Paul Cotter had to sit in his compression therapy NormaTec boots for around an hour on Monday. The 22-year-old winger is one of three Vegas Golden Knights players that is coming off playing back-to-back preseason games amidst NHL training camp. Surely he is enjoying the day off today for the VGK.
Cotter is in contention to make the Golden Knights lineup fresh out of training camp. He got another look against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday alongside Jonas Rondbjerg and Jake Leschyshyn.
With these three players all being in similar positions as Henderson Silver Knights looking to crack the NHL, they often get grouped into one collective bunch. In reality, the three have very different play styles, with one of them standing out above all else so far in training camp; and that’s Cotter.
“I mean, if you look at it, we all kind of have different roles. Jake’s a really good defensive centerman, and Jonas has a great shot and is good defensively… I think I can mix in a little bit more physicality and skill. So we all have different roles that kind of just depends on what spots open,” said Cotter.
He is getting praise from his coaches, who told him that if he continues to play like this, then everything will work out for him at the NHL level.
“Paul was good again… He has answered in both games. So I suspect we will see more of Paul here going forward. He has certainly earned that,” said Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Cassidy also commemorated Cotter, Leschyshyn, and Rondbjerg’s time in the minors.
“They have spent time in Henderson. That is part of it when you have a good team. They get their seasoning in, and at some point, they push through. Is this the year? It very well could be,” said Cassidy, who himself spent a great bit of time in AHL with the Providence Bruins.
As more of a power-forward, consistency will play a big part in Cotter’s chances of making the lineup. Last season in his limited seven-game NHL debut stint, he scored two goals in his first four games but then went scoreless in the next three before being sent back down to Henderson.
“I think the more opportunity I get, the more I can show what I can do… A big thing for me is consistency. I thought I played great in the first (preseason) game, and a lot of coaches came up to me and told me that if I play like that again, it’s going to be great. So consistency is probably the biggest thing that I would need,” added Cotter.
In total, Cotter scored 34 points in 59 games with the Silver Knights and two in seven with the VGK.
Projected Lineup With Cotter
With the Golden Knights shedding Max Pacioretty, Evgenii Dadonov, and Mattias Janmark in the offseason, the opportunity for Cotter to snag a roster position at wing is there.
Based on training camp lines, he will have to fight for a spot against Michael Amadio, Brett Howden, and Keegan Kolesar, among others.
As a hypothetical, here are both our projected lines along with Cassidy’s. It looks like there is a spot open for Cotter in the bottom six either as a third or fourth-line winger. But things can change.
It should also be worth mentioning that William Carrier is currently day-to-day with a mid-body injury.
Cassidy’s Lines: Smith- Eichel- Kessel, Marchessault- Stephenson- Stone, Howden- Karlsson- Amadio, Carrier- Roy- Kolesar/Rondbjerg- Leschyshyn- Cotter
Our Lines: Stephenson- Eichel- Stone, Marchessault- Karlsson- Smith, Cotter- Roy- Kessel, Carrier- Howden- Kolesar or Amadio