Carrier been VGK’s Mr. Fix It on and off the ice this season

It’s been well-chronicled about Vegas Golden Knights forward William Carrier, and his off-ice exploits as Mr. Fix It.

Problem at home? He can fuse some wires or hang a mirror.

In the locker room? He’ll bring the tool box to City National Arena, the team’s posh facility in Summerlin. Like when the sauna was broken, and linemate Chandler Stephenson said he “took it home (and) welded it all back together.”

“Now it’s better than ever,” Stephenson said.

But for the 28-year-old from Montreal, the biggest fix this season – and flex – has been his own offensive game, which is thriving in first-year coach Bruce Cassidy’s system.

Carrier, who has appeared in the sixth-highest 330 games for the Golden Knights, leads the franchise with 1,022 hits.

Hits have always been his thing. After all, the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season bullied opponents with the “Meatgrinder Line” starring Carrier and Ryan Reaves.

This year, though, Carrier’s career-high 16 goals ranks fifth on the squad. He’s one goal shy of Jonathan Marchessault and injured Mark Stone, three behind Reilly Smith, and four back of franchise guy Jack Eichel.

Not bad company.

“In the past we were more of a shutdown line, not that we didn’t create much, but we just wanted to make sure to be safe defensively,” said Carrier who is signed through next season, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. “Kind of lucky to play with some good players this year, too. I think that’s a big part of it. Players that got a little bit of an offensive mindset.”

Players like NHL Ironman Phil Kessel and Stephenson, both of whom provide offensive threats for opponents, and have helped form a dangerous line with Carrier.

But as fortunate as he feels to be playing with them, or Nic Roy and Keegan Kolesar when they formed a trio, it’s the entire Golden Knights team that should feel fortunate for Carrier’s coming-out party this season.

The Golden Knights have won 13 of the 15 games Carrier has scored a goal in, while they’ve won 17 of 21 when he’s registered at least one point.

The team has lost four of the six games he hasn’t played in.

“I think last year was kind of an eye opener,” Smith said. “I think he took strides in his game. He’s always driven the net really hard, but it seemed like he was doing it every single night, where he was driving wide and creating at least a semi breakaway for himself. This year he is doing the same thing, he’s just doing a better job finishing. He’s always been really heavy around the net. He scored a lot of goals like that … where they’re huge for us. And it seems like every time he’s scoring, it’s a game winning goal.”

Indeed, Carrier is tied for fifth with two others for the third-most game-winning goals in the league, having netted seven.

“He’s been probably the best player we’ve had this year who’s taking the next step in his game, so it’s been huge for us, and he’s picked us up a lot of points,” Smith added.

Carrier said he’s been fortunate to learn under three coaches while playing for Vegas, and wasn’t ready to give Cassidy all the credit for the sudden offensive surge.

In his first five seasons with Vegas, under Gerard Gallant and Peter DeBoer, he never scored more than nine goals, and never had more than 12 assists. He had a career-high 20 points last season under DeBoer.

This year, he’s on pace to finish with 22 goals and 34 points provided he plays in every game the rest of the way.

“I’ve been lucky here, I think I’ve had three great coaches,” Carrier said. “Especially talking around the league to guys that plays for other teams, I think I’m really lucky with the coaching staffs I’ve had. I think it’s just the way it’s going right now, everything I’m touching is going in. I’m working, I got a little bit more poise around the net, trying to find the open nets and stuff.

“In the past, I still had a bunch of scoring chances … they wanted me to play a more physical role. So obviously, I had my chances and I could prove that I could still do it. And I knew my chance was going to come … and that’s now.”

Stephenson said it’s Carrier’s mindset that’s allowed him to flourish, being able to adapt and play with anyone and at any time.

“He just is always the same,” Stephenson said. “I always say that you know what you’re getting every night from him. There’s never a night where ‘Will’s off tonight’, or he’s tired, or whatever. It’s either he’s good, or he’s really good.”

As for the handyman role, the anytime-anywhere status goes without saying, as Stephenson said he’s gotten text messages from Carrier, alerting him things have been fixed at the house when nobody is home.

After replacing the lock on the front door of his home, Stephenson said the keypad stopped working. He knew the batteries were charged, and it turned out to be an electrical issue.

Like the sauna at the team facility, Stephenson said: “Now it works like a charm.”

When a mirror was leaning against a random wall, and the Stephenson had their newborn, Carrier offered to hang it on the wall to get it off the floor.

“He’s a man’s man,” Smith said. “He fixes everything.

From saunas, to lock pads, to the Golden Knights offense.

“He’s Mr. Fix-it for sure,” Stephenson said.

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