TAMPA, Fla. — Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant couldn’t offer much insight on Valentin Zykov prior to the All-Star break since the winger saw limited ice time in his first appearance with the club.
Now that Zykov has played in back-to-back games, Gallant has a better idea of what the 23-year-old Russian brings.
“I think he’s got some offense,” Gallant said Monday. “Definitely he scored a lot of goals in the American (Hockey) League last year. He’s got to do that in the NHL. You’ve got to give him the opportunity to do it.”
Gallant is giving Zykov every chance to succeed after he was claimed on waivers from Edmonton on Dec. 29.
Zykov logged a career-high 17:32 of ice time in the Knights’ 3-1 loss at Florida on Saturday and finished with three shots on goal skating with center William Karlsson and left wing Jonathan Marchessault.
He remained on that line during Monday’s practice at Amalie Arena.
Zykov led the AHL last season with 33 goals, but his situation is similar to that of winger Brandon Pirri, who is best suited as a top-six forward.
Now that Zykov is being given an extended look in that role, it’s up to him to produce.
In 21 games this season with Carolina, Edmonton and the Knights, Zykov has three assists. He’s posted four goals and seven assists in 33 career NHL games.
“He’s getting some opportunity right now, and you start to see a little bit more of a game from him,” Gallant said. “He’s a good kid. He’s getting used to his teammates. We’ll give him the opportunity, and as long as he’s playing well, he’s going to be in our lineup.”
Goaltender Malcolm Subban, who has missed the past eight games with an undisclosed injury, joined the team at practice Monday.
Subban hopped on the ice toward the end of the 45-minute workout and continued to face shots after most of his teammates had departed.
Subban was not activated from injured reserve, and Maxime Lagace also remained with the Knights for the time being.
The team is scheduled to practice in Detroit on Wednesday, and Subban could be ready as early as Thursday.
While the rain falls in Las Vegas, the Knights enjoyed the Florida sunshine during their day off Sunday.
Marchessault said he and several teammates headed to the beach and played volleyball before watching the Super Bowl. The team traveled to Tampa on Monday morning.
“It was awesome,” Marchessault said. “It was good for the mental part of the game, and hopefully, we can get back on the winning track.”