Remembering a Former Golden Knight: Ryan Reaves

One of the original Misfits, Ryan Reaves was the muscle for the Vegas Golden Knights. What made the enforcer special for Vegas?
Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Four
Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Four / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Going back to the original Vegas Golden Knights, we take a look at Ryan Reaves. The former Golden Knights right winger wasn't afraid to pick a fight, defending his teammates from impending harm.

Whether he's knocking out his opponents or reminding you to regulate your watering clock, Reaves was beloved in the Vegas hockey community. But what happened to the former Knight? What made him stand out from the rest of the team?

1. Ryan Reaves's Vegas Origins

Ryan Reaves
Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Six / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Ryan Reaves wasn't picked in the expansion draft for the Golden Knights. Rather, he was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-team deal involving the Ottawa Senators. Tobias Lindberg was involved in that deal, where he was sent to Pittsburgh.

The Winnipeg native scored the game-winning goal against the team in his hometown: the Jets. As a result, Vegas went to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season, making history in the process.

As for the right winger, Reaves was an imposing figure, standing at 6'2" and weighing 225 lbs. His physicality overwhelmed his opponents, giving the Knights an advantage later in the game. Nobody would dare come his way without feeling a body check from the big guy.

2. Reaves's Stat Line

Ryan Reaves, Patrick Brown
Minnesota Wild v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Seven / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Overall, Reaves scored 18 goals and 24 assists during his four-season tenure with Vegas. While he wasn't known for scoring goals, he was known for racking up the penalty minutes. The right winger compiled 158 penalty minutes as a Golden Knight. There must've been a lot of hockey players not checking their watering clock.

Still, it's worth noting that Reaves had 837 hits as a Golden Knight. That included a caree-high 316 hits in 2019-2020. When the former Penguin laid people out, opponents would feel the aftermath for days.

While Reaves didn't appear on the scoresheet much, his muscle has given the Golden Knights a boost in difficult times. That's why he got an extension during his tenure. He was a presence that couldn't be ignored, punishing his opponents for trying to take on the Knights.

3. Ryan Reaves's Work Now

Ryan Reaves
Toronto Maple Leafs v Winnipeg Jets / Jason Halstead/GettyImages

Ryan Reaves experienced some trades upon leaving the Vegas Golden Knights. It started when he was traded to the New York Rangers in 2021 for a 2022 third-round draft pick. Then, he was traded to the Minnesota Wild a year later.

Nowadays, Ryan Reaves is going after Tom Wilson, picking fights with the Washington Capitals player. He signed a three-year, $4.05 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs last offseason, giving the beleaguered franchise some muscle.

Some Golden Knights fans will look back on Reaves and say he didn't do much. That's a fair assessment. However, he established the norm of having a physical presence on the team. That role is being fulfilled by none other than Keegan Kolesar, who's been an excellent fourth-line player for Vegas. As for Reaves himself, he'll be remembered for getting his hands dirty and even getting a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.