The Vegas Golden Knights already have a roster full of defensemen, including six NHL players already under contract with another four defensemen in Nicolas Hague, Jimmy Schuldt, Dylan Coughlan and Jake Bischoff all waiting to get their chance to break out with the franchise.
That leaves a big question question mark for soon-to-be UFA and team leader Deryk Engelland. SinBin Vegas’ Ken Boehlke suggests that the writing is on the wall that the veteran defenseman’s time with the team could be over soon. The scribe points out that Engelland hasn’t been a favorite of new head coach Peter DeBoer since he took over on Jan. 16. He has only played in five games under the new coach and was scratched in the team’s last 12 games and 17 of the team’s previous 18 games.
DeBoer did recently praise Engelland’s dedication to the team:
To a man they all want to win the Stanley Cup, that’s their number one motivation,” said DeBoer. “They are willing to do whatever they have to do to be a part of it. I look at Deryk Engelland as an example of that. Tough situation, veteran guy, we had to scratch him some games here recently before the pause. The messaging to me was ‘I just want to be a part of this. When you need me, let me know, and I’ll be ready to go.’ You can’t have enough of that and that’s what makes groups like this special.”
However, it’s quite obvious that the team may be looking beyond Engelland in the future despite the veteran’s intent on continuing his playing career. He currently has a goal and six points in 49 games, while averaging his lowest ATOI (17:33) in his time with Vegas. With a number of blueliners waiting for their chance in the AHL, Vegas may have seen the last of him.
- TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that while many teams are against the NHL’s recent memo that is suggesting the league have the NHL Entry Draft in June, the Vancouver Canucks are a team that is likely going to be in favor of the deal. The Canucks traded their first-round pick last offseason to Tampa Bay (now owned by New Jersey) and would rather give the Devils a non-lottery pick this year, rather than an unprotected one for the 2021 draft. The Canucks are currently in the playoffs as of this moment. However, if play does resume with a October/November draft, the Canucks could slip out of the playoffs and be forced to move a lottery pick then.
- Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that while there is a lot of talk of the St. Louis Blues buying out veteran forward Alex Steen in the offseason next year in order to make room for UFA Alex Pietrangelo, the scribe believes that’s an unlikely scenario. The scribe says it’s more likely that Steen, one of the most popular players on the team and a leader as well, is more likely to retire at the end of this season. That could solve a tough issue of being forced to buy him out, which the team might hesitate to do after the years of service both on and off the ice.