The 2021-22 NHL season is almost here as teams begin training camp. Although training camp has only just started, some notable storylines are developing: a few players are not in attendance due to offseason surgery, there’s a brand new third line, and good news regarding the team’s COVID-19 status.
The Golden Knights will be short-handed during training camp. Alex Tuch, Alan Quine, Reid Duke, Jake Bischoff, Layton Ahac and Connor Corcoran will all miss camp as they recover from surgery. This is unfortunate since training camp helps develop relationships and build chemistry with new teammates. It is also a good way for young players to learn from elite talent and see where and how they can improve.
Unfortunately, the Golden Knights are without one of their most important and consistent players. After undergoing shoulder surgery in July, Tuch is not slated to return to the club until midway through the season. At least the 25-year-old winger should be back in time for the final stretch. He plays on both the power play and penalty kill and has developed chemistry with many players on the roster, which allows him to slide up and down the lineup without affecting his production. In his absence, head coach Pete DeBoer will have to use a completely new third line.
New Look Third Line
Vegas made a splash in the offseason after many thought they couldn’t afford to. They acquired Evgenii Dadonov and Nolan Patrick but also lost Nick Holden to the Ottawa Senators and Cody Glass to the Nashville Predators. Now, two of the newest Golden Knights will be on the same line as Mattias Janmark.
At first glance, this line looks good. The trio can generate offense, given their tremendous skill with the puck. Both Janmark and Dadonov are no strangers to the scoresheet, while Patrick was a second-overall draft pick. The main problem with this line is their defensive play. The trio has a combined minus-76 rating in their careers. Knowing the importance Vegas places on defense, this trio might quickly be broken up. That said, some players have turned around their careers in Vegas when given a new opportunity, like Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson, and Shea Theodore.
Leading the Charge Against COVID-19
Following practice on Sept. 23, general manager Kelly McCrimmon told the media that the Golden Knights were 100% vaccinated. That is good news since the team will be allowed more freedom on the road. They will also not be shorthanded when they enter Canada for away games. This came up after Detroit Red Wings left-winger Tyler Bertuzzi declined to receive the vaccine. According to current protocols, all unvaccinated players must complete a 14-day quarantine when they enter Canada.
The Golden Knights will also require all fans attending practices to wear a mask. The team appears to be committed to doing their part in fighting the virus. Ensuring their players are safe is key to a successful season.
Although Vegas only just started camp, they’ve already made headlines. With their first preseason game scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26, against the San Jose Sharks, expect more news as situations develop during training camp and heading into the season.
I am a former Jr. A hockey player that is currently attending school at San Diego State University. At SDSU, I study Journalism and Public Relations while also playing on the school’s rugby team. Hockey has been a big part of my life, as I have been playing since I was three years old. Other than hockey, I enjoy watching and playing all kinds of sports.