Golden Knights have tough guy with touch in Keegan Kolesar

Updated June 28, 2017 - 8:01 pm

Keegan Kolesar wasn’t born when Gerard Gallant was playing in the NHL. But the 20-year-old right wing from Winnipeg has a game that mirrors how the Golden Knights’ coach once played.

Kolesar is a rugged 6 feet, 2 inches and weighs 223 pounds. He’s not afraid to be physical and he also has a scorer’s touch. Last year, he had 26 goals and 60 points for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.

But what catches your eye is the 101 penalty minutes. Kolesar will battle, not just for himself, but for his teammates. Just like Gallant did and the way Milan Lucic does for the Edmonton Oilers.

“(Gallant) was jabbing me on the side and telling me that we were pretty similar and play the same kind of game,” said Kolesar, who is participating in the Knights’ development camp at the Las Vegas Ice Center. “I’ll have to go on YouTube and watch him.”

A third-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015, Kolesar has every intention of playing physical for Gallant. But it’s likely he’ll start the season in Chicago playing for the Wolves of the American Hockey League. When Knights general manager George McPhee traded for Kolesar last Saturday during the second round of the entry draft, it likely was with the Wolves in mind.

“You want to make the big club,” Kolesar said. “You train hard all summer to play in the NHL. I’ll put my best foot forward and whatever happens, happens.

“I need to work on my quickness. After watching the season and the Stanley Cup playoffs, everything gets higher and higher as you go on and everything is quicker. Even the drills we do out here at the development camp, the skating, the passing and shooting drills, everything is done quicker.”

Tough guy with touch

Wolves coach Rocky Thompson is working the Knights’ development camp so he’s getting a first-hand look at Kolesar.

“I see a lot of potential in his game,” Thompson said. “He’s got great size, good skill and he plays with his head up. He has an edge to his game that I like.

“I want him to learn to play with pace consistently, play short shifts but with high energy.”

While Kolesar is tough, he has touch when it comes to handling the puck. He knows where the net is as evidenced by the 75 goals he scored for Seattle over the last three seasons.

“I always believed I had the ability, and as I got older and had more scoring opportunities, I started to shoot more,” he said. “Once you start to score, it gives you more confidence.”

But his tough-guy reputation is never far away. He said there were more than a fair share of fighting majors in his 101 penalty minutes last year.

“I’m sure the majority of those were for fighting,” he said. “Either I had to stand up for my teammates or I had to stand up for myself. I try to play an honest game and not be chippy.”

He was on the same line with Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp, two of the Thunderbirds’ highly-skilled players. Part of his responsibility was to see that no one messed with Seattle’s big guns. But Barzal had his back, too.

“It’s funny, Barzy stood up for me one time,” Kolesar said. “We were playing Spokane and I got dusted from behind. The next thing I know, he’s asking the guy to fight.

“I can’t remember if he fought the guy or not, but the thought was there and I definitely appreciated him doing that.”

He’ll probably find himself being challenged in training camp and in the preseason. But he’s coming back to training camp to compete, regardless of where he winds up starting the season.

“No player wants some young kid taking his job or show them up,” he said. “It’s a job at this point. I expect everyone’s best. But I want everyone to take me seriously and not treat me like a little kid.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Steve Carp at or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights Perron and Neal were key contributors on the second line for the Knights, helping the expansion team to the Pacific Division and Western Conference championships. Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the Knights have not made a new contract offer since the season ended. Neal turned down a five-year, $25 million offer from the Knights at the trade deadline, according to the Calgary Sun.
Golden Edge 2018 NHL Draft Recap
Bryan Salmond Recaps The Vegas Golden Knights 2018 Draft picks Rounds 2-7.
Golden Edge : NHL Draft Round 1
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the first round of the NHL Draft picks and the rumors surrounding the Knights recruiting Ilya Kovalchuk.
Golden Knights 2018 NHL Draft Preview
Golden Edge video host Bryan Salmond provides a preview heading into the 2018 NHL Draft and Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee discusses how the team has prepared for it.
Golden Knights Release Schedule For 2018-19 NHL Season
Golden Knights release schedule for 2018-19 NHL season. The Golden Knights will play five of their first six games on the road. The Knights are at Washington on Oct. 10 in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final and face Pittsburgh the following night. The NHL previously announced the Knights open the season at home Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 21
Golden Edge: Knights Take Home Four Awards
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the NHL awards where the Golden Knights won in four of the categories.
George McPhee On Winning General Manager Of The Year
Golden Knights General Manager George Mcphee talks about winning General Manager of the Year and the Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland On Winning Mark Messier Award
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about winning the Mark Messier award how much impact a team can have on a community.
Gerard Gallant On Winning Jack Adams Award
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about winning the Jack Adams award at the NHL Awards.
William Karlsson On Winning The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
William Karlsson goes over the Golden Knights season and him winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like