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Pothier: It’s Time To Let Engelland Be

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Some appreciate his play, most don’t, but there’s no question he’s beloved by the fanbase.

That’s Deryk Engelland.

When a bad play leads to a goal some fans are quick to point out the last guy defending the puck. Which at times, happens to be Engelland. However, it can take a series of events why a team gave up a goal. We can’t always blame the guy that made the initial turnover or the last line defense. It is a team sport after all.

Believe it or not, Engelland has proven to be a valuable asset to the Golden Knights organization. And in many ways. We all know his community impact, leadership skills, and that he’s an overall good dude.

But there’s more. Engelland helped one of the Golden Knights core players, Shea Theodore grow, and is in the process of breaking in two and possibly more defensive prospects this season. Consider Engelland as a defensive coach on the ice, or training wheels. And he’s only charging the league minimum.

First of all, we like to try to put experience with a little bit of inexperience. Just to give them a little bit of a safety valve. -Ryan McGill

His minutes have dipped, but so did his salary. Relative to his contract, he’s expected to play a third-pair role, protected by high offensive zone starts, and busting ass on the penalty kill. That’s the job description for most team’s 5th-7th defenseman. Not many have the extra skills to be an on-ice prospect developer.

Look around the league, only a few franchises carry a 37-year-old defenseman making the league minimum playing full time. To prove how valuable Engelland is, just watch Theodore on the ice without his training wheels.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

To the Engelland doubters screaming to bench him, this won’t change your mind. There’s a good chance you find it to be a sappy excuse for his miscues. I see it much more simply. Engelland is an aging defenseman that will make occasional mistakes, but he’s paid that way. Also, keep in mind, it might be difficult playing with multiple partners. The one thing we can all agree on is Jake Bischoff and Nic Hague have looked okay out there, still growing but overall there are signs of positive adjustment. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Engelland deserves some credit for the youngling’s success.

If something happens on the ice where it didn’t go well for the younger guy, he makes a mistake, he’s going back to the bench with the guy he’s playing with. You like to have someone who is a good person with experience whispering in his ear saying ‘don’t worry about it kid.’ -Mike Kelly

So, the organization knows what he is. Their expectation for Engelland is to be a third-pair defenseman. How do we know? Follow the money, they offered him the league minimum. Add in his coaching/development ability and he’s really a bargain.

Now let me have it Deryk doubters, I’m ready to fend you off like Engelland did to Debrincat last night.

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24 Comments

  1. Andy B

    Also, Agree 100%

    Another great explanation to a sensitive issue.

  2. Janet N.

    I third that 100% agreement!

  3. Jason Lanouette

    I often disagree with Sin Bin. This is spot on. Those that don’t understand won’t understand. He does not have a Ray Bourque skill set, but he never did. Incredible value for The Knights on so many fronts.

  4. Shannon R

    I love Engelland. He fights hard for the team. He may be aging but he’s got a young heart and I think he has leadership qualities. I really hope the organization keeps him in at training position when he retires.

  5. John M

    I agree 100% as well. Yep, he is slower than the cream of the crop forwards attacking him, but, you make an excellent point on watching Theodore when England is on the ice versus off. Shea has the potential to be world class but much of that is thanks to England mentoring him. England’s self sacrifice on the PK is an example to the rest and you can see it every night. Some day England will be In A suit coaching in this league but for now he is right where GMGM and crew need him. Plus, Reaves can’t be the only feared guy on the team. I don’t think I’d want to run into an angry England in a dark alley in spite of his good guy attitude off the ice:)

  6. A Fan

    Agree also.

  7. Eric

    I think he does a solid job every night. The penalty kill has been awesome so far and playing with rookies can’t be easy. He’s a top notch individual as well and we know that’s the kind of player-person the organization wants here.

  8. Cathy McGowen

    Excellent overview of the experience and play Deryk Engelland brings the defensive players in his “overwatch” position. Talented mentor, coach with TOI skills. I’ve a feeling #5 will fill a position with the Vegas Golden Knights organization for a very long time.☘

  9. Mike G

    As long as Brayden McNabb stays in the lineup then Derek Engelland is mandatory to be in the lineup also to kill penalties.

  10. Puckish Drivel

    There is an influence that goes on here in Vegas amongst the media that spreads to the fan base who read them. Fans make sweeping declarations like they’re fact based on something a media member has repeatedly said. Thus is the case with hating on Deryk. Fans just parrot media takes like they are their own observations. Number 5 has been a serviceable player since he has been here and this year is our only right-handed defenseman. He is not paid to be a point producer or minutes eater. Engo is a perfectly legitimate place-holder on the ice until the kids are ready. When the puck finds his stick on the PK it is about to find its way safely behind the opponent’s net. As a 37 year-old, you get a pretty consistent game every time out and a very dependable penalty killer.

