With playoffs not on the schedule this spring for the Vegas Golden Knights, the team held their end-of-season locker room cleanout day and final media availability on Tuesday. Head coach Peter DeBoer, general manager Kelly McCrimmon, and a collection of players met with the media to discuss the team’s disappointing season.
DeBoer kicked off the press conference by providing an update on his status with the team. He stated that he will meet with general manager Kelly McCrimmon and members of the Golden Knight’s upper management next week to discuss his future with the team.
Per CapFriendly, DeBoer has one year left on his deal with the Golden Knights.
“I want to be back. I want to coach this team again. We never got a chance to do what we’re capable of doing. We’re excited about this group. This type of season has to fuel you for next year,” said DeBoer.
The impact that injuries had on this year’s roster was discussed heavily Tuesday morning. The Golden Knights had over 500 man-games lost to injury in 2021-22. Even though they don’t like to make excuses DeBoer, and several players on the team talked about how much of an impact this had on their success.
“I’m not using injuries as an excuse but we never had an opportunity to get the whole group together. At the end, we had a little stretch and I thought it looked dangerous.”
“The reality of this season when I look back 10 years from now is the 500 man-games lost. That bled into everything. If we had average health we would have had 105 points and if we had average health plus we would have been competing for a President’s Trophy,” DeBoer told SinBin.Vegas.
DeBoer went on to confess that he used the word ‘healthy’ this season a little too prematurely. He stated that to him, a player being healthy meant that they could play. DeBoer said that he used the word ‘healthy’ somewhat misleadingly when talking about injuries this season. He also added that he would have not started Robin Lehner late in the season if he thought he was compromised due to injury.
One last thing from the injury standpoint- DeBoer told Jesse Granger of The Athletic that Laurent Brossoit would have an offseason “medical procedure,” likely meaning surgery.
The same goes for Robin Lehner, who will have his shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
On a more positive note, the Golden Knight’s players took to the podium after DeBoer and discussed their hopes for a rebound season next year.
“We like what we have here. Everyone feels strongly that we have what it takes,” said Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty, who will be entering a contract year in 2022-23.
The Golden Knights missed the playoffs by just four points. Defenseman Shea Theodore stated that he was confident that if they made the playoffs, they could have done some damage.
“There’s never been a lack of work. I’m confident in the group that we will embrace this opportunity to get better and be stronger for it. It probably sounds like a lot of BS but it actually is true. If guys embrace this the right way, we can be even better going forward,” said defenseman Alec Martinez.
Stay tuned with Vegas Hockey Now all throughout the offseason for updates on the Golden Knights. So far a few moves have been made by McCrimmon such as the signing of Brendan Brisson. The NHL Draft Lottery is one week from today, but the Golden Knights will not be a part of it given that they traded their first-round pick in the Jack Eichel deal.