Knights On Ice’s 2020-21 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. The KOI staff members created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that formed the final rankings.
Nicolas Roy was originally drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (No. 96 overall). He recently completed his second season with the Vegas Golden Knights after being acquired from Carolina in the Erik Haula trade.
At the time, Roy was coming off an impressive run with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers, who defeated the Chicago Wolves in the Calder Cup Final back in 2019. But Roy was considered an afterthought in Vegas’ salary-dump transaction and was viewed merely as organizational depth at the center position. Since then, Roy has proven to be much more than that and has solidified his role as a critical bottom-six forward for the Golden Knights, which explains his 11-spot jump in the rankings.
No. 6: Nicolas Roy
- Age: 24
- Position: Center
- Currently playing: Vegas Golden Knights
- Nationality: Canadian
Roy split his first season in Vegas between the Wolves and Golden Knights, recording seven goals and 22 points in 27 games with Chicago and five goals and 10 points in 28 games with Vegas. But he was forced to truly split his season, as he was sent to and from Chicago dozens of times before his final call-up in March, 2020.
By the time the 2019-20 season resumed in the bubble, Roy was a mainstay in the lineup and played in all 20 postseason games. He recorded a point in all three round-robin games as well as in Game 1 against Chicago while adding three points in the Vancouver series and one against Dallas.
This season, the 24-year-old native of Amos, Quebec recorded six goals and 15 points in 50 games, adding four goals and nine points in 20 playoff games.
Roy is signed through the end of next season on a deal that carries an AAV of just $750,000, making him one of Vegas’ best value players. That can’t be underestimated considering how cap-strapped the Knights were this past season and will be next year.
Roy made series-changing plays in all three rounds of the playoffs, but the most memorable one was the biggest goal of his career.
It was the kind of goal kids dream of scoring out on the pond or in the driveway.
The Knights were desperate for a win in Game 4 against Montreal to avoid what likely would have been an insurmountable 3-1 series deficit, and Roy delivered. Just 1:18 into overtime, Roy’s patience paid off as he lifted the puck over a scrambling Carey Price to even the series at 2-2.
It was his second goal in two games, and he extended the point streak to three games with an assist in Game 5. Though the Knights ultimately fell in six, it was not due to Roy’s play. In fact, he was one of Vegas’ most consistent skaters throughout the playoffs.
Roy continues to give the Knights’ third line more stability than in years past, and he remains a versatile forward capable of playing up and down the lineup.
He may not have taken a noticeable step forward in his development in the regular season, but he proved to be a clutch asset in the postseason — when it matters most — and continues to show flashes of a dynamic skill set that would suggest there is even more untapped upside in his game.
Previously in the Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 2020-21 Series:
Honorable mention: Layton Ahac
No. 25: Jonas Rondbjerg
No. 24: Jake Leschyshyn
No. 23: Paul Cotter
No. 22: Keegan Kolesar
No. 21: Ben Jones
No. 20: Marcus Kallionkieli
No. 19: Lukas Cormier
No. 18: Pavel Dorofeyev
No. 17: Brandon Kruse
No. 16: Peter DeLiberatore
No. 15: Connor Corcoran
No. 14: Ivan Morozov
No. 13: Isaiah Saville
No. 12: Jiri Patera
No. 11: Brendan Brisson
No. 10: Dylan Coghlan
No. 9: Kaedan Korczak
No. 8: Jack Dugan
No. 7: Lucas Elvenes