The Vegas Knights season is already going off the rails after multiple injuries. However, this could be a blessing in disguise.
The Vegas Golden Knights have been very injury prone to start the season. After only two games, star winger, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, are now going to be missing some time. However, to go along with that, Mattias Janmark is still in Covid protocol, and Alex Tuch is still out after getting shoulder surgery this off-season. So, after losing multiple key players, who can step up and truly take the next step up? There are multiple candidates that should be mentioned, but there is only one name that came to mind for me: Keegan Kolesar.
Keegan Kolesar was a name that was mentioned frequently around training camp leading up to the season. With reports saying that he looked much quicker, and with much improved offensive IQ, he seemed to have a reputation building around him. However, through two games so far, he hasn’t really lived up to the hype. It’s still early on in the season, but his chance is right here, right now.
Max Pacioretty was listed as week-to-week and Mark Stone is “Somewhere between day-to-day and week-to-week” according to head coach, Pete BoBoer. So with those two being out along with Mattias Janmark, this is Keegan Kolesar’s chance to step up and finally step into the light.
Kolesar hasn’t quite lived up to the player I expected him to be, but his chances have been limited and been less than ideal. Last season was his first true shot in the NHL, but as well all know, COVID played a pivotal factor in everyone’s production and health. With things starting to find their way back to normal, can Kolesar take this chance he’ll be given to really step up?
When analyzing Kolesar’s game there are a couple of things that stand out to me. First thing that really jumps off the screen when watching him play is his shot. Second thing you notice is his style of play. Before we talk about his style of play, let’s talk about his shot.
Kolesar, although he hasn’t scored much at the NHL level, he shows flashes of being able to become an elite scorer in the league. Taking last season for example, he shot the puck 46 times and had three goals. Looking at this season though, his shot looks much stronger and quicker than it did in previous years. He hasn’t scored yet this season, but the potential is there by all means.
Now if we take a look at how he is utilized, he is used like they used Ryan Reaves. Last season Kolesar played in 44 games in which he totaled 107 hits, 15 blocked shots, and nine takeaways. After watching him fight against Lemieux, he didn’t exactly show terrific fighting capabilities, but as a fourth-line guy, he is primarily used in the checking game in order to force turnovers and play a physical game at the net. Now, he’s no Ryan Reaves, but Kolesar’s offensive ability makes him a much better player when all things are considered.
Looking to tonight’s game against the Blues, his role is yet to be determined. However, if he wants to establish himself with the team, this is going to be his best chance to do so. So can he while produce while he is on the ice? We’ll find out tonight. However, one thing I’m sure we can all agree on is that; One, this is going to be his chance to show his versatility and show the coaches all that he can do. Two, he is going to need to step up in the offensive aspect.