It’s doubtful that there are Vegas odds on non-drafted players getting invited to an NHL camp, then signing a three-year entry-level contract before the preseason is over.
But if there were, you’d be rolling in dough if you had bet on Tri-City Americans defenseman Dylan Coghlan signing with the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Coghlan signed with the NHL expansion team Wednesday night, bringing the number of Tri-City players signing pro contracts this year to three — Michael Rasmussen (Detroit) and Juuso Välimäki (Calgary) signed earlier this summer.
“This is a dream come true,” Coghlan said Thursday after the Golden Knights’ practice. “We had kind of talked about it, so when they called me in, I had an idea. It’s exciting. They told me I had a good development camp and training camp. I think I did a good job. There are things I need to work on.”
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Coghlan, 19, who was passed over in June’s NHL Draft, got an invite from the Golden Knights for development camp, and his performance got him an invite back for rookie and training camps.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound native of Nanaimo, British Columbia, had a shiny résumé to offer. He scored 15 goals with 38 assists in 71 games last year, and had a plus-17 rating.
While the Golden Knights left Thursday for a game Friday in San Jose, he remained in Las Vegas. He played in two rookie scrimmages against the L.A. Kings, and is uncertain about getting ice time in a preseason game.
“It’s a bit of mixed emotions,” he said. “It has been amazing to practice with these pro guys. It has been unreal so far. And the coaching staff is amazing.”
Among the players at Las Vegas’ camp is former Tri-City defenseman Clayton Stoner (2002-05), who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in June’s NHL expansion draft.
“I was paired with him for practice today,” Stoner wrote in a Facebook message Wednesday night. “He’s a good player. He grew up on Vancouver Island in a small town (Port Hardy) not too far from me (Port McNeill). I looked up his stats online and saw we also have the same birthday (Feb. 19).”
Coghlan said he appreciated Stoner, 32, reaching out to him.
“He is a really good guy to play with,” Coghlan said. “When I was younger, we lived in Port Hardy. The teams we played on when we were like 9 years old (albeit 13 years apart) are like tiny rivals. Not a lot of kids come out of that town (Port McNeill).”