2. Deryk Engelland, D, UFA
We did a piece on this earlier in the week, which you can read here, but we could be looking at an end of an era for the Vegas Golden Knights right now.
Because, if hockey doesn’t return this year, then we may well have seen Deryk Engelland’s final game as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.
An unrestricted free agent in the summer, Engelland is in the twilight of his career and doesn’t look to be a fit under Head Coach Peter DeBoer, having appeared in only five games under the former San Jose Sharks Bench Boss.
Plus, with a bevy of high-end defensive prospects including the likes of Zach Whitecloud, Nic Hague and Dylan Coghlan waiting in the wings, this off-season seems the right time for the Golden Knights and Engelland to part ways.
It would be a tough decision for all involved given what Engelland means to this franchise, although the veteran could move into a different role within the organization given that his family is settled in Vegas.
But, at the end of the day, sports is a business and with not a boatload of cap space with which to play with in the off-season, the Golden Knights will have some tough decisions to make and Engelland is at the top of that list.
From helping to bring together a group of strangers and lead them to a Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year, to helping a city heal in the wake of the tragic shootings in Vegas Oct. 1, Engelland will forever go down as a vital figure in the history of this franchise.
And his overall level of play over the last few years hasn’t been that bad, including this year where the defenseman was a +6 rating with an impressive CF% of 52.6 in 49 games to go with 86 blocked shots, 114 hits and 15 takeaways.
However, time stops for no man and all the signs point to Deryk Engelland having played his last game for the Vegas Golden Knights, whether he retires or opts for a new challenge with a different team.