In the second year of franchise history that was always going to be tough to beat the wild inaugural season, the Vegas Golden Knights have somewhat struggled in comparison, going 5-5-1, hovering just over .500. One shining light however has been the sudden impact, not with the gloves but with the goals of Ryan Reaves.
Some regarded Ryan as a pro AHL’er and by his own admission he ‘never expected to get called up and just kept plugging away’. 9 years ago in the 10/11 season he broke out of Peoria and made the St. Louis Blues roster. Since then he has been tearing up the league but mainly people’s faces becoming the ever dying breed of hockey player… the enforcer.
When signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins and then subsequently traded to the Vegas Golden Knights, Reaves was never brought in for his offensive game. He was there for intimidation and to let the opposition know that his team were not going to be a pushed around. His stats highlight this and show exactly what you would expect from a fourth liner.
In 509 NHL games he has scored 34 goals and assisted 30 times. The most impressive numbers on his resume however are a jaw breaking 796 penalty minutes.
This season however there is a change to Ryan Reaves. After signing a new contract in the offseason with the Vegas Golden Knights for 2 years totalling $5,550,000, which some may say is too much for an enforcer and spent a lot of games last season as a healthy scratch. Since the start of the year he has scored 3 goals in 11 games. Although that may not seem a lot, compared to say William Karlsson who has 3 goals and Reilly Smith, the Golden Knights 1st line winger and “A” who also has 3 goals. Reaves is playing above and beyond. Which is something the Golden Knights could look back on at the end of the year and think ‘thank god’ and helps to keep them in the playoff hunt whilst the top line find their rhythm.
We all love a guy who will drop the gloves, it’s part of the game that is being ever ostracized in return for beautiful free flowing Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews style hockey. However a dodo that can put the puck in the net and help his team get the ‘W’ is a dodo that we can enjoy for a few more years.
By Jacob Bishop
All round lover of American sport. Discovered ice hockey when working in Canada. Re-discovered ice hockey following a move to Yorkshire and a ‘one off’ night at Sheffield Steelers, which quickly became a new addiction. Fan of the the NHL. Supporter of the Vegas Golden Knights.
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