  11. JH

    I’m ok with Englland’s role with the team. The same can’t be said for Subban. They should have packaged him with Gusev and shipped him to the Devils.

  12. Brian

    I can agree with this if when Schmidt comes back that means Engelland is the 6th/7th defenseman and spends the occasional night in the press box watching one of the youngsters playing. Those guys aren’t going to get any better as the 7th defenseman every night and watching from upstairs. Should also help keep him fresh for the stretch run/playoffs.

  13. Pam Engelland

    This mom thanks you!

    • Brian Brown

      When mom comments, you done hit a nerve…this time it’s a good one. 100% agree. He’s an invaluable coach on the ice and should be there as long as he stays healthy.

    • Mimi B

      Love Deryk and what he brings to the team. Also, for our community. Long may he be with the Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas!

      • Don Moore

        The team should always come first ..All Vgk players do things for the Las Vegas area ..And whether or not they should be Skating for the team should be judged on how they play NEVER on what they do or how long they have been a resident of the City. These guys are Professionals..

  14. Cory C

    i’m glad I haven’t seen the calls for Engelland to be benched, I would have gone crazy. I think Engelland is awesome and just what we need/want on D. Tell me who you would rather have back there?
    Who in this league is better than him that is making the league minimum? So he doesn’t score a ton, his contract allows us to have other players that are scorers that we couldn’t have if we were spending a couple of million a year on another defender.

    How many penalty minutes does he give up? That’s huge for a team and outside of the 10 minutes against SJ the 2nd game (and who doesn’t want him to rough up the Sharks?) he only has 2 other penalties.

    He is averaging just about 19-20 mins and is plus 3 right now.

    Ever notice how nobody ever wants to mess with him when the scuffles happen? The second he grabs someone they calm right down. That respect/fear has to translate to general play.

  15. DOC Williams

    Like most, I too love #5. (It’s his jersey I wear around town and such) But, as I have said for months, I think he WILL remain with the Knights as a player/coach(7th defenseman) or just a coach (of “D” guys), eventually. You can’t stop father time.

  16. vgk2020

    Deryk Engelland is a very solid leader for this team. Excellent PK dman. People need to understand that he was a 3rd pair guy in Calgary, when they were a weaker team, and he was 4 years younger. So, the fact that he was able to play on the 2nd pair in year 1 and mesh so well with Theodore is a big kudo to him.

    Yes, as the younger guys develop, he will be phased out…which shows how unselfish he is, grooming his replacements.

    He will very likely be a big part of the Knights org going forward, in whatever role or capacity that he wants to pursue. Well respected.

  17. Mark

    He’s valuable, great points, just spot on commentary. The young guys respect him, he’s their mentor. Everybody on that team loves #5, an original Golden Knight. You will always see Engelland, always protecting our guys when their is a scrum on the ice, he never backs down, that’s character, that’s a teammate. A few guys are underrated, a little under paid maybe, but they love playing as hard as they can. Carrier is just a beast, #5 of course, Nosek, Pirri, Holden and the kids, Glass and Bischoff and Hague. Unless Stone, Smith, Marchy and Karlsson get iron lungs implanted, or bionic legs, we can’t win without these guys. They are like the pieces of a puzzle you put in last, you need them to complete the job. That 4th line has produced, we got a shot at the Cup, IMOP !!

  18. NCMounty

    I completely agree with you. Those that do not like Engelland do not like him because he can’t produce in the offensive zone. Well guess what, he’s not out there for offense. He is near the top in blocked shots, hits, and one of the lowest in turnovers. He’s one of the best players on the ice during PKs. You also have to consider he is paired with rookies who have made major mistakes in every game, although Bischoff has looked pretty good. And as slow has he is, he hasn’t been beat once so far this year.

  19. Don

    nice Read .!!!!!

  20. bruce

    In the 3rd period of the Ottawa game, just after a bit of a scrum on the ice, while the teams were changing players, Brady Tkachuk skated right into the line of VGK players in front of their bench and he was looking for trouble. Well DE saw that and gave him a very hard check in the back. The linesman swooped in and grabbed Tkachuk and pushed him away but there was no penalty called. DE was telling BT that he better stay away from his teammates. He is the first to jump in to defend our top players as shown by when he jumped on a Sharks player who was roughing up WK. Bang, bang a couple of shots to the face and that was over. He is always in the middle of the scrums just to let the other team that no one is going to take liberties on his team mates. Reeves is the big enforcer but I think that in his own way DE is just as effective in what he does.

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