Knights On Ice’s 2019-20 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. Six Knights On Ice writers created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that forms the final ballot.
The next highlighted player in the Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series is winger Jack Dugan, who comes in at No. 21 on the list. Dugan was selected in the fifth round (No. 142 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Though he was a late-round pick in a draft otherwise highlighted by Vegas’ early selections (i.e., Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, etc.), Dugan came into the organization with potential sleeper status and remains an intriguing prospect with tremendous upside.
No. 21: Jack Dugan
Age: 21 (March 24, 1998)
Size: 6-foot-2, 194 pounds
Dugan’s career has followed an unusual trajectory, making him a bit of a late bloomer.
He spent an extra year at McQuaid Jesuit High, leading them to a Division I state championship in 2014-15 while also playing for the USPHL 16U Rochester Monarchs that year, scoring a combined 132 points in 58 games.
He was passed over in his original draft-eligible year but responded with a league-leading 80-point campaign in his second season with Northwood prep school (USHS-Prep), scoring 28 goals and 52 assists in just 47 games. Scouts took notice, which resulted in Dugan becoming the ninth player drafted into the Knights’ organization.
Despite committing to Providence College, Dugan then spent the following year working on his academics while playing for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.
He made the most of that season, however, finishing third in league scoring with 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists) in 54 games before adding two goals and eight points in seven playoff games.
He followed that up by helping Team USA win silver in the World Junior A Challenge, scoring three goals and four points in five games, including this beauty.
Vegas Golden Knight Prospect Jack Dugan highlight reel goal pic.twitter.com/gz6TGL10YN— Brent Betts (@BrentBetts3) July 7, 2018
Fast-forward to today and it appears as though the unconventional path has paid off.
That’s because Dugan, now 21, is coming off a stellar freshman campaign at Providence, where he tallied 10 goals and 39 points in 41 games. That was good for second overall in the league among freshman and second on his team, which he helped lead to a Frozen Four appearance.
Additionally, Dugan recorded a point in 25 games, which also led all NCAA freshmen (as did his 29 assists). He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Month twice (October, November) and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
The native of Rochester, New York, who models his game after Jamie Benn, has made a point of working hard in the gym since being drafted, adding nearly 10 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame.
Despite his physical growth, his skating has not missed a beat, and his playmaking ability and puck skills continue to stand out. Plus, his aggressive play allows him to make good use of his size. Putting it all together, Dugan was one of the most dominant and noticeable players in this year’s development camp, his third with the Knights.
One relative knock on Dugan’s game is his finishing ability, though it’s not a significant concern given his talent and knack for scoring big goals.
Despite his solid overall production, he finished ninth on Providence in shots (74) while maintaining the fifth-best shooting percentage (13.5), which could indicate a hesitancy to shoot. But considering he averaged more than three shots per game in the USHL, last year’s average of 1.8 could be an anomaly. It’s also possible he’ll be more aggressive offensively moving forward, especially as he’s set to take on a larger role as a sophomore in 2019-20.
As has been the case throughout his career, there are no plans to rush Dugan’s development, which means he won’t be playing for the Knights any time soon. For now, he’ll focus on continuing to improve his 200-foot game as he works towards bringing an NCAA championship back to Providence.
There’s a lot to be excited about for Dugan’s future as a potential top-nine winger in Vegas, particularly if he continues to pull off this signature move.
Previously in Vegas Golden Knights Preseason 2019 Top 25 Under 25: