Buffalo Sabres’ Alex Tuch gets warm reception from Golden Knights fans

Alex Tuch may solely put his two blue gloved arms collectively in entrance of the visiting bench at T-Cell Area.

Hours earlier, the previous Golden Knights proper wing puzzled what sort of welcome he would get in his first recreation in Las Vegas since being traded to the Buffalo Sabres. He noticed the reception proper wing Ryan Reaves and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury received after they made their returns in early January. He hoped to get the identical. He did not know for certain.

Tuch did not have to fret. The group roared each time he popped up in a three-part tribute video through the first media timeout of Tuesday’s 5-2 Knights win that includes Tuch, heart Cody Eakin and left wing Peyton Krebs.

Tuch was capable of take it in, provide some transient applause and get again to work. He even scored earlier than the second interval was over in his return to T-Cell Area to interrupt up goaltender Robin Lehner’s shutout.

“Vegas gave me so much,” stated Tuch, who added that his father and the participant’s girlfriend had been on the recreation. “That is simply one other factor so as to add on the record.”

It did not take lengthy for Knights followers to get connected to Tuch.

The speedy 6-foot-4-inch winger turned heads from virtually the second he first stepped onto the ice. He was a part of an growth draft commerce with Minnesota that continues to be one of many shrewdest strikes in Knights historical past. The crew acquired him for choosing heart Erik Haula, and the 2 mixed for 44 targets of their first season in Las Vegas.

Tuch was a precocious 21-year-old rookie most of that inaugural season however matured right into a key a part of the group. He was the Knights’ NHL Gamers’ Affiliation consultant earlier than he was traded.

He completed with 139 factors in 249 video games with the crew regardless of largely taking part in in a bottom-six function. Left wing Max Pacioretty as soon as nicknamed Tuch the “X-factor” as a result of his dimension and velocity typically overwhelmed depth defensemen.

“He is a heck of a participant,” stated Eakin, who was with the Knights their first three seasons. “When he is on and he is shifting his ft and holding onto the puck, there is not any one that may take it away from him.”

The Knights, regardless of all Tuch completed with the crew, determined it was value it to provide him up Nov. 4 as a part of a commerce package deal for heart Jack Eichel. Krebs, the crew’s 2019 first-round decide, was included within the deal.

The transfer represented a homecoming for Tuch, who grew up rooting for the Sabres in New York. It additionally gave him the prospect to tackle a bigger function as soon as he returned from offseason shoulder surgical procedure Dec. 29.

Tuch performs greater than every other Buffalo ahead at 19:39 per recreation, virtually two minutes greater than his next-closest teammate. He by no means performed greater than 16:50 per recreation with the Knights.

Contact has taken benefit of his alternatives. He has began his Sabres profession with 5 targets and eight assists in 13 video games.

He stated Tuesday morning that his Knights profession was “was a extremely good time in my life.” However now he is began a brand new chapter.

“His work right here ready him for the problem we introduced to him,” Sabres coach Don Granato stated. “It is a testomony to his dedication by way of his profession that he is been capable of seize a possibility proper in entrance of him. He is carried out an incredible job with it.”

Contact Ben Gotz at [email protected] Comply with @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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