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Engelland: Stanley Cup Finals Or Bust In VGK’s Minds

Earlier this month Sportsnet flooded Las Vegas for NHL All-Star weekend. While the network’s insiders and reporters partied away, their production crew documented some of the stops along the Strip. Over their 72 Hours in Las Vegas, Sportsnet wanted an insider’s tour of the city so they broke bread with one of the original Golden Knights.

You have the Strip, you have the best food in the world all wrapped up into one. You have the entertainment. The atmosphere in the rink is a show inside of a hockey game. –Deryk Engelland to Sportsnet

Sportsnet personality Cabbie Richards and former NHL’er Colby Armstrong sat down with retired Golden Knight Deryk Engelland for some fine dining at Carbone.

While their table-side Caesar was being prepared the trio reminisced about the unexpected 2017-18 Golden Knights run to the Stanley Cup finals. The original team’s early success caught everyone by surprise including the players. Engelland told Cabbie and Colby that by late December, his teammates were desperate to keep pacing for the playoffs because they didn’t want to get traded out of Las Vegas.

I don’t think anyone saw that coming. By Christmastime everyone kept saying ‘we gotta keep on winning’ because no one wanted to leave. The city is amazing. –Engelland to Sportsnet

Right about when the slow-cooked Spanish octopus was served the conversation shifted to the current Golden Knights roster. The Sportsnet crew asked about managing expectations in which Engelland stated past results swiftly changed the process. The time is now for this organization.

You go to the Finals and Bill’s five-year plan goes to a two-year plan. With the moves they’ve made this year and the guys they’ve signed, I think if they come up short of the Stanley Cup or the Finals it’s going to be a bust in their minds. –Engelland to Sportsnet

In between courses, Armstrong asked his former Penguins teammate about the truth behind the Vegas flu. Engelland compared it to “playing guilty” in the AHL.

You’ve played guilty. It means you go out the night before and have a few too many cocktails. It doesn’t mean you have to be out late but you have a few too many and the next morning you’re feeling it. –Engelland to Sportsnet

For timing sake, this interview was released this week but recorded before Mark Stone was placed on LTIR and Jack Eichel made his debut. It’s possible expectations have slightly dropped for some in the organization. However, it continues to show that this isn’t a ‘we’ll get them next year’, throw-away type season. Between injuries, lack of chemistry, defense, and goaltending issues this organization still believes they are a champion. Fans should as well.

They do have high expectations right now. –Engelland to Sportsnet

For those curious, Carbone served the three an array of timeless Italian dishes that included tuna calabrese, lobster ravioli, signature meatballs, their famous macaroni and veal parmigiana. After seeing the veal it might be time to hit up the SinBin expense account.

Could Deryk Engelland Be A Future VGK Coach Or GM?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was always a foregone conclusion that Deryk Engelland would somehow wind up working upstairs for the Golden Knights. Once selected in the 2017 Expansion draft, no one knew how long the defenseman could hold a full-time on-ice position. Engelland held that role proudly for 2.5 seasons. Possibly longer than some expected, and maybe even himself.

I think I can still play. I know I can. For me and my family we decided it was best to stay here and be part of this organization for years to come. Could have went and played, but at the end of the day I wanted to be with this organization. -Deryk Engelland

Early on, the elder statesmen became an organizational favorite, a locker room favorite, but more importantly, a fan favorite. It was a role he relished and didn’t take for granted. That chapter has ended for the 38-year-old as he prepares for his post-playing career journey.

The Golden Knights franchise announced Tuesday that Engelland was named the Special Assistant to owner The Creator. While the job description hasn’t been detailed yet, the 11-year NHL veteran is thrilled to stay in his hometown and with the organization that believed in him back in 2017.

We’re very grateful to have started and ended here. I know the playing career is coming to an end, but I’m excited for the next chapter of my life and being a part of this organization for years to come. -Engelland

It’s new territory for Engelland. All he has ever known is the ice, the dressing room, and plane trips across the continent. So figuring out where fits long-term will take time, but for now he wants to get his uncovered hands wet, leaving every option available. Including going down the path of a coach or a general manager.

