wong said. “But it’s always good to make an impression and show people you’re improving, show the staff that you’re committed to getting better for the next season. Obviously it was nice to get the goal, but I’m hoping I’ll save a few of them for the fall.”
Cotter stands out
Paul Cotter normally likes to celebrate after a goal. But the exuberant 18-year-old didn’t want to let loose after scoring twice in Team Grey’s scrimmage victory.
“I kind of had to restrict myself a little bit there, but it’s awesome,” Cotter said. “I can’t hold back a smile for sure. I’m cheesing out there a lot.”
Cotter was a fourth-round pick (No. 115 overall) by the Knights in last weekend’s NHL draft. He will be a freshman at Western Michigan in the fall and has impressed this week at development camp.
“We’re really excited about him,” said Bob Lowes, the Knights’ assistant director of player personnel. “I think he’s played with a lot of confidence. He’s worked very, very hard, and he’s been very noticeable.”
Jordan Kooy (15 saves) and Dylan Ferguson (nine saves) combined on the shutout, and Duke and Matt Baker scored on penalty shots for Team Grey.
The Knights will finish development camp Saturday with a scrimmage at 10:15 a.m. at City National Arena.
The scrimmage is closed to the public and is reserved for a limited number of season-ticket members.
Tyler Wong file
Birthplace: Cochrane, Alberta
Notes: Collected seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 54 games with the Chicago Wolves during the 2017-18 season and also had two points with the Quad City Mallards in six games.