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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights See Promising Future Ahead For Zach Whitecloud

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Zach Whitecloud Vegas Golden Knights first responders night jerseys (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud.

You can catch up on the series here: Michael AmadioReilly SmithJonas RondbjergKeegan KolesarRobin LehnerAlex Pietrangelo, Nolan PatrickShea TheodoreJake LeschyshynMark StoneMax PaciorettyLaurent BrossoitMattias JanmarkWilliam CarrierJack EichelNicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, Ben Hutton, Dylan Coghlan, and Nicolas Hague.

Today’s player is Zach Whitecloud

ZACH WHITECLOUD

Zach Whitecloud Vegas Golden Knights official 2021-22 headshot

Stats: 59 GP 8-11-19 PTS
Contract: Six years left at $2.75 million
Games Missed: 23
Status: Healthy
VHN’s Grade: B+

Overall Thoughts

The Golden Knights are lucky. They have one of the deepest defensive corps in the entire National Hockey League. A huge part of this is the fresh batch of young NHL defensemen that are just emerging into the NHL with guys like Nicolas Hague, Dylan Coghlan, and even Daniil Miromanov.

But perhaps the most pleasant surprise has been college free agent signing Zach Whitecloud, who was stellar in 2021-22. I could gush about Whitecloud’s play as a two-way defenseman and emergence into the NHL as a regular in 21-22 all day.

Sensing his potential, Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon signed Whitecloud to a six-year extension in October which only carries an AAV of $2.75 million. If Whitecloud can continue his development into a top-4 defenseman, the Golden Knights have a steal of a contract on their hands.

Highlights

Whitecloud, like seemingly every member of the Golden Knights this past season, missed games due to injury. He was out with a wrist injury early on in the season but made his glorious return scoring two goals against the Detroit Red Wings.

Whitecloud led the Golden Knights in plus-minus in 21-22, finishing the season with a +21.

His defensive structure, combined with his offensive instincts combine for an all-around veteran presence for the Golden Knights, even though Whitecloud is in just his third true season in the NHL. Even with injuries to his wrist and foot, Whitecloud had a tremendous season for the VGK.

Along with Nicolas Roy and Logan Thompson, Whitecloud played for Team Canada at the 2022 IIHF World Championships in Finland and won a Silver Medal.

What’s Next?

Locked up to a six-year extension, the Golden Knights are betting on Whitecloud to be a regular in the lineup for them for many years to come. Whitecloud will only continue to get better and may force out some of the old guard as he continues to develop.

With the Golden Knights deep on defense, new head coach Bruce Cassidy will have the good problem of picking between 8-10 NHL-ready defensemen.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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