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Two Golden Knights Make SI’s 2019-2020 Fantasy Bust List

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Again with the lists. This time, fantasy experts took their shot at predicting players that will drop in production and be this season’s busts. A few Golden Knights were unfortunately selected in Sports Illustrated’s newest list of fantasy flunkies.

One of the first players SI cautions fantasy GM’s to steer clear from is Vegas’ left-handed sniper.

Max Pacioretty (Golden Knights) ESPN: 67 | NHL: 68 | CBS: 81
Let’s get this out of the way: Max Pacioretty went berserk in the playoffs, scoring five goals in seven games, and he dominated when playing with Mark Stone and Paul Stastny. That as much as anything is fueling the hope that Pacioretty will become a 30-goal scorer again. Turning 31 in November, Pacioretty hasn’t surpassed 22 goals and has missed 34 games in the last two seasons. He’s no longer a threat to record lofty shot totals, making his floor lower than other players in his range.-Sportsnet

The next Golden Knight to skip in your fantasy draft according to SI, could be considered VGK’s most reliable player.

Marc-Andre Fleury (Golden Knights) ESPN: 68 | NHL: 24 | CBS: 22

How many more good years can Vegas get out of Marc-Andre Fleury, who is turning 35 this year, while also expecting him to carry the lionshare of the workload? While the departure of defenseman Colin Miller isn’t a death blow to Vegas’s defense, it also doesn’t do Flower any favors. His career has been revitalized since joining the Golden Knights (64 wins, 2.40 goals against average, .919 save percentage) and his potential “bust” label is based more on his longevity than his ability. Avoid reaching for Fleury in early rounds when his value should be much safer as a second-tier goalie.-Sportsnet

Albeit a soft critique from Sports Illustrated, but beyond his age, I doubt Golden Knights fans agree with their reasoning. Las Vegas loved watching Colin Miller rip shots on net, but let’s be honest, his departure won’t hurt Fleury. It’s fair to be concerned with the 34-year-old goalie’s workload but I’m assuming the coaching staff has a preservation plan in place for 2019-2020.

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2019 Rookie Camp Non-Roster Invitees; Who Are They?

This is Charles-Antoine Roy, not Nicolas Roy. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’re almost out of the woods, hockey is right around the corner. In less than two weeks Golden Knights rookies report to camp with a trio of games to follow in Anaheim the weekend of September 7th. The Golden Knights announced the roster set to participate in those games. It includes 26 players with 18 of them under Golden Knights control.

That means there are eight players who are camp invitees by the Golden Knights. Here’s a look at each one of them.

Justin Ducharme
Forward – Chicoutimi Saguenéens

Ducharme attended Development Camp this summer after not being listed on the original roster to do so. He’s coming off a stellar season in the Q scoring 30 goals in 66 games. His best asset is his skating. He’s quick, has high-end top speed, and excellent acceleration.

Pavel Gogolev
Forward – Guelph Storm

A player that previously had no ties to the Golden Knights will be the most intriguing non-VGK player in rookie camp. The 19-year-old forward has slick hands as has shown an ability to score in bunches in the OHL. He was traded from Peterborough to Guelph last season and went on to help the Storm win the Memorial Cup. He’s been described in scouting reports as “dynamic” and “heavily offensive-minded.”

Taro Jentzsch
Forward – Sherbrooke Phoenix

SinBin.vegas intern Alex Norwood profiled Jentzsch during Development Camp where he played on both squads but didn’t really stand out. The German-born forward is very small but has a knack for making the right play at the right time. He’s certainly one to keep a closer eye on this time around as he really didn’t pop, but the Golden Knights kept him around, so they must see something.

Jermaine Loewen
Forward – Kamloops Blazers

Loewen had a lot of hype heading into Development Camp as a Dallas Stars selection that was not offered a contract. As the first Jamaican to ever be drafted there’s certainly a story to be written about him, but he never saw the ice in Vegas in July due to an injury. He’s a massive forward, standing 6’4″ and weighing in over 220 pounds. Plus, he’s one of the few old enough (he’s 21) to make the leap directly to professional hockey this year. If he succeeds in camp, it wouldn’t come as a shock to see him in a Wolves uniform this season.

Cole Mackay
Forward – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

A smaller guy that scores seemingly every time he steps on the ice. MacKay tallied 61 points in 65 games as a 17-year-old in the OHL. He attended Golden Knights Development Camp this summer after going undrafted in the 2019 Draft. It will be interesting to see who he plays with in the rookie games because if he’s put in the right situation, he’ll find ways to score.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #164: All The Vegas Crossover

The guys from the fabulous All The Vegas podcast join the show to talk bars, chicken, and quite a bit of Golden Knights. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Team USA coming to T-Mobile
  • Ticket price bump
  • Wolfgang Puck’s VGK restaurant
  • VGK’s window
  • “The Vegas you need”

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Miracle On Ice Team Coming To T-Mobile Arena

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Do you believe in miracles?

