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.
At No. 19 on our Top 25 Under 25 list is defenseman Layton Ahac. Vegas took Ahac in the third round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft after an impressive season that saw him put up a points-per-game pace higher than 0.5 in the British Columbia Hockey League, a second-tier Canadian junior league.
No. 19: Layton Ahac
Age: 18 (Feb. 22, 2001)
Size: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds
Before being drafted by the Golden Knights (No. 86 overall), Ahac put up four goals and 32 points in 53 regular season games. That was tied for 16th in the BCHL among defensemen and was third among defensemen under the age of 18. In the playoffs, Ahac improved by leaps and bounds, posting 5-12—17 in 17 games, good for ninth in the entire BCHL (second among players under 18).
All four of Ahac’s goals in the regular season came at even strength, but he contributed eight assists on the power play and one assist while shorthanded. He had two power-play goals in the postseason.
Some of Ahac’s lack of production in the regular season was partially due to luck. His offensive numbers could see a spike in a better situation at Ohio State, where he’ll be playing the next few years.
Ahac helped his team, the Prince George Spruce Kings, win the BCHL championship this past season and was a second-team all-star in the league.
GAME 3 HIGHLIGHTS— Spruce Kings (@SpruceKings) March 5, 2019
Layton Ahac one-timer makes it 4-2 pic.twitter.com/hp7QCgjFkg
Ahac will be a longer-term project for the Golden Knights. He still needs work on his skating, as it’s not quite up to par with the rest of his game. He’ll have time to work through it in the NCAA, however, which seems to be a league the Golden Knights trust to develop defensemen considering Vegas has signed a free agent from the NCAA ranks in every year of its (playing) existence.
It would also be nice to see Ahac improve his production at a higher level of competition while playing with better teammates.
There’s plenty of time for Ahac to do both things, as the Golden Knights have young defensemen further along in the pipeline, such as Shea Theodore, Nicolas Hague and Dylan Coghlan. But Ahac impressed at development camp, and if he continues to do that in the NCAA, the Golden Knights should have no problem finding a role for him.
Previously in Vegas Golden Knights Preseason 2019 Top 25 Under 25: