It was bound to be asked so Peter DeBoer was ready for the question.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ power play was dreadful in the playoffs last year, the worst of the 16 competing teams. The question was, “What’s being done to improve it?”
“It’s an emphasis,” DeBoer said following Day Two of the Golden Knights’ training camp at City National Arena. “It’s a priority for us. It has to be.”
To that end, the team spent the second part of Thursday’s time on the ice working on special teams. That meant the scrimmage was left to the players who will likely make up the Henderson Silver Knights with a few Golden Knights veterans sprinkled in.
How did it go? What’s changed? We’ll have to wait until Sunday’s preseason opener against the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena to find out. The portion of practice dedicated to the power play was held in the adjacent rink at City National Arena and was closed to the media and the public.
“As a group, we have to be better,” DeBoer said. “Players. Coaches. We’re looking at everything obviously. You look at what works, what doesn’t work. You look at what other teams do.
“I was with (Bruins coach) Bruce Cassidy during the summer at Banff and the Bruins had one of the top-five power plays in the league the last five, six years. Every time you have conversations with people like that, you come up with ideas that maybe can help you.”
The hope is the addition of Evgenii Dadonov will give the Knights’ power play a much-needed boost. Dadonov took part in the drills and was not part of Thursday’s scrimmage.
“(Dadonov) is very good on the power play; he put up good numbers in the past,” DeBoer said. “He’ll definitely be a part of what we do.”
Captain Mark Stone also alluded to Dadonov as part of the equation for power play success.
“He’s going to help us on the power play,” Stone said of the 32-year-old from Russia who had 22 PPG during a three-year period with the Florida Panthers from 2017-20.
DeBoer said having a seven-game preseason instead of a truncated schedule should benefit the special teams.
“We have a little longer runway to start,” he said. “I think that will work to our advantage.”
Three takeaways from Day 2 of training camp
1. Kolesar crushing it: Keegan Kolesar had two of the four goals for Team White in their 4-2 win over the Grey squad in Thursday’s scrimmage. Kolesar said he stayed in Las Vegas during the summer to work on getting himself in better shape.
“I worked with our strength coach (Doug Davidson) on some things and I’m just trying to carry it over to the ice,” Kolesar said.
2. 1-2-3 Breakout!: The Golden Knights want to be an efficient team when it comes to transitioning from defense to offense and they spent a good part of Thursday’s pre-scrimmage drills working on getting out of their own end.
We’re talking short, quick passes and finding the open space to exit the zone. The stretch passes got the day off.
3. Where’s Dean?: It kinda got lost in the fog of opening day but Zach Dean, the Golden Knights’ No. 1 pick from the 2021 NHL Draft, was not on the ice the first two days.
GM Kelly McCrimmon texted back “He’s got a minor injury” to an inquiry as to Dean’s whereabouts. Dean had participated in the team’s rookie camp and played in the Coyotes Rookie Faceoff Tournament, scoring a goal in the first game, a 5-2 loss to Arizona. The Knights don’t reveal details of injuries so it’s anyone’s guess when or if we see Dean in he preseason.Peter DeBoer