40 years ago the answer that was question was “YES!” when the United States hockey team pulled off the greatest upset in sports history defeating the Soviet Union en route to the 1980 Olympic gold medal.

Now, for the first time in nearly a decade, the entire team is getting back together to celebrate the most memorable game in hockey history, and they are doing it right here in Vegas.

What better place other than Lake Placid to celebrate your 40th than in Vegas? -Mike Eruzione, 1980 USA Olympic Team Captain

On February 22nd, exactly 40 years to the date, the Golden Knights are hosting every living member of 1980 USA Olympic team to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their monumental win in Lake Placid.

Any time I can get to see my teammates it’s exciting so I’m looking forward to it, especially on this special occasion. -Eruzione

The team will be at that night’s Golden Knights game vs. the Florida Panthers and will be included in a night-long anniversary celebration. Plus, a special season ticket member event is scheduled for the night before the game and an event open to the public is in the works for the afternoon on the 22nd.

We’d like to thank the Vegas Golden Knights for considering it and doing it, and obviously, as a team we’re excited about celebrating our 40th and it’s nice that somebody stepped forward and offered an opportunity for us to do it. Thanks to the Vegas Knights, the people of Vegas, the fans, and the season ticket holders. I know they’ll do a great job of promoting it and we’ll have some fun. -Eruzione

There are still tickets available to the game on the Golden Knights website, including a bunch on the “flight deck,” (standing room only tickets next to the castle) which is likely where the team will be hanging out for a majority of the night.

More information is expected to be announced by the team soon.

More Shots, Fewer Goals; Why?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

During the 2018-19 season the Vegas Golden Knights attempted 5,254 shot attempts, 2,814 of them made it to the goalie registering as shots on goal, and 246 of them went into the net.

They finished the year above average in all three categories, but the numbers weren’t consistent. Vegas attempted 10.6% more shots than the league average, they took 9.1% more shots on goal than average NHL team, but they only scored 0.8% more goals than the league average.

The question is, why?

The first answer is a simple one. The Golden Knights shooting percentage (8.7%) was quite a bit lower than the league average (9.5%). The year prior, the Golden Knights scored on 10.0% of their shots. In 18-19 they were 8th worst, in 17-18 they were 8th best.

But once again, why?

Between the two rosters, there wasn’t much turnover. Out went James Neal, David Perron and Erik Haula (injury) from the regular lineup, and in came Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, and eventually Brandon Pirri and Mark Stone. William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith all saw some decreases in production, while Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves, and Brandon Pirri saw massive increases.

No matter how you slice it, the team wasn’t a ton different nor did they didn’t play much differently, they just didn’t score as much.

The answer to why almost certainly lies in where the shots came from.

Recently, Bill Tran of TheWinColumn.ca did a deep dive into shot distances for each team. Here’s a look at what he found for the Golden Knights.

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Who Has Established Themselves Enough To Be The Knight Commander?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Expansion Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights have “had 23 captains.” Each player, no matter of skill, salary, or demeanor all have an equal say in the Golden Knights locker room.

It’s utopia, and it’s kind of seemed that way in reality too.

For two seasons the franchise has been largely successful, so it’s hard to nitpick. However, both playoff runs were cut short. Go ahead and laugh but there could be a connection.

Over the history of the league, the Stanley Cup has been hoisted 101 times. One thing most of those Cup winning teams had in common was a captain. Heck, the 1989 Stanley Cup winning Calgary Flames had two captains. It’s that voice that leads by example on and off… you know all the talking points so I won’t waste your time.

The last captainless Stanley Cup winner was the 1971-72 Boston Bruins. The team had a vacancy at the captain’s role but had four alternates. They didn’t have a problem winning the finals without a captain, in fact, they did it two years prior. Same formula, no C, four As. It also didn’t hurt that Boston had the greatest defenseman in league history on their side.

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Hardest And Softest Spots In Golden Knights 2019-20 Schedule

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

An NHL season is like cycling through the most challenging course on the Peloton bike… for six months straight. There are homestands, road trips, back-to-backs, and all sorts of weird quirks that pop up because half the teams in the league play in the same stadium as NBA teams.

This year’s Golden Knights schedule is no different, and like every Pacific Division team, there are some high peaks and some low valleys.

