The Golden Knights on Monday announced the 44-man roster for their first development camp which will be held at the Las Vegas Ice Center. The camp runs Tuesday through Saturday and all sessions are free and open to the public, though space is limited.
The first four picks from last weekend’s entry draft will participate: center Cody Glass, the team’s top pick at No. 6 overall, center Nick Suzuki and defensemen Erik Brannstrom and Nicolas Hague. Forward Alex Tuch, who was acquired from Minnesota, will be there. So will Keegan Kolesar, the forward the team acquired in a trade from Columbus.
Also expected to participate are center Reid Duke, the team’s first-ever signee back in March, forward Tomas Hyka, who the team signed June 1, and defenseman Jake Bischoff, who the Knights acquired from the New York Islanders.
One player who will not be there is Vadim Shipachyov. The free agent center from Russia was not required to attend.
“A lot of these kids have not been on the ice in quite a while,” said Wil Nichol, the team’s director of player development. “We understand that. But it still gives us a chance to evaluate them on the ice and educate them off the ice.”
The camp is exactly what it says — development. That includes forming good habits away from the rink and taking care of one’s body. It also is the first opportunity for the organization to explain its philosophy to the players and how things are going to be run.
“It’s important these players get an education on what it means to be a Vegas Golden Knight,” Nichol said. “We’re going to talk to them about how to train, how to eat and rest properly, how to act in the community. It’s more than just how they perform on the ice.”
Head coach Gerard Gallant will be on the ice with the players, along with assistants Mike Kelly and Ryan Craig. So will Rocky Thompson, who will be the head coach of the Knights’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Several of the players from development camp figure to be wearing Wolves uniforms come October.
“We want to show them what it’s like at this level, what it’s like to be professional and see what our organization is about and we we expect from them,” Gallant said.
There are 44 players to track, but Gallant said no one will fly under the radar this week.
“I’m as anxious as anyone to see what these kids can do,” Gallant said. “We’ll pay attention to all the kids. We’ll keep an open mind and treat them all the same. This week is all about the development of their skills.”
Nichol said: “It’s not our first rodeo, but it is our first rodeo here.”
Contact Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.