LAS VEGAS— Las Vegas Golden Knights rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud has gotten some rave reviews for his play this season.
Coming into the season with only one NHL game under his belt, this- 23 year-old got an extended look when on January 31st he was called up and has posted an assist along with four penalty minutes and an impressive +3 rating in 16 games.
In showing that he is impressed with Whitecloud’s play, Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer has given him more ice time as he continued to open up some eyes with not only management but fellow teammates as well.
“He’s had a lot of times where he’s had the puck on his stick and usually, I would’ve thrown it away when I was in my first year in the league,” Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “He’s played really well so far. He skates really well too, which helps. He’s only going to evolve as the year continues. The way he’s playing, he can find himself carving out a role like that for a long time.” Meanwhile coach DeBoer used the word “Excellent” to describe Whitecloud’s performance.
Whitecloud, who represents Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in Manitoba recently received a huge award in the form of security as he inked on Sunday, March 22nd a lucrative two- year extension with the Golden Knights worth $1.45 million dollars.
“Obviously it’s exciting news and something that I can tell my family and friends about,” he said. “It (entry level contract expiring) wasn’t something I was focusing on. I was just focusing on playing hockey and helping the team win.”
Prior to getting called up, Whitecloud was in the American Hockey League where he dressed for 35 games with the Chicago Wolves and scored two goals and seven points while accumulating 18 penalty minutes.
Last season Whitecloud spent the entire campaign with Chicago where in 74 regular season games he showed some offensive flair by scoring six goals and 28 points. In post season he thrived by adding 15 points and playing a big role in helping the Wolves make it to the finals.
Prior to getting the call in January, Whitecloud had only dressed in one NHL game which came in April 2018 on the road against the Buffalo Sabres.
“I’m extremely happy that it’s over now,” he said about signing the extension.
Currently the defenseman is of course in limbo as the NHL season has been halted due to the current world wide COVID-19 crisis.
Whitecloud is part of the young and talented group of NHL aboriginal defenceman which includes such names as Brandon Montour (Buffalo Sabres), Ethan Bear (Edmonton Oilers) and Travis Hamoric (Calgary Flames).