Vegas Golden Knights 2020 Free Agency: Engelland era has come to an end

Deryk Engelland #5 of the Vegas Golden Knights looks on during a training camp practice. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Deryk Engelland #5 of the Vegas Golden Knights looks on during a training camp practice. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Deryk Engelland era is over for the Vegas Golden Knights, but his legacy will live on forever.

On what was a strange first day of NHL Free Agency for the Vegas Golden Knights, it was revealed that the veteran defenseman wouldn’t be returning to the team as a player.

Engelland entered Free Agency as a UFA having seen his playing time dramatically reduced during the 2019-20 regular season, and it has now been confirmed that the veteran won’t pull on a Golden Knights jersey again.

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Speaking on a Media Conference Call earlier following the conclusion of the first day of Free Agency, Vegas General Manager Kelly McCrimmon had this to say on the future of Engelland:

“I spoke with Deryk some time ago, and I don’t think that’s going to happen with our team. Deryk and I had a great discussion on a number of topics and probably, at this point, there isn’t going to be an opportunity to play this year.”

It is very much the end of an era with Engelland the heartbeat of the Golden Knights from the franchise’s birth and introduction.

Already a Vegas resident, Engelland took on the responsibility of helping to bring together a locker room full of strangers that had never played together before.

He was a vital glue guy and his links and affection for the City of Vegas was why the Golden Knights decided to take the defenseman from the Calgary Flames in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

Engelland took on a leadership role immediately and helped to forge strong chemistry and unbreakable bonds between a first-year expansion team, factors that went a long way in the Golden Knights making it to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year.

And who could forget the huge part Engelland played in helping Vegas to heal following the tragic shootings in the City outside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Oct. 1, 2017 that claimed the lives of 60 innocent people.

Deryk Engelland #5 of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland #5 of the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

With the community ripped apart and hurting, Engelland brought his teammates together and they were on hand to carry out whatever their City needed, appearing at Blood Drives and being there to comfort those who had lost so, so much.

Then, just nine days later when the Golden Knights dropped the puck on their home opener and first ever game at T-Mobile Arena, Engelland skated out to the middle of the ice and gave a passionate, heartfelt and hugely emotional speech, cementing a bond between sports franchise and City that will never, ever be broken.

It was a truly incredible moment that will transcend Engelland’s own playing career, and he will forever go down in the history of this franchise for what he did and how much he meant to the organization in those early days and beyond.

Engelland was also a model professional throughout, skating in 79 regular season games and putting up 23 points (5 G, 18 A) in 79 games as Vegas stunned the hockey world in their inaugural year, with the defenseman’s points haul that year setting a career-high.

However, the stay-at-home defenseman’s play began to regress the following year and he then had to handle a reduced role in 2019-20, playing just 49 games while being a healthy scratch for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It couldn’t have been an easy transition for Engelland who was a true pro’s pro all the way, and his playing days as a Vegas Golden Knight have now come to an end.

He could of course sign elsewhere in Free Agency with a plethora of teams in need of a reliable, depth defenseman, but all signs point towards Engelland retiring and taking up some sort of role with the Golden Knights, be it scouting, coaching or in the front office.

There could even be a coaching role with the Henderson Silver Knights, Vegas’ new AHL affiliate, and it would be a classy way to repay a player who turned down a trade at the Trade Deadline in order to stay and mentor the likes of Zach Whitecloud and Nic Hague, despite having not seen any action since Feb. 13.

Next. Nosek here to stay. dark

So, while Deryk Engelland may be done as a player for the Vegas Golden Knights, his legacy will live on and it seems written in the stars that his story with this franchise will only continue to be written off the ice.

Thanks for everything, Deryk.