Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud missed almost two months due to injury during the middle of last season. Vegas Hockey Now’s Chris Gawlik caught up with Whitecloud during the VGK Knight to Remember Gala on February 13th.
The 26-year-old felt he was impatient and needed to mature a little bit. The press box is a tough place to be for a daily NHL defensemen, but Whitecloud used it as a learning experience.
Vegas Hockey Now’s Gawlik followed up with Whitecloud this past Friday to see how he applied patience into his game.
Whitecloud worked hard on his positioning. It is much easier to learn about positioning while watching a live game instead of watching video. “Balancing out and conserving energy. Being positionally sound at all times. Knowing where you are at on the ice and being efficient,” Whitecloud went on to say.
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Is it possible to conserve energy while playing against someone like Connor McDavid?
“There’s different spots on the ice where you can do that. Don’t get me wrong, don’t confuse that with being lazy,” Whitecloud on conserving energy.”
Whitecloud is looking to use his feet to create better plays this season. Some of Whitecloud’s best skill sets are how he moves pucks and his feet. “I use my feet to defend and that comes with using your stick. Everyone kinda knows how to do that,” Whitecloud mentioned when discussing efficiency.
It is clear Whitecloud is a student of the game who looks to his peers for learning opportunities. The third-line defensive pairing never gets a night off. The opposition’s coach is always looking to match up his top forward line against the other team’s third-line defensive pairing. One would think that would cause Whitecloud’s plus/minus to suffer. That is not the case. Whitecloud has been a plus-9, plus-21, and plus-10 in his first three full seasons with the Golden Knights.