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(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Deryk Engelland officially announced his retirement from the NHL calling it a career after 11 seasons and 671 games.

Engelland will remain with the Golden Knights and serve as Special Assistant to the Owner.

Deryk Engelland epitomizes what it means to be a Golden Knight. A no-ego, selfless, hardworking player who has an unwavering commitment to protecting those who are unable to protect themselves. Since he joined our organization in 2017, Deryk’s service to our community has been exemplary. On behalf of the entire Vegas Golden Knights organization, we would like to congratulate Deryk on an outstanding career. He has made an indelible mark on our city and we are excited for this next chapter, as he stays with the Golden Knights family and continues the outstanding work he has done in our community. -The Creator via press release

Holy shit, we’ve come a long way. -Deryk Engelland on looking back at his career

I’m not going to close any doors on anything. This first year I’ll be working with the team but I just wanted to get my feet wet and dip into everything. -Engelland on coaching or management aspirations

Creator Reveals Future Plans For Deryk Engelland And VGK Organization

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Normally, at this time of the year we’re starting to look at the playoff picture and have our eyes peeled on the deadline, but with this unique offseason there are still retirment decisions up in the air. Highly touted free agents remain unsigned, trade rumors have the Golden Knights roster looking unstable, and the league hasn’t even decided what the season will look like yet, so news of a beloved Golden Knight calling it a career still hangs in the balance.

While the assumption by most has been that Deryk Engelland is set to hang up the skates and transition into an off-ice role with the Golden Knights, there’s technically never been any announcement of such and thus he still officially remains an unrestricted free agent.

Back in early October preior to free agency opening, Kelly McCrimmon confirmed that Engelland will not be rejoining the team as a player. Yesterday, chatting with FOX 5’s Vince Sapienza, The Creator clued us in on what’s next for Engelland.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This appears to signal the unofficial retirement on the playing career of a player that will forever live in the lore of Golden Knights history.

Engelland currently runs his own chairtable foundation, Engelland’s Vegas Born Heroes and he’s been involved in community relations with the team since the Expansion Draft.

An official retirement note should be on the way soon and then the team can announce his new role within the organization.

No matter what that role may be, or when that note may come, there’s going to be one hell of a tribute to an original Golden Knight whenever fans are finally allowed back in the arena.

**Check out more from The Creator’s interview on FOX 5 here.**

Golden Knights Return To City National Arena For Small Group Sessions

Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play protocol is underway which meant groups of six players were allowed to resume training on the ice at team facilities.

The Golden Knights provided a video of one of those groups including Marc-Andre Fleury, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Nick Holden, and Deryk Engelland.

Group sessions are expected to continue for the next six weeks or so until the league re-opens for training camps prior to the 24-team playoff. The target date to start training camps is mid-July while the hope is to start playing games in early August.

DeBoer Shares Engelland’s Message To Him About Being Scratched Before The Pause

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Pete DeBoer took over as head coach of the Golden Knights, one of the most drastic changes he made to the everyday lineup was to take Deryk Engelland out of it.

Before the season was paused, Engelland had been scratched in 12 straight games and had played in just one of DeBoer’s last 18. All in all, Engelland appeared in only five of the 22 with DeBoer behind the bench.

Under Gallant, Engelland was scratched just eight times in 213 regular-season games and not a single time in 27 playoff games.

DeBoer still believes Engelland is a major part of the team, however. Speaking with JT The Brick on Fox Sports Radio, DeBoer went out of his way to praise the leadership Engelland brought while being placed in a “tough situation.”

To a man they all want to win the Stanley Cup, that’s their number one motivation. 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. -DeBoer on Fox Sports Radio

DeBoer went on to say the leadership group of the team is eight to ten players deep, but clearly has an affinity towards Engelland.

The question moving forward is where does Engelland fit in on a roster that has become crowded on the blue line. The Golden Knights have six NHL contracts on the books for defensemen already to go along with Nic Hague, Jake Bischoff, Dylan Coghlan, and Jimmy Schuldt all chomping at the bit in the AHL.

Leadership and character are major pieces in what the Golden Knights look for when constructing their roster, but at some point skill on the ice has to take precedence over intangibles. DeBoer proved unequivocally he trusted Nick Holden, Jon Merrill, and Zach Whitecloud over Engelland in the lead-up to the pause.

