Deryk Engelland, the Golden Knights’ somewhat captain, won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award Wednesday night. From the speech he made on the Oct. 10 home opener to helping the team get to the Stanley Cup Final, Engelland showed leadership throughout the season.
The Messier award is traditionally presented to the best captain in the NHL, and past winners include Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Chelios. Engelland is the first non-captain to win the award, even though he was clearly the team’s primary leader all season.
Engelland was one of the public faces of the Golden Knights throughout the year and the sole Las Vegas local of the group. He was there the night of the expansion draft, and he was there even before then.
“Just to be up there with Mark Messier, for what he’s done for the game, it’s a huge honor,” said Engelland. “I think every guy in our sport wants to be in the community they’re playing in and get out there and do what they can, whether it’s charities or schools. I’m sure there’s a handful of guys, just on our team, that could be up here. Honestly, it’s an honor.”
Perhaps Engelland’s biggest role on the team was as a veteran mentor on a young blue line. A young blue line that helped the Golden Knights become the eighth-best team in terms of goals allowed, even with Marc-Andre Fleury getting injured early in the year.
“It’s been a remarkable season,” he said. “It was a great group of guys that did a tremendous job putting the group together. For myself, I know there are a lot of guys in our locker room that could be here right now in my place. When we look back on this season, it’s going to be special.”