What Paul Cotter needs to improve

Paul Cotter is expected to take on a bigger role with the Vegas Golden Knights. How can he improve and become a star player?
Vegas Golden Knights v Edmonton Oilers
Vegas Golden Knights v Edmonton Oilers / Leila Devlin/GettyImages

Paul Cotter has a crucial role with the Vegas Golden Knights. As a 24-year-old winger, he's part of the younger movement to keep the team afloat in the future. With a penchant for checking and some scoring chops, the native of Canton, Michigan, is growing in his game. That bodes well for Vegas, who's always looking to contend and stay younger.

He's developed into a physical player, capable of leveraging his size (6'2", 213 lbs.) to lay waste to his opponents. With 233 hits (17th in the NHL), the winger makes his presence felt on the lower lines. His presence on the checking line will develop into a solid piece in the lineup, adding more meat to the team.

However, not everyone is perfect. If that were the case, what would the purpose be in life? Without the ability to improve, everyone would be stuck in neutral and nobody would try to obtain new knowledge. It doesn't sound as... perfect as it seems.

That goes for Cotter, who's looking to grow his game and eventually crack the playoff lineup for Vegas. However, there are some aspects he must improve to reach that point. What must the winger work on to become a better hockey player?

Paul Cotter must develop his offensive game more

Paul Cotter is developing into a nice offensive piece for the Vegas Golden Knights. He's got a good scoring touch and can use both size and speed to push his way to the front of the net. The 24-year-old should grow into a better player as he gets further into his NHL career.

However, there are times when Cotter can make a costly error or two. Sometimes, that can be an errant pass that results in a turnover and eventual goal. It can also be getting lost in the play and watching it unfold that causes problems. However, there are times when he's absolutely brilliant.

Look at this pass from Nicolas Roy to Cotter against the Bruins. It shows his capability of handling offensive situations, taking a lob pass, and finishing the play. Such plays like this will come more naturally once he gets regular playing time. It'll develop a sense of consistency, which has been hard for him at times. That also goes for his zone entries, which are still a little raw.

Still, stuff like this will also get him more opportunities on, say, the penalty kill. It's something that can catch Bruce Cassidy's eye and see him as a more worthy player. Just look at Roy and how he developed into a reliable forward. That can also work for the 24-year-old.

The conclusion

Overall, these issues will be resolved with more playing time. For Paul Cotter, he can prove he's even more of a vital piece with the needed experience. The forward is already doing the right things, such as winning puck battles and having exceptional skating skills. The good news is five forwards leaving for free agency will open up room for him to grab a spot.

With some tweaks to his offensive game, Cotter will become much more defined and trusted as a player. If he can also improve his off-puck awareness and zone entries, expect to see the 24-year-old on a more consistent basis. That could include a playoff run, where he can help the Vegas Golden Knights hoist yet another Stanley Cup.