Koekkoek scored his first two NHL goals in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Penguins. Koekkoek made the most of his 9:44 ice time. His goals were the definition of timely -- Koekkoek opened the scoring and netted the game winner. His talent and potential have never been in doubt; his health and his future have. Consider this an outlier until we see some repetition.
Koekkoek has evolved his game from an offensive one in junior to a shutdown role in the NHL but is facing a make-or-break season in Tampa Bay, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Koekkoek played 29 games in Tampa and 48 in Syracuse last season. His speed remains an asset, but it's his evolution into a third-pairing, every-situation defender that will make -- or break -- his NHL career. Perhaps it goes without saying Koekkoek's fantasy value is sorely limited in that type of role.
Koekkoek secured a one-year contract with the Lightning on Monday worth $800,000, James Mirtle of The Athletic reports. Koekkoek will likely be tasked with more responsibility this upcoming season after playing in just 29 outings last year. In his limited appearances, the blueliner averaged 12:59 of ice time in which he garnered four helpers and 27 shots on goal. Even in the minors, the 23-year-old hasn't been known for his scoring ability and will likely provide minimal fantasy value even if he plays all 82 games for Tampa Bay during the 2017-18 campaign.
Koekkoek is unlikely to become a Golden Knight with the expansion draft looming, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Speculation is running rampant that a different Bolts defenseman in Jason Garrison will be the one selected by the Vegas expansion club. Koekkoek was left unprotected, but we suspect his lack of NHL experience (41 games) was a turnoff for Golden Knights GM George McPhee.
Koekkoek, a former first-round pick with upside, was left unprotected by Tampa Bay in advance of the expansion draft. Koekkoek played a key role in Syracuse's run to the AHL Calder Cup Final, finishing with a team-leading plus-16 rating in 22 games. He is a smooth-skating two-way defender who is just 23 years old. Koekkoek might just be the best name to hit Vegas in a long time -- the expansion draft will tell the tale.
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