With Vegas in their summer season and sights set on the coming 2019-2020 season, several rumors are circulating about some fan favorites. There are talks of trades, new signings, and what to do with the free agents on Vegas’ hand. This includes popular defenseman Deryk Engelland.
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Engelland’s Passion for Las Vegas
He won the hearts of several fans before the Golden Knights truly got their start. After the horrible events of 1 October, he leaped into action and tried to help those affected and the community whenever possible. This ranged from delivering supplies to fire stations and blood banks to visiting the convention center and hospitals. Who could ever forget his passionate speech during the home opener, declaring that “We are Vegas Strong”?
His charitable work hasn’t stopped there, of course. With his family, he launched Engelland’s Vegas Born Heroes Foundation. The sole purpose of the foundation is to recognize and reward charities and community members who go above and beyond selflessly for others, for the benefit of Las Vegas.
There are other organizations and events he gets involved with as well. The Las Vegas Firefighters Youth Hockey charity game has seen generous support from Engelland, and so has Tyler’s Kicks. Hockey, a family, and all of this community support really has him working hard!
His off-ice work can only be mirrored by the large amount of work he puts in on the ice as well. It’s no doubt that he has been quite the defender for Vegas since their inception. In the 2018-2019 season alone, he blocked 152 shots (17th in the NHL) and had 165 hits. In 2017-2018, he blocked 150 shots and had 126 hits.
What Could Possibly Happen
If Vegas does not extend an offer to Engelland by July 1, he will be an unrestricted free agent. With so many free agents coming on the market for the Golden Knights, what’s an organization to do about Engo?
He has gone on the record as saying that he would love to play a few more seasons, and would like to be re-signed by the team. With how much he does for the community, it would be refreshing to see him stay a bit longer, but is it practical statistics-wise?
As mentioned earlier, he had an impressive 152 blocked shots this season. That’s the most of any of Vegas’ defensemen. The next highest belongs to Brayden McNabb at 139, followed by Nate Schmidt at 100 and Shea Theodore at 91. However, this might just be his only impressive defense stat this year.
When we look at takeaways, Theodore is king with 82. Schmidt is next with 45, and McNabb is behind him at 37. Engelland has 26. Theodore comes out on top in terms of points as well, with 37 for this season. Schmidt had 30, Colin Miller had 29, and Engelland had 12.
At 37 years old, Engelland is no spring chicken in hockey years. The other defensemen are younger and quicker than he is. Instead of signing him on for defense, perhaps the money would be better spent on someone else. But if that’s the case, where could Vegas possibly put Engelland?
Like many retired NHL players, it makes sense for Engelland to continue to stay in the field of hockey. Here are some positions that Deryk may possibly be qualified for, and enjoy doing:
*Coach- He could help coach the Jr Golden Knights or the team could use him as a defensive coach assistant.
*Athletic Trainer: He’s 37, still in shape to play in the NHL, and doesn’t even get hurt very often: He’s obviously learned how to keep his body in shape and prevent injuries. He’s also a hard worker off the ice. He could be a great asset to the other players on the team in this way.
*Vegas Golden Knights Foundation: He has experience with charity work and knows the city well enough to know where to allocate funds from the foundation. Plus he could help bring in a lot more money to the foundation.
*There is also the possibility of an office job for him. Every sports team has a Community Relations Director or Manager. Who better to serve in that kind of position than the person who’s probably the most involved in the Las Vegas community?
In short, Engelland could retire on the ice as a Golden Knight and still stay involved with the organization, in the city he’s called home for so many years. It would be a win for him, and for the organization as well.
If an offer sheet doesn’t come across his path and he does become an UFA, Engelland has said that he would explore his options in an open market. He may not have some of the hottest numbers like the young guns, but with his ties and interactions in the community, it would be difficult (and a shame, in my opinion) to see him go.
If you had a say, what would you do to see Engelland stay involved with the organization?