After the Vegas Golden Knights earned a 12-5 record in March, here’s a look at how the rookies helped secure those 12 victories. There are the usual suspects, Keegan Kolesar, Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud, as well as new rookie entry Dylan Coghlan. Here are their grades for the month:
March was a big month for the 23-year-old who scored his first-ever NHL goal on March 22, in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. He also chipped in on the assist sheet, with three assists in March, to give him a total of four points in 15 games. Overall, he looks much more at ease with the puck on his stick and seems to be getting used to the NHL.
The big man has also become a fan favourite in recent weeks, as people are starting to take notice of his undeniably strong work ethic, gritty play and his willingness to sacrifice the body. Kolesar played his best month of hockey in March and will look to build on that in April.
Final Grade for March: A
Coghlan, like Kolesar, also had a month of firsts in March; on March 10, he registered a hat trick against the Minnesota Wild. Not only did he register his first NHL goal in that game, he also became the first Golden Knights rookie to record a hat trick, and was the club’s first defenseman to do so.
Aside from Coghlan’s three-goal performance, he only managed one assist for the rest of the month. He is solid defensively and logged an average of 15:08 of ice time in March, but we have to wonder if he can do more.
Final Grade for March: B
A model of consistency on the Golden Knights’ blue line, with Whitecloud, what you see is what you get. He shows up every game, ready to play and on top of his defensive responsibilities. He’s not flashy by any means but his defensively sound play is the calibrator that brings balance to the offense laden Golden Knights back-end.
In March, Whitecloud was more consistent, posting three points in 17 games and a solid plus-2 rating while logging an average of 18:05 per game. His play may not be the most exciting player, but he gets the job done, and for a rookie to be taking on the defensive role most NHL veterans take on, he’s been impressive.
Final Grade for March: B+
An offensive dynamo, Hague has been a shining star for Vegas this season. The 6-foot-6 defenseman has impressed many, including myself, with his ability to maneuver with the puck and for using his frame to intimidate the opposition.
His stats were equally impressive in March, as he netted three goals and five assists in 17 games played. The Canadian also logged an average of 16:51 per game and a plus-4 rating.
Final Grade for March: A
The Golden Knights have another 17 games in April, so look for these rookies to make their case to secure help secure a spot in the lineup for Vegas’ impending playoff run. Who do you think deserves a higher or lower grade? Let me know in the comments below!
Michael Vidakis is a Montreal native who writes for the Vegas Golden Knights team here at The Hockey Writers. In his spare time, he enjoys the finer things in life such as Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, staring aimlessly outside windows and tangerines.