Knights On Ice’s 2019-20 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. Six Knights On Ice writers created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that forms the final ballot.
Coming in at No. 17 is forward Nicolas Roy, whom Vegas acquired from Carolina in the Erik Haula deal earlier this summer.
Roy, originally drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round (No. 96 overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is coming off an impressive postseason run with the Charlotte Checkers during which he scored six goals and 15 points while posting a team-best plus-15 rating in 19 games en route to (ironically) defeating the Chicago Wolves in the Calder Cup Final.
No. 17: Nicolas Roy
Age: 22 (February 5, 1997)
Size: 6-foot-4, 205 pounds
Roy scored 17 goals and 36 points in 69 games during the regular season last year, though 26 of them came in the first 33 games. Despite an underwhelming second half, Roy rediscovered his scoring touch as he played a crucial role throughout the Checkers’ championship run.
Golden Knights management had a front-row seat to the final stretch of that performance as Roy recorded three goals and four points in the five-game series against Vegas’ AHL affiliate. Clearly, he made an impression.
“He stood out; we really didn’t have an answer for him,” Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee said following the Haula trade.
“He’s a big man. I talked to some of our players that were in that series about him, and it seemed like every time they dropped the puck, he won the faceoff and we were chasing him. He was a big man that went hard to the net. He just stood out to us. He was a pretty dominant player.”
The native of Amos, Quebec (who, by the way, pronounces his name like Roy Rogers, not Patrick Roy) had 28 goals and 74 points in 141 regular-season games with the Checkers.
In the two years prior to the start of his AHL career, Roy posted a combined 170 points in 116 games for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL. He also scored three goals and four points in seven games in the 2017 World Juniors, where he was one of Canada’s most consistent forwards.
The 22-year-old has seven games of NHL experience under his belt but has yet to record a point in the big leagues. However, he hasn’t looked out of place when he’s gotten the call-up.
His 52.38 Corsi For percentage in six games with the Canes last season was impressive (even for a limited sample size), though it’s important to keep in mind that Carolina is one of the best possession clubs in the league.
Interestingly, he’s already gotten a taste of T-Mobile Arena action after squaring off against the Knights in a Nov. 3 meeting last season in which he recorded two hits, one block, one giveaway and two takeaways in 7:03 of ice time.
Roy is a hard-working two-way center who is strong on the forecheck and in the dots. He has a great shot and very smooth hands, especially for his size.
Carolina Hurricanes prospect Nicolas Roy steals and snipes to make it 3-1 Canada pic.twitter.com/9WDjuVdy8n— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 27, 2016
He’s been used on both the power play and penalty kill and has shown he can put up points in all situations.
Nicolas Roy with the snipe on the power play to give Canada a lead pic.twitter.com/FclY2dCd69— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 6, 2017
In fact, two of his six goals in the Calder Cup Playoffs came while short-handed, including this late-period strike against the Toronto Marlies.
Noted Shorthanded Goal Scorer Nicolas Roy doing his thing pic.twitter.com/GWQ9pG1r80— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) May 25, 2019
Roy will have a chance to compete for a fourth-line role in training camp, though actually making the team seems like a long shot.
“At training camp, we’ll decide if [Roy’s] ready to play here, and if so where,” McPhee said after the trade. “There will be lots of competition, which is what you want, but we just thought to get a 22-year-old player with this kind of upside, that sort of rounds out our center ice.”
Given Vegas’ cap situation, it’s unlikely Roy will make the final cut for this year, though there’s certainly potential for him to play a bottom-six role for Vegas moving forward. Plus, it’s possible he could be looked to sooner rather than later should Vegas encounter injuries down the middle.
At the very least, he gives Chicago impressive depth as the Wolves get set to take another crack at the Calder.
Nicolas Roy turns the goalkeeper around with a nifty move and scores pic.twitter.com/XqI8dsV4S9— Heart of NHL (@HeartofNHL) September 9, 2017
Previously in Vegas Golden Knights Preseason 2019 Top 25 Under 25: