How do Golden Knights regain their identity?

Jonathan Marchessault blames himself.

As one of the few remaining members from the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, the winger takes pride in upholding the principles that made the franchise an instant success.

But after the Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in their brief history, it was obvious they were never able to establish their identity.

Instead of the relentless, resilient bunch the NHL came to know in their first four seasons, the Knights crumbled under the weight of expectations and rarely resembled a physical, four-line team as injuries took a toll.

“Maybe it’s on a guy like me. Maybe guys that have been here since Year One, maybe we let it slip a little bit,” Marchessault said. “It’s on us as the veteran group that we have here to make sure that we’re hard to play against every night. I don’t think that we were this year.”

Since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, the Knights made several high-profile additions in pursuit of a championship.

Those upgrades came at a cost, though, as many of the team’s most popular players were traded to make room under the salary cap.

The result this season was a team that lacked emotion, according to multiple players, and melted when the heat was turned up on the playoff race in the final month.

With many of the team’s most vocal leaders out of the lineup for prolonged stretches,…

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