And, despite the kind words, likely tipped his hand as to Engelland’s future as a player in the Golden Knights organization along the way.

“Hidden” Injuries Hurt Golden Knights Early In Season

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It feels like ages ago now, but just six months ago the Golden Knights kicked off the third season in franchise history. It began with a pair of hotly contested games against the hated San Jose Sharks, each resulting in Vegas wins. From there, the Golden Knights ripped off wins in six of their first nine games before hitting the skids a bit dropping 12 of the next 17.

It all added up to a paltry 11-11-4 start. In those first 25 games, the Golden Knights were without Alex Tuch for 17, Nate Schmidt for 12, Malcolm Subban for nine, and Cody Eakin for four. Plus, Valentin Zykov was suspended for 20.

According to George McPhee though, those weren’t the only ailments plaguing his team early in the season.

We started the season a little slow. We had three players that were injured. The hidden injuries, we had three guys that were hurt late in the summer in training and missed a lot of training time. They were really behind when we got going. It was pretty obvious. -McPhee to

My first thought was, “who’s he talking about?”

Shea Theodore’s bout with cancer could certainly fall under that category, but it’s hard to call that one “hidden.” Tuch, Schmidt, Eakin, Subban, and Whitecloud were all hurt on the ice during regular or preseason games, so he can’t be talking about them. Then there was the William Karlsson “can’t take draws” injury that seemed to occur in a preseason game, but once again, that shouldn’t have gotten in the way of the summer training.

“Three guys hurt late in the summer in training.”

The first, most obvious, candidate would be Ryan Reaves. He missed a majority of training camp, not hitting the ice for the first time until September 24th.

The next best guess is Paul Stastny who was absent for the first four preseason games but played in the final three and didn’t miss any of the 71 games played thus far.

Finally, there are Mark Stone and Deryk Engelland. Both participated in training camp, but neither saw preseason action until the third preseason game. That’s not horribly unusual, but when looking for “hidden” injuries the only names missing from the first two preseason games have to be considered.

Statistically, Stone was dominant out of the gates this season putting up 18 points in his first 15 games. The other three, not so much. Reaves tallied just three points in his first 20, Engelland had just two in 20, and Stastny had nine points in his first 20.

Or maybe it’s someone else I’m not even considering. But the point of this isn’t to out the guys who were potentially injured though, it’s to ask why that is an acceptable excuse?

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Whitecloud’s Contract Likely Spells End Of The Road For Two Original Golden Knights

In their first official roster activity since the NHL season was put on halt, the Golden Knights locked up defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a two-year contract at $725K AAV.

Whitecloud becomes the third Golden Knights defenseman to be locked into next season since early February. First, Vegas acquired Alec Martinez and will pay him $4 million against the cap in 2020-21, then they extended Nick Holden on trade deadline day for a cheap $1.7 million for two seasons, and now Whitecloud.

That leaves the Golden Knights blueline fairly stocked. Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt are under contract for each of the next five seasons, Brayden McNabb, Holden, and Whitecloud each have two years left now, and Martinez’s deal expires at the end of next season.

That’s six NHL defensemen under contract for the 20-21 season with Nic Hague, Jake Bischoff, and Dylan Coghlan all waiting in the wings in the AHL. Plus, Jimmy Schuldt will become an RFA whenever free agency opens this summer meaning he’ll likely stick around for another year as well.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So, where does that leave the two defensemen currently on the roster both set to become UFAs? Well, the previous nine games before the pause told the beginning of the story (neither Merrill nor Engelland played defense in any of them), Whitecloud and Holden’s extensions tell the middle, and now the end will have to wait until July 1 (or whatever the equivalent is this year).

Under Gallant, Merrill played 38 of the Golden Knights’ 49 games. Engelland was in Gallant’s lineup for 44 of 49. Under DeBoer, Merrill has played 11 of the 22 (with one as a forward) and Engelland just five. Clearly, both Merrill and Engelland had fallen out of the Pete DeBoer led Golden Knights lineup prior to the pause.

