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Vegas’ Midseason Team Observation and Reflection

With three months and forty-three games gone by in our inaugural season, the Vegas Golden Knights have a lot to be proud of.

 

Their roster has completely transformed from the one they drafted. Changes made to our team since the expansion draft (not including draft picks):

Out

In

Ilya Sorokin

Marcus Kruger

Alec Martinez

Darren Helm

Michael Grabner

Joonas Donskoi

Jesper Fast

Austin Watson

Ryan Murray

Jordan Oesterle

Stefan Noesen

Julius Bergman

Ryan Hartman

Yegor Zaitsev

Nick Leivermann

Shea Weber

Jason Chimera

Jaromir Jagr

Troy Brouwer

Jack Dougherty

Ryan Carpenter

Jon Martin

Brett Ritchie

Antoine Vermette

 

In addition to the players moved and acquired above, the Knights also boast an impressive 14 picks in the upcoming 2019 draft, ten of which are in the first three rounds, as well as 13 picks in the 2020 draft, 7 of which occur in the first 3 rounds. Clearly, the next two drafts will have a tremendous impact on the direction our franchise takes.  

 

Things that the Knights should take pride in:

  • Our attendance is averaging 16,214 people, which has us just above 95% capacity.

  • We have never lost in eight overtime games.

  • We have scored more goals than all but seven teams in our conference.

  • Also against our conference, we have lost fewer than half of our games (an achievement given our lack of depth, talent, and individual talent).

  • Our penalty killing (84.5%, 17th) and our shots against per game (27.4, 15th) are both higher than expected.  

  • Stefan Noesen, tied for fifth in scoring among rookies, leads the Knights in assists (24) and points (31) in 42 games.

  • We have balanced scoring from all of our lines, as no player is scoring at a rate higher than anyone else. Chris Kunitz leads our team with 11 goals, while two others have 10, two others have 9, one has eight goals, and three others have seven.

  • Three defencemen are top 10 in team goal scoring, they have combined for 25 goals between them.

  • Brandon Davidson have scored four powerplay goals.

  • Sean Kuraly has spent 34 games as 3rd line centre, playing with marginal wingers, and is not a minus player.

  • Keith Kinkaid has 3 shutouts (vs Kings, Wild, & Leafs).  

  • We snapped the Canucks 10 game streak (4-2 win, Nov 27th)

  • Our biggest win of the season was December 23rd at home against the Kings (7-0).

  • Our first (and only) hat trick of the year was scored by rookie Stefan Noesen, also occurred on December 23rd against the Kings.

  • We haven’t been shut out since November 18th (on the road vs the Flames). Only 3 teams have shut us out - the Flyers (1st game of the year), the Pens (5th game of the year), and the Flames.

 

Things to improve:

  • Five wins in 19 home games is awful, and our fans deserve better.

  • We finished 2018 on our worst losing streak of the year (4) and want to start the new year right.

  • 145 goals against is the most in the league (28th in GA/G).

  • 25th ranked powerplay is awful (11.6%).

  • No goalie on our team can reliably save 9 of 10 shots against (No save percentage above .890).

  • Grubauer has just one win in 10 decisions, 19 games played.

  • Only one player on our team is a “+” player (Jagr, +1).

  • Our worst loss of the season was September 9th, 9-2 in Washington

  • We haven’t had two consecutive wins

  • 4-9 record in games decided by one goal.

  • 2-5 record in games decided by 2 goals.

  • 5-9 in games decided by 3 or more goals.

 

As bad as some of this might sound, the Knights take comfort in knowing that they could be the Jets. Or the Wild. Or the Sabres. Or Brent.

 

Best of luck in 2019 Gentlemen.