It is just a matter of time before the flood gates burst open on the potential for Vegas Golden Knights forward, Alex Tuch. The 24-year-old towering winger has been a quiet luxury in Sin City. He has played three seasons there. Nestling in with the third line and using his 6’4” frame and cerebral offensive instincts to convert in clutch situations.
Alex Tuch and His 2021 Season
Hot Start to a Career
The 2014 first-round-pick struck momentum coming off of his second season in 2018-19. He tallied 52 points in 72 games in that season. An impressive output for a sophomore campaign after a promising 37 points in his rookie season. But, last year’s lower-body injury that landed him on IR cut his already-abridged regular season short.
Despite this adversity, Tuch returned in the summer to aid Vegas in another deep playoff venture. He did this by posting a career-best 12 points in 20 games. Which also included the suspenseful 2-on-1 overtime snipe against the Colorado Avalanche to clinch the one seed in the West. Perhaps his most impressive stat of all though? The 51 shots he administered on opposing goalies.
Part of what makes Tuch so entertaining to watch is the way he can read defences and make them pay for mistakes. The turnovers he creates have high chances of materializing into scoring opportunities with his size, quick release, power-skating abilities, and unrelenting physicality.
Wielding Unique Skills
When first seeing Tuch play, he reminded some of another Boston College product alike in Kevin Hayes. His contributions in his rookie season Cup run were reminiscent of Hayes’ role on the 2014-15 New York Rangers. The Rangers lost in the Eastern Conference Final. Both players showed streaky sparks of brilliance by using their large frames, IQ, and pinpoint shooting to their advantage as promising bottom-six assets on skilled teams.
Since coming to Vegas three years ago, this franchise has been grooming Tuch to become a leading offensive threat. He’s been marinating under the likes of other sizable offensive players such as Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Paul Stastny, and William Karlsson. All of whom are smart and sizable forwards who have made careers off of their skill and grit hybrid of play.
It isn’t hard to tell at this point that these types of intangibles have become the Golden Knight identity over their three-year emergence. They like big body 200-foot forwards with innate scoring prowess. Tuch embodies all of these values and it’s just about time for his fertilization amongst this veteran talent to sprout into an NHL-headlining beanstalk.
The Key to Vegas’ Future
With the departure of Stasny this offseason, it would be a treat to see what Tuch can do as a top-six forward. Now that the NHL has released the 56-game exclusive division format, it is scary to imagine what Tuch can do. Especially against the same few opponents all year considering how he wears familiar opposition down in the playoffs. This is especially so considering that the West division is objectively the weakest competition of the four.
This season is a ripe opportunity for Tuch to seize league-wide recognition. There is some weaker competition near the bottom that he can feed off of. This team’s locked-and-loaded roster is riding its momentum into what should be a breeze of a regular season. With Tuch’s extensive playoff experience and growing transition into a top-six role, his budding resume should have its most extensive line yet.
After signing him to a seven-year deal of $4.75 million AAV two years ago, it was clear only then how the Vegas front office viewed Tuch’s importance. Not only in the present but to the future of the franchise. That kind of loyalty after a rookie season screams franchise player. As the Knights guide themselves through times of tight cap space while they try and grasp the Cup, we know one thing is for sure and that’s that Alex Tuch is here for the long haul.