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 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 rankings.
The Vegas Golden Knights may have struck out in the 2019 postseason, but they hit it out of the park a few months later in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. That’s what happens when you have the No. 17 overall selection but still come away with a top-10 pick.
Peyton Krebs would have gone earlier in the draft, but his stock took a hit due to a partially torn Achilles tendon, for which he underwent surgery a few weeks before the draft. He had had interviews with 23 clubs at the Scouting Combine that May, so there was widespread interest in the young forward. But in the end, it was the Golden Knights who didn’t balk at the opportunity to snag the Calgary, Alberta native, and they haven’t looked back since.
No. 4: Peyton Krebs
- Age: 20
- Position: Center
- Currently playing: Vegas Golden Knights
- Nationality: Canadian
Krebs played four seasons with the Winnipeg Ice (formerly Kootenay Ice), serving as captain in the final three. He amassed 231 points in 199 WHL games but could have racked up considerably more on a better team. Krebs has produced at more than a point-per-game pace in international competition.
The 2020-21 season was a busy one for the 5-foot-11, 180-pound center.
He recorded five points in five games with the Henderson Silver Knights before posting a league-high 43 points in just 24 games in his final WHL campaign. He was named WHL Player of the Year for his troubles.
Krebs also made his NHL debut this past season, and he did so at a critical point in the year for the Golden Knights. With just six regular-season games remaining, the Knights were fighting for playoff positioning, and five of those six games were against the other three West Division playoff teams. Calling Krebs up and putting him in a game at that point in the season was a statement.
It was a clear signal that the organization valued Krebs above other prospects, including recently-traded Cody Glass. While Krebs’ name is being thrown around in current trade rumors, that’s only because he is now Vegas’ true top prospect.
Though Krebs played some left wing in Henderson, he lined up in the middle in his first taste of NHL action, skating on the third line between Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy. He picked up his first NHL point in his first game with an assist on Tuch’s first-period strike.
Krebs expected the goal to get called back for offside, but it proved to be his first and only point at the NHL level.
That’s because he fractured his jaw when he took a puck to the face in his fourth game — May 8 against St. Louis — sidelining him indefinitely (though he was healthy and available late in the postseason).
The injury was a terrible blow for the budding star, though it serves as an example of his compete level and willingness to go to the front of the net. Krebs looked very comfortable on the ice, and his skill set was on full display. He eventually made his way up to the top line, where he played left wing in place of the injured Max Pacioretty. The Knights went 3-1 with Krebs in the lineup.
Krebs exudes speed with and without the puck, and he is great in transition. The 200-foot forward is an excellent passer and an exceptional playmaker with great hockey sense. He’s competitive, versatile and exciting to watch, and he has enormous potential.
Peyton Krebs (@GoldenKnights) went all the way off yesterday, picking up 3 assists and then scoring a go-ahead goal in the 3rd period for the @WHLWpgICE in @TheWHL action.#VegasBorn https://t.co/TNZRuMOTaa pic.twitter.com/BTtKL1BXPb— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) April 19, 2021
Plus, as he demonstrated in Vegas, he’s not afraid to go to the net.
Peyton Krebs goes between his own legs for the goal! pic.twitter.com/ID2UpBq4pW— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 1, 2021
Considered a workaholic, Krebs is always focused on improving his game. He routinely took 100 one-timers after practice in his time in the WHL, focusing on his release from different areas in the zone: 40 one-timers from the blue line, 40 from the faceoff circle and 20 off backdoor feeds.
It’s not just his one-timer that finds its way to the back of the net, though.
His work ethic translates on the ice. The 20-year-old has found success at every level and will continue to elevate his game with a full professional season under his belt in 2021-22. Whether that’s with the Silver or Golden Knights remains to be seen, though it likely will be a combination.
Krebs is waiver exempt and did not burn off the first year of his entry-level deal since he played only four games; he is signed through 2023-24.
Krebs already proved that he can compete at the NHL level. Whether or not he gets an extended run this season is unclear, particularly with the acquisition of Nolan Patrick, but Krebs’ dynamic abilities will be welcomed no matter where he plays.
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
No. 6: Nicolas Roy
No. 5: Nicolas Hague