Vegas Golden Knights: Dugan signs to add to abundance of forward riches

Another potent offensive weapon has been locked up by the Vegas Golden Knights after Jack Dugan signed with the organization.

Finally committing his future to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Jack Dugan era in Sin City can now officially get underway.

It was announced on Monday that Dugan had agreed to join the Golden Knights after coming to terms on a contract, although the prospect hasn’t officially signed with the franchise yet.

That boils down to the fact that the future of the 2019-20 NHL regular season is still very much in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the final terms of the contract will still need to be thrashed out.

But, according to Jesse Granger of The Athletic, the deal is a two-year contract which means that it would run through the 2021-22 season should Dugan begin his NHL career in 2020-21 as expected.

The forward would then become a Restricted Free Agent with arbitration rights, so Vegas would retain full control of their asset.

In normal circumstances, Dugan would be able to play for the Golden Knights immediately and potentially be an extra weapon in the postseason, as stud defenseman Cale Makar did for the Colorado Avalanche last year.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL made it clear in the wake of sports going on lockdown that no contracts for Draft Picks or free agents from the College and European pool could be signed and then play this season.

Those are the nuts and bolts of the deal and all the kinks will be ironed out eventually, but what does this mean for the Golden Knights?

Well, for starters, Vegas will be gaining a forward with a high ceiling and plenty of potential to be tapped into.

The 142nd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Golden Knights, Dugan exploded in 2019-20 and carved out a hell of a stellar season.

He went on a tear for Providence in the NCAA and led the entire Nation in scoring with 10 goals and 42 assists for 52 points in 34 games.

Dugan also led the NCAA in power play points (22), even-strength points (30), assists per game (1.24) and points per game (1.53), while he was the star of the Fortress Invitational at T-Mobile Arena earlier this year, netting the shootout winner to propel Providence to glory over Cornell.

Perhaps a sign of things to come?

As a result of his stunning sophomore year, Dugan was not only named a First-Team All-American, but he was also a finalist for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, given to the most outstanding player in collegiate hockey.

With a sturdy 6’2″ and 185 lbs frame, coupled with elite skills and vision, Dugan has vaulted to the top of the Golden Knights’ prospect chart and is set for a bright future in the NHL.

A two-way forward who can do everything and who also possesses skills that just can’t be taught, Dugan conquered the college scene and he’s now ready to make the leap to the National Hockey League.

With filling out the roster going to be a challenge in 2020-21 due to the salary cap likely being frozen at $81.5 million, Dugan will have the chance to battle and compete for a bottom-six role with the Golden Knights.

Plus, with the maximum entry-level deal worth $925,000 AAV, whatever the exact terms of Dugan’s deal, the forward will be a cost-effective weapon for the Golden Knights to be able to slot into their lineup.

It is no secret that the Knights failed to generate a ton of secondary scoring in 2019-20, particularly from the third-line, so Dugan could slot in on the left wing and add a real offensive punch to that bottom six unit.

Having the body to bully defensemen in the college game, creating dangerous passing lanes as a result, Dugan certainly has the frame to withstand whatever the NHL has to throw at him, and he’s got the time now to add more muscle.

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Boasting all the tools to suggest he could one day morph into a second or top-line scoring threat for the Golden Knights, Dugan looks primed to make an immediate impact with this franchise as a potent bottom-six forward.

While he won’t get the chance to strut his stuff this year, even if hockey does return, 2020-21 could be the year that Jack Dugan really announces his arrival to the rest of the hockey world.