Thursday, July 16, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Peyton Krebs came to a stop near the boards, where two Golden Knights teammates greeted the 19-year-old forward with a stick tap on the shin pad and a few words of encouragement.
As the drill continued, forward Reilly Smith chatted up Krebs while the two waited in line.
The Knights made sure the prized prospect was settling in during his first day of training camp.
“I think the most important thing is to make them feel as welcome as possible,” center William Karlsson said. “Go talk to him, ask how he is, stuff like that.
“Make him feel like he’s one of the guys, and I think the guys are doing a good job with that, too. As far as on the ice, he’s a very talented kid. He’s going to be very successful in the National Hockey League.”
Krebs, a first-round pick in 2019, practiced for the first time Tuesday at City National Arena after finishing his NHL-mandated quarantine.
He did not participate in development camp last summer and missed rookie/training camp last fall while rehabbing a partially torn Achilles before returning to his junior team in the Western Hockey League.
Krebs posted 60 points in 38 games for the Winnipeg Ice before the WHL season was paused March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Soon after, Krebs was informed by Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon that he would be considered for the expanded roster if the NHL season resumed, an indicator of how highly he’s thought of by the organization.
“I took that and really worked hard, didn’t take a day off from the end of my (junior) season,” Krebs said. “Been working out every day, and once the rinks opened up, I obviously started skating. I just wanted to prepare myself. At least if I didn’t get the call, I know I’d be prepared.”
Krebs lived with Knights right wing Mark Stone and his fiancée, Hayley Thompson, last fall and said he was moving in with them Tuesday after spending his quarantine in an apartment.
Stone is known for opening his home to top prospects and did the same for former first-round pick Brady Tkachuk when they played together in Ottawa.
“He’s a big mentor for me,” Krebs said, “and I’m very thankful to have that.”
After playing center throughout his career, Krebs skated at left wing on a line with veteran center Patrick Brown and right wing Reid Duke during Tuesday’s line rushes and scrimmage that was open to the media.
Coach Pete DeBoer said the Knights will take their time deciding whether Krebs will make the 31-player roster for the NHL postseason, which begins Aug. 3 when the Knights meet Dallas in their round-robin opener.
“He’s a very skilled young guy,” DeBoer said. “I’ve seen the point totals, I saw a little bit of tape on him last year. But until you put him out there with NHL players, you don’t know how they’re going to fit in or how they’re going to react.
“I think the best compliment I can give him is he didn’t look out of place at all in that group. That’s a great compliment for a guy his age coming out of junior hockey.”
Krebs said he felt comfortable with the pace of practice and has had a tougher time adapting to the summer heat in Las Vegas.
The high temperature on Tuesday in Krebs’ hometown of Okotoks, Alberta, was 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Going outside, you melt a bit. But I really enjoy it,” Krebs said. “What (Stone) said to me was, ‘This heat is hot, but you get used to it and you’re going to learn to love it.’ I’m just trying to learn to love it.”
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