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Golden Knights cotter making the most of NHL opportunity

Throughout the 2022-23 preseason, no player has been more impressive for the Vegas Golden Knights than Paul Cotter. After playing briefly for the team near the end of last season, the rookie winger has played six of his seven exhibition games, scoring two goals and scoring five points. .

That performance earned Cotter a spot on the opening night roster, where he remained in the lineup for the first four games of the regular season, scoring the game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on October 13.

As Cotter rises rapidly in the depth chart, many questions have to be asked about the future of some of the Golden Knights’ bottom six players. Let’s take a look at how Kotter got to where he is and why he’s been so effective.

Cotter: by the numbers

The 22-year-old has progressed well within the Golden Knights organization since being selected in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. After being drafted, Cotter soon became a regular in the American Hockey League (AHL), Chicago where he played for the Wolves and Henderson for the Silver He Knights, leading to a breakout season in 2021-22 and Silver for the Knights. He finished fourth as he scored 19 goals. He scored 34 goals in 54 games.

Kotter’s stats aren’t as spectacular as other prospects his age, but he makes the most of every opportunity given to him. He has averaged more than 1 point per game only once since he was 14 years old. In his 2016-17 season with the Brookings Blizzard of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), he scored 28 goals and 60 points in his 59 games, making him the NAHL Rookie of the Year and he was the NAHL Central’s best player. Selected as the best player. If he can approach that level of offensive production with the Golden Knights over the next few seasons, he could be one of the greatest draft selections in franchise history.

Paul Cotter Vegas Golden Knights
Paul Cotter, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / Hockey Writers)

Cotter’s ability to generate offense in a variety of ways allows him to fit anywhere in the lineup. As such, he has become a favorite among fans and of head coach Bruce Cassidy.After his first three regular season games in Vegas, Cotter has been of equal strength among forwards. In ice time he is ranked 4th and in the team he is ranked 9th. He has yet to see his playing opportunity for Power, but expects him to get a shot in the second unit at some point this season.

Cotter also ranks second on the team in (iHDCF) high-risk individual chances (even strength) with zero rushing attempts. These figures confirm vision tests that almost all of his attacks are due to good foresight. He works very well behind the net and is strong with defenders on his back. His habit of not carrying the puck and his attacking awareness make him a threat in front of the net or as a shooter from long range.

RELATED: Golden Knights Season Opening Win Shows Cassidy’s Value

Throughout the preseason and in the final three games, Cotter seems to be the type of player to thrive under Cassidy’s system. He never misses a shift and always seems to be in touch, ranking second in hits and first in hits in the Golden Knights. He’s sure to get more opportunities from a retired Boston Bruins coach. Yes, the sample size is very small, but there’s clearly a lot of goodwill in how well Cotter’s game has translated into the NHL so far, and this would be the perfect scenario for him to succeed. There is a possibility.

golden knights depth DIlemma

After William Carrier returned from an upper body injury and missed the first two games of the regular season, Jake Letichin and Michael Amadio have played in two of three games since the 1-0 win over the Blackhawks. and had a healthy wound. With too many forwards on the roster, there’s a good chance someone will be heading to the AHL in the coming weeks, and it’s not Cotter.

Michael Amadio Los Angeles Kings
Michael Amadio, Los Angeles Kings (Amy Irvin/Hockey Writers)

Like goalkeeper Logan Thompson, Cotter is still on an entry-level contract, which provides him with much-needed cap relief. The Golden Knights signed him to a three-year extension in August at an average annual salary of $775,000. If he continues to play at the level he has shown, the cap has the potential to make him one of the most valuable players on the team compared to his hits.

He is likely to stay in the organization longer than players like Michael Amadio, who scored 11 goals for the Golden Knights last season, and players like Keegan Kollcer. Offers a much higher offensive advantage.

In addition to having healthy internal competition to better each player, the organization also has reliable options that are familiar with the system. It must be a great feeling for the coaching staff, especially given the many injuries that have affected the team in the past.

Cotter earned the right to play for this team. His work ethic and attention to detail set him apart from many players his age, which could make him an NHL player for a long time. As of now, he’s playing in the third line alongside William Carlson and Jonathan Marcheso, and seems to have some chemistry on both ends of the ice together. continue to maintain momentum, but even with Cotter taking his place in the lineup, the competition within the bottom six will continue to be worth watching.