News has broken that Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov has been suspended 20 games for violating the league’s substance abuse rules. Jesse Granger of The Athletic was among the first to announce via Twitter.
Breaking: Valentin Zykov has been suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.#VegasBorn
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) October 17, 2019
Valentin Zykov Suspended for Banned Substance
Valentin Zykov had been playing relatively well as one of Vegas’ bottom-six forwards. The 24-year-old wing has two assists in seven games while averaging 11:44 per game. Much of Zykov’s time was spent at even strength with very little on special teams. His production largely came from physical play as he had eight hits and two blocks on top of the assists. He has six goals and 15 points over his 47 game-career.
Over his career, Zykov has 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points. He has played just 47 career NHL games up until this point. He was drafted back in 2013 and has been a journeyman to make it to the NHL.
Zykov’s most common linemates were Tomas Nosek and Ryan Reaves with Zykov on the left side. The team will likely move some players around and use some combination of Cody Eakin and Brandon Pirri as replacements. Vegas could also bring up one of their AHL prospects such as Nicolas Roy or Lucas Elvenes. Elvenes, in particular, is off to a strong start in Chicago. The former 5th round pick has two goals and five points in three games.
What This Means
The suspension won’t impact production too much. Zykov was playing the fourth-fewest minutes of any Vegas forward. He was also sporting a dreadful 38% Corsi For and -14.5 Relative Corsi in a small sample size. His grit something every team likes to have but other players were checking far more often. The Golden Knights will find suitable options until Zykov returns in November. The team is 4-3 and 3rd in the Pacific Division.