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Ryan Reaves 2.0

Reaves jokes about buying a new pair of hands with his new contract, but his off-ice workout regimen which has turned him into a different player is no joke. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The highest point total Ryan Reaves has tallied in his NHL career is 13 in 2016-17. His best goal scoring season was the same year when he scored seven. Yet here we are, 11 games in the season and Reaves already has three goals and is on pace for 20+ points.

But it’s not just the goal scoring that has Reaves impressing on the ice, it’s the speed at which he’s playing that has allowed he and linemates, William Carrier and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, to consistently create chances mostly born out of ferocious forechecking.

Quite simply, the VGK version of Reaves is not the one the NHL grew to know (and in some cases love, other cases hate) over his first seven years in the league.

The last two years in particular I’ve done a lot less sitting in the gym pumping iron. I think that was the old me who had to go out and fight 6’5″ guys every other night. The game is changing so I’ve got to adapt. I’m not nearly as heavy as I was. I work on a lot of explosiveness, a lot of weighted vest skating, jumps, just a lot of power in my legs, so I can keep up. I’m still a heavy guy but I’ve got to keep up with the fast pace of the league right now. -Ryan Reaves

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When you add in the series-winner in Winnipeg and the goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Reaves has scored five goals in his last 16 games. At no other point in his career has he come close to that type of scoring output.

Reaves scored four goals in his last 20 regular season games in St. Louis while averaging 11:15 of ice time over that span. He then scored four in 58 games in Pittsburgh averaging just 6:45. Back up over 11:00 this year in Vegas, he’s got the three in 11 games including his first career power-play goal.

Also, for the first time in his career, Reaves is on pace to average less than a penalty minute per game played. The main reason for this is due to the decrease in fighting. He’s been in just one fight in 32 regular season games with the Golden Knights.

When you ask any hockey fan, and probably a majority of players to describe Ryan Reaves’ game, it’s usually going to go down the path of calling him a fighter, an intimidator, and a fourth-line checking extraordinaire. That’s not the one that’s been suiting up in steel grey and gold every night since he’s been in Vegas. Here, he plays a fast game, is dangerous off the puck, and is growing a knack for scoring the big-time goal.

This is 2018-19 Ryan Reaves.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This Ryan Reaves is tied for third leading goal scorer on the reigning Western Conference Champions. This Ryan Reaves is on pace for a career year in goals, points, shots, time on ice, and penalty minutes (fewest). This Ryan Reaves has his “fourth” line playing and producing at higher level than the team’s second and third lines. This Ryan Reaves belongs on the power play and probably deserves more than 11 minutes per game. This Ryan Reaves is not the one you remember from his early days in St. Louis.

This Ryan Reaves is one hell of a hockey player.

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7 Comments

  1. Keith Magnuson

    Holy Smokes that’s a LOT of love on Reaves. And here we all thought you hated the guy……. !!

    • I had a preconceived notion of what he was as a player based on his previous time in the NHL. He kinda confirmed it with the first few games here. But over the course of the remainder of that season, and majorly this season, he’s shown to be something much different. First impressions are powerful but 3 goals in 4 games is more powerful.

      • John

        well said. Im glad you came around as i was always a fan of the trade that brought him here.

      • Keith Magnuson

        I like your new way of thinking …… !! The power play goal was the BEST, too 🙂

  2. Jay

    Goes to show that players see Vegas as a place to reinvent/revitalize their careers. Makes sense since its a brand new franchise with brand new fan base. But that notion wont last as Vegas starts to have a distinct style, a player hierarchy and real expectations. I believe more than anything this will provide a blueprint for the players drafted to the new Seattle franchise.

  3. Bob Nokley

    You can so see the work he puts in.

  4. D Conlee

    Watched his Dad play football in HS, then NAU and of course CFL. He was dedicated, hard worker, good character guy and talented too. Was elated when Vegas brought Ryan in. Same as his Dad, when given the chance.

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