Now, with six defensemen under NHL contract and four more pushing for time there’s simply not space for both Engelland and Merrill, if there’s even space for one.

Plus, looking over the roster and the salary cap balance sheet, if there’s one place for Vegas to upgrade with a massive piece, it would be on defense (paging Alex Pietrangelo).

Things get even trickier for Merrill and Engelland when you consider that none of the six NHL contracts are waiver-exempt next season. Also, Nic Roy will require waivers next season as well. Vegas spent the majority of the season juggling their roster this year because they could. Glass, Hague, Whitecloud, and Roy could all go back and forth without any risk. That’s no longer the case for Whitecloud and Roy, which means the expected roster already has 18 (and 19 if you count the backup goalie), waiver-eligible players. There’s simply no room for another one.

The move of signing Whitecloud should be celebrated as it was done for an incredibly cheap price and it gives the Golden Knights even more cap flexibility heading into an offseason with an uncertain cap. But, for those who are fans of original Golden Misfits, the deal likely signals the end of at least one and probably two of them.

Tuch, Engelland, Karlsson, Smith, Theodore Owned “Player’s Locker” Officially Open In Downtown Summer

(Photo Credit: @tomkaplan on Twitter)

First, they took over your TV’s. Then they took over your local tavern. Now, they are taking over a local restaurant.

A group of five Golden Knights, led by Alex Tuch, have officially opened the first NHL player-owned sports bar in Las Vegas. Deryk Engelland, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Tuch took over Wolfgang Puck’s previous place in Downtown Summerlin, and with the help of Puck and his staff, have opened the “Player’s Locker.”

I brought it to a few different guys on the team. It was guys that I saw were going to be here for a long time. Shea Theodore was one of the first ones I went to. We’re really close and I just wanted other guys that really showed interest. I think we have a really good group and I’m really excited about it. -Alex Tuch

The restaurant had its “soft opening” Saturday and has a grand opening in the works soon. It’s a mix of upscale Wolfgang Puck inspired food with a bar food twist. The menu includes one dish named after each player.

  • Tuch’s Reuben Sandwich (pastrami, swiss cheese & coleslaw on rye, chips)
  • Engelland’s Fish & Chips (tartar sauce, malt vinegar)
  • Karlsson’s Vegan Burger (“beyond meat” vegan patty, vegan cheese & fixins)
  • Reilly’s Cheese Curds (fry sauce)
  • Shea’s Gooey Deluxe (salted caramel chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream)

The full menu also includes Wolfgang Puck favorites like spicy brick chicken (my personal favorite), filet mignon steak frites, salmon en papillote, taco pizza, and house-made meatballs.

Tuch hasn’t stopped raving about his item since the first moment the news of the restaurant went public.

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Five Golden Knights Players Opening New Restaurant With Wolfgang Puck In January

Alex Tuch, William Karlsson, Deryk Engelland, Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore are teaming up with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck to create a sports bar called “Wolfgang Puck Players Locker.”

The opportunity to be a partner in the first-ever sports restaurant in Vegas is something I couldn’t pass up. I am very excited to work side by side with one of the greatest chefs in the world, Wolfgang Puck. -Alex Tuch

The restaurant is taking over the old “Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill” in Downtown Summerlin in between California Pizza Kitchen and Shake Shack. There will be a brand new menu including “traditional sports fare”as well as an “innovative new beverage program” which will surely include both Engelland and Ryan Reaves’ beers.

We are thrilled to be partnering with members of the Vegas Golden Knights here in Las Vegas, the new hockey capital of the world. We have created a unique and one-of-a-kind sports dining experience around great food and the best players in the NHL! -Wolfgang Puck

The restaurant is being re-designed around a “floor-to-ceiling display of more than 100 custom glass lockers.” Each of the five Golden Knights will have their own dedicated locker.

There will also be two outdoor patios, one dog-friendly, as well as an expansive bar area, and a private dining room named “The Players Lounge” which is expected to host the five VGK owners consistently.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will remain open until mid-January, at which time it will undergo a brief, one-week remodel before re-opening its doors as the new Wolfgang Puck Players Locker. Additional details will be announced in the coming months. -Press Release

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