**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**
As the games in the regular season schedule dwindle to a precious few, we need to look ahead to the playoffs and how the Golden Knights stack up.
As of this morning, the Knights are still chasing Colorado for the top spot in the West Division. Can they overtake the Avalanche? There’s two games remaining vs. the Avs, both at the Fortress, so a sweep of the pair would certainly help Vegas’ chances.
But if the Knights finish second, it likely means a date with Minnesota in the first round and we all know the challenges that lie within playing the Wild. And even if the Knights overtake Colorado and win the division, it probably means playing an improved St. Louis team which would not be an easy out.
So, what does a playoff roster look like?
Assuming everyone stays healthy, the lineup is pretty much set:
You could see Roy move up to the third line and Nosek return to center the fourth line. But otherwise, that’s what we can likely expect Pete DeBoer to do with his lineup. However, there’s a wild card in all of this.
The Knights believe they have some offense stashed away in the event things go cold as they did in the Edmonton bubble last summer, someone who could generate chances and put the puck in the net, or, at the very least, set up his teammates for success.
I’m referring to Peyton Krebs.
A couple of weeks ago in this space, as we were discussing possible trades, I said the team may look from within to bolster their scoring in the playoffs. I referred to Krebs as that someone.
Monday, after the NHL trade deadline passed, Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talked about how the team was only able to do so much to improve and said he and management had faith in the roster as it was currently constructed.
I asked GMKM specifically about Krebs being part of the equation.
It’s completely a possibility that he could be a factor for our team in the playoffs. -McCrimmon
The 20-year-old Krebs is currently wrapping up his junior season with the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL. He is the league’s leading scorer in the Regina, Saskatchewan bubble with 30 points (9 goals and 21 assists). Prior to going back to juniors, Krebs was performing well with the Silver Knights in the AHL. In five games with HSK, Krebs was a point-a-game producer (1G, 4A).
Before he left to go to Winnipeg, I felt he was a really important player on HSK. We really liked his game and the coaches were extremely happy with his play there. -McCrimmon
Winnipeg’s regular season concludes April 27. It has six games remaining, beginning today. The announcement this week that the Memorial Cup, Canada’s junior championship, would not be contested, helps expedite Krebs’ return to Vegas/Henderson. The plan is for Krebs to go to Henderson, get his pro legs back under him, then in all likelihood be ready to help the Golden Knights when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in mid-to-late May. The playoffs may be delayed as the regular season appears to be getting extended a couple of weeks to allow teams such as Vancouver, Dallas and Tampa to catch up and finish their year.
The Silver Knights’ regular season concludes May 16. Krebs will likely play in five or six games of the final portion of the schedule and if all goes well and he’s healthy, he’d likely be called up to Vegas as a Black Ace, practicing with the team every day and being available to be in the lineup if needed. He might even get an earlier call-up and get his NHL baptism in the final game vs. San Jose May 10.
Let’s remember something about Krebs. The Knights took him at No. 17 in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft after his Achilles tendon injury saw him drop from being a Top 10 selection. Under normal circumstances, he would have been long gone by the time the Knights were on the clock.
At the time, the Knights were able to be patient and let Krebs heal up, fill out physically and regain his hockey bearings.
At 20 years old, Krebs is still maturing (he’s 6-feet, 187 pounds) and he would be in a supporting role with the Golden Knights, thus not putting a lot of pressure on him to produce. I would expect we’ll see him in a VGK sweater during the playoffs.
Remember, a lot can happen between now and when the playoffs begin — injuries, suspensions, illnesses (i.e. positive COVID-19 tests). So it’s nice when you have an insurance policy in your back pocket. And that’s what Krebs is — insurance — minus the obnoxious commercials (name your company).
**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**