Vegas Golden Knights: Rounding up the best bits from the Locker Room Cleanout Day

Shea Theodore #27 of the Vegas Golden Knights is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Final. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Shea Theodore #27 of the Vegas Golden Knights is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Final. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It was Locker Room Cleanout Day for the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

A tradition as old as time in hockey, the Vegas Golden Knights spoke to the media for the final time before embarking on their off-season.

Of course, keeping in line with what a strange year 2020 has been, all interviews were conducted over Zoom.

It isn’t what we are used to given that Locker Room Cleanout Day is literally a free-for-all whilst players clear out their lockers, but it is what it is at this point.

Anyway, there were a plethora of interesting nuggets to come out of the media availability, and we decided to round up the best ones for you….

No Start Date

We’ll start with this because it was covered in quite a few of the interviews.

Th 2019-20 season isn’t in the books yet with the Dallas Stars waiting to take on either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Final.

Once a Stanley Cup Champion is crowned, however, attention will switch to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on Oct. 6-7, and then NHL Free Agency on Oct. 9.

But, beyond that, it is unclear when the 2020-21 NHL season will get underway with the league currently considering all options.

General Manager Kelly McCrimmon revealed that everyone is hopeful the new season will start up in December, although that’s still very much up in the air.

That was a sentiment echoed by forward Paul Stastny, and he gave a rather interesting quote on that:

“If I was a betting man I would say that we’re going to start later than projected, I think the NHL is planning on early December but who knows how much changes.

“Part of me thinks we might start early next year because I think getting fans back and getting back to normal is really important.”

I would agree with that given that the NHL would probably want to wait as long as possible before starting up again in the hope that they can get fans back in arenas.

Hockey just isn’t the same without fans, after all.

Pete DeBoer

Let’s continue with the Head Coach of the Golden Knights.

One of the main things to come out of DeBoer’s media availability was that when the Golden Knights do return, whenever that may be, they will have a Captain.

The general consensus is that Mark Stone will wear the ‘C’ on his chest in 2020-21 and beyond, which would make him the first Captain in Franchise history for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Next up on the agenda was the immediate future with DeBoer already pumped for the 2020-21 season.

"“I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be luckier. I’ve been handed the keys to a Porsche here and we’ve got to get it across the finish line in first place. Not second, third or fourth, I’m already excited about next year.”"

There is no doubt that the Golden Knights boast one of the most talented rosters in the entire NHL, but mistakes were made in the Western Conference Final and DeBoer was guilty of not making the necessary adjustments.

That will have to change going forward if DeBoer is to push the right buttons and do what he was brought here to do.


DeBoer then took a deep dive into the goalie situation, which will continue to be a hot storyline going into what is a truncated off-season.

Here’s what DeBoer had to say:

"“I’ll give you my insight as frank as I can be. When we traded for Robin, when you look at the stats over the previous two years, he has been an elite goalie in the league in two different situations on two different teams in almost every category. We basically split them in the pause and Robin played at an elite level. Flower played at a very good level. We came out of the pause, went into Training Camp and, again, I went in with the idea that if both guys played at an equal level we would have given Flower the starts out of respect and what he’s done for the franchise here. But Flower came into camp and unfortunately had an injury. Robin played at an elite level. We split the goalies through the round-robin games, Robin was again at an elite level, Flower was at a very good level and we made that tough decision. I don’t regret that.”"

Kelly McCrimmon

The General Manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, Kelly McCrimmon, also gave his take on the goalie controversy…

"“Marc-Andre Fleury has been the face of the franchise and he’s a tremendous goalie and an even better person. He’s led our team from its inception. I was very transparent at the Trade Deadline why we added Robin Lehner, I was clear about that without going through it again. Interestingly at that time, it was management and the pro staff that felt the strongest about improving our goaltending. If anything had happened to Marc-Andre we felt we had a really good job of building our team, we liked a lot of things about our team, but we felt at risk which we were of course trying to minimise.“The first seven games, the only seven games after the Trade Deadline, Peter (DeBoer) rotated the goalies and who’s to say, if we finished the regular season and the Playoffs began in April like they normally would I don’t know what would have happened, but as a manager your last chance to improve the team is at the Trade Deadline.“From there you hand the team to the coaches and they coach the team, I don’t think it is wise or healthy to have management making lineup decisions. I don’t think that’s how it works in the NHL, I don’t think that’s how it should work. Peter felt really confident after we went through Phase 2 and Phase 3 that Robin was the guy who was going to give us the best chance to win and that’s his job.“It was unfortunate for Marc-Andre Fleury and his situation and I have empathy for him and how it played out. But it was not, as some are suggesting, a masterplan and, in-fact, Pete wasn’t even that interested in us acquiring a goalie at the Trade Deadline, it was more management and our pro scouting staff that felt really strongly about it. That’s how it played out and I support Pete fully, he’s our head coach and I respect those decisions.”"

You can’t ask for a more detailed response than that and, buy it or not, McCrimmon confirmed what we all believed and that is Robin Lehner gave the Golden Knights the best possible chance to win in the eyes of the coaching staff and the front office.

McCrimmon also reflected on the season as a whole, in addition to looking at what lies ahead over the coming weeks…

"“What a strange year it has been. When you go back and look at 53 weeks ago when Training Camp for this season began, and of course ending here just recently with our loss in the Western Conference Final. I think it was a good year in many respects, a lot of positives with respect to how our team played, how some individuals played and, at the same time, we had real expectations so when you have high expectations it is disappointing when you don’t reach the ultimate goal, which is to win a Stanley Cup.“The coming 3-4 weeks is often the most important month for an organization, for a manager, and our Draft is three weeks away so we’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of preparing for that. Free Agency is on Oct. 9 so that’s where our focus goes to next. We’ll be working real hard to do a good job in those areas as well.“We were happy with the construction of our team, we had some real good players who had trouble scoring as the Playoffs went along, but I never felt that it was a personnel issue. It is a lot harder to score at Playoff time. Over the three years we feel this is the best team that we’ve had, and we feel we built a team that could win a Stanley Cup.”"

McCrimmon did share some good news on forward Cody Glass who endured an up-and-down rookie year, revealing that the center is progressing well in his rehab and has focussed on adding some upper-body strength, which could be what Glass needs to take that next step.

McCrimmon added that Glass is “a guy we’re really excited to see when Training Camp begins.”

Finally, one other interesting nugget to come from McCrimmon’s media availability was the fact that a team tried to trade for veteran defenseman Deryk Engelland at the Trade Deadline, but he wanted to stay and fight for a Stanley Cup.

That tells you all you need to know both about Engelland and his relationship with this franchise, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he retires this off-season and takes up a front office role.

We’ll close with some money quotes from veteran defenseman Alec Martinez, who proved a perfect fit for this Golden Knights team after being acquired from the LA Kings at the Trade Deadline.

Martinez won two Stanley Cups with the Kings, scoring the OT goal that clinched the championship in 2014, but the blueliner considers this Golden Knights team as one of the best he’s played on.

That is quite some compliment.

Also, Martinez proved the perfect partner for Shea Theodore down the stretch and throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Martinez claimed that his young linemate is “easily one of the top defensemen in the league.”

High praise indeed from a player who knows what it takes to be a master of his craft.

Next. It feels like the end of the road for Fleury. dark

That’s it for our highlights from the Vegas Golden Knights Locker Room Cleanout Day, and you can visit to watch all of the interviews in one place.

*All quotes via