This Golden Knight should take the next step next season

In a disappointing end to the season, the Vegas Golden Knights did have one "knight" in shining armor for next season.
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

There weren't many positives for the Vegas Golden Knights this season, despite making the postseason for the sixth time in seven seasons. There were numerous injuries, mind-numbing losses, and getting eliminated in the first round by the Dallas Stars. However, there's one particular positive who stepped up for the Golden Knights in 2023-24: Nicolas Roy.

The center from Quebec stepped up in a big way for Vegas, scoring 13 goals and adding 28 assists this season. Roy has also developed a sense of adaptability, being able to play in any part of the lineup. His impressive play has earned him first-line reps, building momentum for a larger future role on the team.

In addition, Roy can soften the blow of losing most (if not, all) of the unrestricted free agents hitting the market this summer. With his improved play, the center can fit in anywhere in Vegas's lineup. As a result, Roy's growth makes him valuable for the team's direction moving forward.

So how will Roy become one of the more crucial Golden Knights moving forward? What key skills and growth will he bring to the table for Vegas? The 27-year-old has plenty of potential to become one of the most important Golden Knights in the future. Let's examine how he can become tenured and what his role will be next season.

What Nicolas Roy brings to the Vegas Golden Knights

First, one aspect that Nicolas Roy shined was on special teams. This season, he scored a power play goal and added six assists on the man advantage. With Roy's size, he adds another dimension up front for the Vegas Golden Knights, making them more potent.

Add in Tomas Hertl to the mix and the Golden Knights become tougher to defend. All that size means more opportunities for redirections and a tougher view for the goaltender. The end result is more goals in the net when Vegas is on the man advantage.

But one surprising aspect of Roy's game is how quick he is despite his large size. He's quick and has developed his hands and skills, making him a more formidable offensive threat. In turn, it's developed his confidence with the puck, seeping into other aspects of his game.

One example has been the forecheck, where Roy can abuse his size to the fullest. He's starting to take away the puck more, with 86 total takeaways in the past two regular seasons. With the 27-year-old becoming more confident in his abilities, it means great things for the Golden Knights moving forward.

Where does Roy fall in the grand scheme of things?

Nicolas Roy can become a regular on the second line, with some reps on the first. He's developing his scoring touch with every passing game, making him a tougher matchup. The center showed Vegas Golden Knights fans a glimpse of what he could do in 2021-22, with fans getting another taste this season.

With his industrious work ethic and adaptability, he'll become more important in the grand scheme for the Golden Knights. Having a versatile forward that can come in any situation is a plus, especially in Bruce Cassidy's system. In fact, it can mask some of the holes left by the departing free agents.

It's been said numerous times how much Roy has improved with the Golden Knights. However, his growth is positively affecting the team in more ways than one, making Vegas a bigger threat overall. That's especially true with his confidence growing as an important offensive piece.

What can he improve?

For one, playoff consistency is key for Nicolas Roy. A part of why the Vegas Golden Knights were eliminated by the Dallas Stars was because the 27-year-old did nothing during the playoffs. No goals. No assists. Nothing to show for a stacked Golden Knights lineup that was banking on their biggest stars to shine.

Another aspect where he can grow is becoming more physical. Roy's career-high in hits is 85 (2021-22), with his physicality lacking presence defensively. The most blocked shots in a season for Roy? 41 (2022-23). While the center does have a big body and is mainly an offensive force, he can chip in more defensively.

Overall, expect Nicolas Roy to grow within the Vegas Golden Knights organization. He'll become a key part of the lineup, developing into a bona fide leader and scoring force. If he continues at his current pace, he can even establish himself firmly in the top lines for the Golden Knights.