Peyton Krebs’ NHL debut could be on the horizon.
The Golden Knights’ top prospect has joined the club in St. Paul and could be an option when they face the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.
“Anybody that’s with us has both the potential of playing, and also our confidence that they can come in and play,” said Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer. “Anybody that’s healthy enough is an option to play.”
Krebs, the Golden Knights’ first-round pick in 2019, just wrapped up his final — albeit shortened — junior season with the Winnipeg Ice. The three-year captain posted a league-high 43 points in 24 games.
Twenty-five of those points came in 14 games during April, en route to Krebs being named the WHL’s Player of the Month.
The 20-year-old forward was added to the Golden Knights’ taxi squad on Saturday.
Prior to reporting to WHL Winnipeg, Krebs suited up for five games with the Henderson Silver Knights, averaging a point per game (1G, 4A). Silver Knights coach Manny Viverios said Krebs was on pace to join Henderson as early as last weekend, and likely play with the AHL club for the rest of the season.
Plans change quickly in a unique pandemic-ran season.
Max Pacioretty is a game-time decision after not playing in the third period of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win at Arizona. There wasn’t enough on the tape to see where Pacioretty was injured Saturday, but not serious enough to keep him away from the remainder of this road trip.
Krebs is a natural center but showed strides in Henderson playing on the left. This isn’t to say Krebs fills in at 1LW and plays on the same line as Mark Stone in his NHL debut, but it could be a possibility.
If Pacioretty does go, Krebs would be a viable third-line option with Mattias Janmark and Alex Tuch.
Krebs got a feel for NHL action when he joined the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Playoff bubble in Edmonton. He took warmups prior to some playoff games, giving some indication he was close to getting into the lineup at 19 years old.
Upon returning from the World Juniors tournament, playing on a stacked Team Canada lineup and placing second, there was growing intrigue Krebs could crack the lineup out of training camp.
“Peyton’s a great kid,” Tuch said. “I think I know the type of player that he is. If he’s in the lineup tonight, he’s going to fit right in.”
Per NHL entry-level rules, Krebs would have to play seven games in order to burn the first year of his entry-level contract. That includes the Stanley Cup Playoffs, should Krebs be an option. There are six games left in the season. Surely it’s a coincidence.
For Krebs to be on the main roster this late in the season should speak volumes. The AHL will not have a Calder Cup postseason, but the Pacific Division will hold its own tournament to determine the division champions. The Silver Knights have three games remaining before that tournament begins.
It’s possible Krebs is sent down to Henderson at the end of the regular season and be available for the impromptu postseason competition. Or he plays so well in these final six games that he becomes a fixture for a Stanley Cup Playoff team.
The Krebs Era has arrived in some facet, and it might start tonight.
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Paciroetty — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Peyton Krebs — Mattias Janmark — Alex Tuch
William Carrier — Nicolas Roy — Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud
How to watch
Time: 5 p.m.
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM