One of the big stories going into the 2019 NHL draft was Peyton Krebs. Several sources, including the widely respected, Bob Mckenzie expected Krebs to go in the top 10. But just weeks before the draft, Krebs suffered a torn Achilles which required surgery. This led many to speculate about how his position in the draft would change.
Krebs limped up to the stage after Vegas picked him at 17 overall. Management for the Knights believed that their medical staff was more than capable of rehabilitating Krebs and decided that getting him at 17 in the draft would be a steal.
So far it has looked like the decision has and will continue to work out for the Knights.
Progression up to this point
The Kootenay Ice drafted Peyton Krebs first in the 2016 WHL Bantam draft. He would continue to validate his draft position for the next four years with the Ice. A versatile player, Krebs’ team-centric play style made him an important asset to the Ice from the 2016-2017 season to the 2020-2021 season.
In his first year of WHL hockey in 2016 Krebs only played six games. However, he was still able to record six points in that time, showcasing he did not need time to start performing and was a reliable player in the WHL right away.
In his 2017-2018 campaign with Kootenay, Krebs had a very respectable year recording 54 points in 67 games. He showed strong leadership and precursors of what was going to make him such a notable player in the WHL during this season.
In 2018-2019, Krebs then produced at higher than a point per game rate with 68 points in 64 games. Clearly as he got more comfortable with his new team, his offensive game was able to develop immensely. He also played in the U18 world juniors this season. In the World Juniors tournament he scored 10 points in seven games.
An interesting stat line to look at when it comes to Krebs and his first two full seasons with the Ice, is his plus minus rating. For these two seasons, his average plus/minus rating was -36. Not the type of stat you would expect from a player with such a high reputation.
This poor stat line could be attributed to the team’s overall quality during those seasons. For both of those seasons, Kootenay did not make the playoffs, and were the last placed team in the central division for the 2018-2019 season.
It was before the next season in 2019-2020 that saw the Ice relocated from Kootenay to Winnipeg. This change of scenery did not seem to slow Krebs down in the slightest. The Ice would have made the WHL playoffs had the rest of the season not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 38 games Krebs played in that season, he scored 60 points.
The 2019-2020 season was the one immediately after he got his Achilles injury as well as being drafted by the Golden Knights. It appeared that Krebs had something he wanted to prove that season, and did that. His plus/minus stat also improved immensely that season with a +11, showcasing not only his point producing capabilities but his two way play as well.
During that season Krebs was selected for the Vegas Golden Knights taxi squad and joined them in the Stanley Cup playoffs bubble in Edmonton. While he did not play in any games, it can be indicative of how the teams management think his progression has gone.
Krebs, like many young players, had an interesting 2020-2021 campaign. He started his season with the Henderson Silver Knights. During his time in Henderson, Krebs showed a strong start at the minor league level with five points in five games. After his stint in the AHL, He returned to the Winnipeg Ice after the approval for an abridged season for the WHL went through. Krebs scored 28 points in his 24 game campaign with the Ice, maintaining his +11 plus/minus rating. This would serve as his last season in the WHL.
After finishing his season with the Ice, Krebs returned to Vegas. He was able to play five games in the NHL, getting his first and only NHL point in that time. Unfortunately, during his fifth game, Krebs suffered a broken jaw after a puck hit him in the face, ending his season prematurely.
Play style and strengths
Hockey analysts and commentators, such as Craig Button, have compared Peyton Krebs style of play to that of Ryan O’Reilly. Button is quoted as saying, “And like Ryan O’Reilly, he gets invested in every single area of the game at all times.”
Krebs is an all around solid player with elite level play making. With how many assists Krebs recorded in the WHL, its clear to see why this is the case. His stints at both the NHL and AHL levels also show a lot of promise.
His hockey IQ is outstanding and is the central aspect of his style of play. This contributes very much to his capabilities as a play maker. When it comes to play makers, Krebs has the potential to be in the upper echelon at the NHL level. He is able to create chances out of the smallest gaps in the other team’s defense.
Krebs seems to always be exactly where he needs to be. His teammates can rely on him to back them up or create space for himself to push the play forward.
A strong skater with high level puck retaining capabilities Krebs made a name for himself as a play making powerhouse. And while he is very talented in that department he is a skilled shooter as well. With a lethal wrist shot, he has a full arsenal at his disposal in the offensive zone.
Krebs is an exciting prospect for the Golden Knights in every sense. Vegas does not have the strongest center core in the league. He is a player that excels at the intangibles in hockey, but is also proficient on the stat sheet. With the offensive and powerplay struggles for the Knights, Krebs could be the piece that the team has been missing.