VGK's Deryk Engelland Talks Next Season After Stanley Cup Run

July 26, 2018 - 12:30 pm

LAS VEGAS - After wrapping up the best season of his NHL career with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, defenseman Deryk Engelland has been letting the glory of the first, record-breaking 2017-18 season sink in a bit.

“You don't go anywhere without seeing a Golden Knights something, driving down the highway, stickers or hats or shirts wherever it is,” he says. “We go to other cities around the country and you're seeing the same thing, so it's good … .”

Engelland stopped by Entercom Las Vegas Wednesday to talk about the whirlwind inaugural VGK season.

Engelland said even his kids have caught the buzz, quickly realizing their dad, who finished with a career-best 18 assists and 23 points this season, might not be like the others in the proverbial carpool line.

“My oldest understands it enough,” Engelland says. “After the expansion, where[ever] we went in town he was like, ‘My dad's not going to be a Flame anymore, he's going to be a Golden Knight.’ Everyone. Grocery store. Didn't matter. My youngest likes hockey, wants to watch it and play it in the living room or go skating, but I don't think he quite understands.”

And while finishing three games short of the big prize stung, with some distance from the loss, Engelland is reflective and upbeat—and incredibly humble—about the history-making moves that the expansion team made.

“This is my eighth year, and I've never made it past the second round, so for our team to get to where we were, as much as it stung, I look back on the year and take a lot of great things … it's been a lot of fun, and I know I speak for all the guys on the team that they're excited to get going,” he says.

As the Knights take the ice again, though, a few familiar faces will be missing, as forwards James Neal and David Perron recently departed. And with anything, even for a guy who spends most of his time on the ice, it’s an ease-back-into-it process. “I started skating Monday. I skated three times this week. Three times next week and then five days [the] week after,” Engelland says. “It didn't feel very good out there. It was my first time back. [I’m] a little rusty, but that'll come around.”

The 36-year-old Canadian has a long love affair with Las Vegas, literally, and signed a one-year contract extension in January with the hopes of playing for a few more seasons and hitting the big 4-0.

“I moved down here in 2003 to play with the Wranglers, and my wife moved here from Wisconsin for school, and we just fell in love with the city and the people,” he says. “A couple summers we spent elsewhere, but it always brought us back here to Vegas, and it's home now. Our roots are here, and we are excited to be a part of this community for a long time.”

Because of their knowledge of the city, Engelland and his wife, Melissa, became unofficial Las Vegas ambassadors for the new team, helping the wives and girlfriends get situated throughout their transitions to the desert.

“[Melissa] sent out [info] to all the girls with restaurants, where to live, doctors, pediatricians, everything. I think it went a long way and helped out a lot.”

Looking forward to next season, he says that he’s not sure whether the Vegas Golden Knights will finally pick a captain or keep up with the alternate captain format, of which he is one. “I think with our team, we have so many great leaders in that room, and it's made every guy’s job a little bit easier,” Engelland says. “There's a lot of guys that could wear a C in our locker room. Either way, I don't think anyone is too heartbroken or disappointed if there's not a captain. Everyone throws in their input, and it's a collective decision on anything we are doing.”

One thing that he doesn’t anticipate changing is the team dynamic, nor Marc-André Fleury’s reputation as the team prankster.

“[He hasn’t done anything to me,] but we are pretty good buddies, so hopefully he keeps it that way. He hasn't done anything too bad, but usually that stuff, you lean toward the younger guys. [But] he's definitely committed. He'll set it up 30 minutes before and wait to jump on his prey,”  Engelland laughs.

You can listen to the complete interview with Engelland below.