2021-22 Player Review: Zach Whitecloud Showed Flashes of Brilliance This Season

Whitecloud is the truth.

In the 2021-22 Player Review series, we will evaluate the 2021-22 performances of each key member of the Golden Knights. Players were evaluated based on overall performance in the regular season with regard to pre-season expectations and how that player performed in his particular role.

Zach Whitecloud had a very interesting year, and showed glimpses of the player he can be for the Vegas Golden Knights when healthy. He had the misfortune of having to undergo surgery on his hand, breaking his foot, and sitting out some time with a back injury. He also tested positive for COVID-19 toward the end of the year, and we really hope that 2022-23 gives him a chance to play an uninterrupted season.

Season In Review

Whitecloud skated in 59 games (4 in October, 5 in November, 12 in December, 9 in January, 2 in February, 13 in March, and 13 in April) and posted career highs in goals, assists, and points. He ended 2021-22 with a line of 8-11-19, and averaged 18:48 per game.

His overall GAR (goals above replacement) number this year was 13.2, and here’s a look at how he arrived there via Evolving-Hockey.com

  • Even Strength Offense — 8.9
  • Even Strength Defense — 5.7
  • Power Play Offense — 0
  • Shorthanded Defense — -1.8
  • Penalties Taken — 0.5
  • Penalties Drawn — -0.1/

Whitecloud had really solid impacts both offensively and defensively, and it was smart of the team to extend him when they did. He inked a six-year deal that pays him $2.75 million a year, and that’s a contract that will look like an amazing bargain for many years to come.

Whitecloud had very strong underlying numbers, and he ended the season with an expected goals for percentage of 55.79, a Corsi for percentage of 53.23, and a goals for percentage of 57.92. At 5v5 he was generated 3.37 goals for per 60, and allowing just 2.45 goals against which is a pretty nice ratio. He logged 984 minutes, and was utilized throughout the team’s defense pairings, with his most frequent partner being Shea Theodore.

Looking Ahead

Whitecloud is a really special defender who came into his own this past season. The Golden Knights have him locked up on an amazing contract, and he projects to provide solid value offensively and defensively. Defense is certainly a strength of Vegas in which Alex Pietrangelo and Theodore get a lot of headlines and attention, but don’t sleep on Whitecloud and the impact he’s had and will continue to have for the Golden Knights going forward.

Knights On Ice grade: A

How would you grade Whitecloud’s season?