Softest Spots

October 23 – November 2nd
vs COL, vs ANA, vs MTL, vs WPG

After what is a bit of a tricky opening few weeks of the season riddled with tough opponents, single-game road trips, and a back-t0-back in different time-zones with 750+ miles of travel, the schedule hits its softest spot of the year. Four home games, in an 11-day span against one good team, two okay ones, and a horrible one. The Golden Knights have two days of rest before the Colorado game and then three days prior to Montreal. They even have two more days off after the last of the four-game set. Really, the whole month of October is favorable for Vegas, and if they start it off well, the last week could turn it into one of their best months ever.

February 12th – March 3rd
vs STL, vs NYI, vs WSH, vs TBL, vs FLA, @ANA, vs EDM, vs BUF, vs LAK, NJD

Directly on the heels of the ridiculous 27-day span away from T-Mobile Arena (more on that below), the Golden Knights come home for 10 straight. (Really it’s 9 of 10, but I figure a road game in Anaheim in February is basically a home game.) The opponents are challenging at first, but they ease up majorly as it goes on. There will be 20 points to get here, the Golden Knights should reasonably be after at least 14 of them.

December 29th – January 11th
vs ANA, vs PHI, vs STL, vs PIT, vs LAK, vs CBJ

It’s the longest homestand of the year and the first 7-game homestand since the magical one that opened the inaugural season. Only six games are listed because it starts out with a road-home back-to-back, but there are two off-days behind it. This is about as nice a stretch as you can ask for on a schedule as there’s at least one day between every game and the opponents are all average at best (except for St. Louis). Of course, this is directly before the 27-day monster. It’s almost like the NHL knew they were screwing the Golden Knights, so they tried to make it up to them with two soft spots before and after the nightmare.

Hardest Spots

January 12th – February 7th
at BUF, at OTT, at MTL, at BOS, at CAR, at NSH, at TBL, at FLA

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Late Summer Forward Free Agent Options

A couple of days ago I illustrated how thin the Golden Knights are at forward outside of their top 12. Aside from Valentin Zykov, who scored two goals, Vegas currently does not employ a single forward who scored an NHL goal last year that will not be in their starting lineup on October 2nd.

That’s why it would probably be wise for George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon to scour the UFA list and find at least one cheap option to add some veteran depth to the Golden Knights bench.

Here are five options that could make sense, without breaking the bank.

Tobias Rieder

Yep, Brandon has a Tobias Rieder photo. #BestInTheBiz (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Rieder started off his career fairly well in Arizona scoring 13, 14, and 16 goals in his first three seasons. He was then traded to the Kings at the deadline in 2018 where things didn’t work out very well. He signed a one year contract in Edmonton this past offseason where he played 67 games and went goalless. There’s no doubt his career seems to be headed in the wrong direction at the age of 26, but he’s a defensively responsible player, never takes penalties (he’s gotten Lady Byng votes in three separate seasons) and he’s been able to score in his past. Reider has consistently started more shifts in the D-zone than O-zone and yet still boasts a nearly 3:1 takeaway to giveaway margin in his career. Plus, he’s fast and he kills penalties. Last year he signed for $2 million with Edmonton and was released when he was not extended a qualifying offer that would have also paid him around $2 million. Reasonably, he should be gettable for right around $1 million, and the Golden Knights should absolutely be in the market for his services.

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – August 15th, 2019

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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How Annoying Are NHL Top Player Lists?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It continues to be that dull time of year, and while we patiently wait for hockey to begin, silly, objective lists dominate the (news) flow. The NHL Network turns into a tabloid, work distraction type outlet like Buzzfeed.

Let’s begin with NHL Network’s Top 20 Center list.

To state the obvious, William Karlsson continues to get stiffed. First he agrees to a team-first, team-friendly extended deal, and then he gets left off the NHL Network’s 2019 Top 20 Center list. It’s immediately confusing because Karlsson made the cut last year, coming in at #17. Ahead of centers like Logan Couture and Sebastian Aho, who are both on 2019’s list.

I don’t know why they do these things. I guess it causes controversy. It’s such a reputation thing. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the pundits think. It matters what the coaching staff thinks, what your teammates think, and where you fit in the salary cap, and what the fans think of you.-Gord Miller, TSN Montreal 690

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many elite centers in the NHL but Karlsson deserves to get a top 20 nod just as much as Couture, Aho, Sean Monahan, and Elias Peterson. Maybe the NHL Network got confused when Karlsson signed a second-line center’s contract.

Next up, the NHL Network’s Top 20 Wings list.

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