A little over a month ago, I made the case that Vegas Golden Knights prospect Jack Dugan was NHL-ready, and would be a part of the squad for the 2020-21 season. Last week, Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon announced that the forward out of Providence College has agreed to join the Golden Knights organization.
We are pleased to have the opportunity to continue to play a key role in the development of Jack Dugan as both a hockey player and as a young man within our organization… Jack took significant steps in his growth over the past two seasons as one of the best all-around players in college hockey, and has proven that he is ready for the next challenge in his young career.Knights’ GM Kelly McCrimmon via NHL.com
Although Dugan has not yet officially signed the deal, Jesse Granger of The Athletic reports that the sides have agreed on a two-year entry-level contract beginning with the 2020-21 season (from ‘When will Jack Dugan play for the Golden Knights?,’ The Athletic, 05/11/2020).
The NHL has instructed teams not to sign college or European players for the 2019-20 season until it is clear when play will resume. For that reason, it is unlikely that Dugan will sign his deal to begin this season, should play resume in some capacity. It is plausible that the team simply wants to wait until a concrete plan for the remainder of the 2019-20 season is in place before making anything official.
Dugan Ready to Take the Next Step
In December, the sophomore forward told the Knights that he wanted to be the best player in the NCAA.
I told (the Golden Knights) that my goals this season were to dominate and be the best player in college hockey. I want to be a pro-ready player. I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure of that.Jack Dugan (from ‘Prospect Jack Dugan could be a Hobey Baker Award winner — and a Golden Knight — by season’s end‘ – The Athletic, 12/14/2019)
It would seem Dugan has accomplished that goal. He was the NCAA’s leading scorer in his sophomore season with 52 points (10 goals, 42 assists) in 34 games played, was voted a Top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, and was named a first-team All-American.
With the max average annual value for an entry-level contract set at $925,000, the Knights will be getting a strong forward at a good price. This is music to McCrimmons’s ears heading into an important offseason with limited cap space. Dugan provides speed and playmaking ability that should fit well into a bottom-six role, which is a spot in the lineup that has been lacking for the Golden Knights.
Dugan was also tied for the NCAA lead with 22 power-play points. He will be a viable option on the second power-play unit for Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer. At 6-foot-2, 194 pounds, the 22-year-old has the capability to be a physical net-front presence as well as a deadly playmaker on the PP.
If the puck’s not going in the net or I’m not able to hit the tape on some of these passes, then I definitely know I’ll be able to lay some hits and get physical in front of the net with some guys, maybe get under some guys’ skin.Jack Dugan (from ‘Jack Dugan ready for challenge with Golden Knights,’ Las Vegas Review-Journal, 05/12/2020)
Jack Dugan is a strong offensive talent with great potential. He also brings a high energy level on the ice, with speed and vision that give him the ability to change a game at any time. It will be exciting to see how he progresses through the beginning of his professional career. Do not be surprised if you see Dugan in a Golden Knights sweater at the beginning of next season.
Golden Knights contributor and lifelong hockey fan from Connecticut. Also an NHL researcher for NBC Sports.