In this edition of Vegas Golden Knights News & Rumors, the team was able to work out a new deal with Nolan Patrick, who was acquired earlier this offseason. In other news, a few current members of the Golden Knights spoke earlier this week on how odd it will be not having goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury around for the 2021-22 season. Meanwhile, management was able to work out another signing as well, as they inked defenceman Dylan Coghlan to a new deal. Last but not least, prospect Zach Dean, who was taken in the first-round of the 2021 draft, has impressed early on at camp this year.
Patrick Locked in and Ready to Go
In mid-July, the Golden Knights acquired then-Philadelphia Flyers forward Nolan Patrick in a three-team trade that saw Cody Glass head to the Nashville Predators. At the time of the deal, the 23-year-old didn’t have a contract in place, but that is no longer the case as the two sides agreed on a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.2 million.
It has been a disappointing career so far for Patrick, who was taken second overall in the 2017 draft. After two average at best seasons to begin his career, he was forced to miss the entire 2019-20 season due to migraine issues. Thankfully he was able to get over those and play in 2020-21, but he really struggled, scoring just four goals and nine points in 52 games while recording a plus/minus of minus30. The fresh change of scenery could be what it takes for him to blossom into the player many envisioned back in 2017.
Fleury’s Absence Felt by Many
Since the Golden Knights came into the league in 2017-18, Fleury was the face of their franchise. He embraced the city and the city embraced him, making it a very tough situation all around when management chose to trade him this offseason to the Chicago Blackhawks. Speaking with media on Monday, Jonathan Marchessault acknowledged how strange it was to not have him around. (from ‘Ben Gotz: Golden Knights gear up for camp without Marc-Andre Fleury’ , Las Vegas Review Journal, 09/20/21).
“(Fleury’s) been the heart and soul for quite a bit for our team and organization,” said Marchessault. “It’s going to be different, but it just shows you how unstable the world of hockey is. No one is safe out there. You have to stay on your toes and give your best every night.”
Marchessault wasn’t the only player to mention how strange it was to not have Fleury around, as defenceman Nic Hague also spoke up about it.
“I feel very fortunate (that I was) able to play with him for the little bit that I did,” said Hague. “He’s a guy that I grew up watching, watching him win his Cups. Just a great guy. He always had a smile on his face. He loves what he does. It’s definitely going to be a little different not having him around.”
At the time Fleury was traded, there were reports that he was considering retirement, though he has since stated he will suit up for the Blackhawks. The 36-year-old had his best NHL season to date in 2020-21, posting a 1.98 goals against average along with a .928 save percentage in 36 games, which earned him his first ever Vezina Trophy.
Coghlan Signs New Deal
The Patrick signing wasn’t the only transaction the Golden Knights made this past week, as they were also able to get Coghlan signed to a new deal. The 23-year-old defenceman agreed to terms on a two-year deal that will carry an AAV of $762,500.
Coghlan, who was undrafted, played his rookie NHL season in 2020-21 with the Golden Knights. In 29 games, he recorded three goals and six points while averaging 13:29 minutes in ice time. He will likely be used in a depth role for the 2021-22 campaign, coming in and out of the lineup throughout.
Dean Making Great First Impression
While first-round picks are highly sought after in the NHL, the later they go into the round the lower the chances are that the pick eventually turns into a great player. However, the Golden Knights appear to have found a great one in Dean, who they selected 30th overall just a few months ago. The 18-year-old forward has impressed both coaching staff and management at the team’s rookie camp thus far. (from ‘David Schoen: Zach Dean flashes 1st-round talent at Golden Knights rookie camp’, Las Vegas Review Journal, 09/18/21).
“There’s some kids that you just look at right away and you go, ‘There’s something there.’ They show you right away,” Henderson Silver Knights coach Manny Viveiros said. “I’ve been really impressed with the (time) that I’ve seen him.”
In just his second season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, Dean recorded 10 goals and 20 points in 23 games. Barring a complete shocker, he will head back to the Gatineau Olympiques and continue to round out his game. Though he is nowhere near a finished product yet, there seems to be plenty to like so far.