From the WHL to NHL, Tri-City Americans alum and now Vegas Golden Knight defenseman Dylan Coghlan's journey hasn't been easy.

"It's not the way I imagined it," said NHL Vegas defenseman Dylan Coghlan. "It's been a lot of hard work and a lot of proving people wrong."

Coghlan now plays with a chip on his shoulder. The 6-2 23 year old defenseman scored a hat trick on March 10th with the Golden Knights. While that was his first, second, and third NHL goal, scoring is nothing new for the Duncan, BC native.

"That was what happened on the third goal," reminisced Coghlan. "I kind of blacked out and just shot it as hard as I could. My shot is definitely my stronger suit."

During his 19 year old season with the Tri-City Americans, Coghlan netted the most goals of all the D-men, and accumulated 145 regular season points during his four seasons with the Ams.

"Pretty proud moment for him and obviously for us too," said Ams General Manager Bob Tory. "We have a lot of memories. He always had that big shot from the blue line."

Despite putting up points, his stats didn't translate into success of playing at the next level.

"I got passed over in the draft," said Coghlan, "and people tell me that I don't have what it takes."

He got passed over three times before Vegas took a chance on him. Coghlan signed as a free agent 2017, spent two seasons playing with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, and not got his call up to the NHL.

"It never affected him," said Tory of Coghlan's resilience. "He continued to work hard and continue to come to the rink with a smile on his face. He was focused on becoming a pro hockey player and the disappointment of not getting drafted didn't change his focus."

The Americans started a 24 game schedule earlier this month as many younger players look at Coghlan's story, having their own aspirations of playing at the next level.