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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 17)

Colin Miller, One Of Many Offensive Minded VGK Defenseman

Ever wondered if players check their own stats? What about if players check their own advanced stats? Of course you haven’t. And players, yeah they don’t give a crap about analytics. Just ask Golden Knights defenseman, Colin Miller.

Are you aware of your Corsi and Fenwick numbers? -SinBin.vegas

Not really. I’ve heard a little bit about them. Am I good or bad? -Miller

You are like the king of it. -SinBin.vegas

Oh nice, well that’s good. I just try to get the shots through as often as I can. -Miller

You know with Corsi they don’t even need to get through. -SinBin.vegas

Oh, good, so I can just rip em at the glass? -Miller

Bet this shot got through. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Colin Miller: Corsi For- 60.34%
Nate Schmidt: Corsi For- 53.48%
Reilly Smith: Corsi For- 52.47%
James Neal: Corsi For- 52.20%

(If you don’t remember what in the hell these numbers mean, go back and read our Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies article on Corsi For %.)

Miller is however fully aware of the style of game he plays. He doesn’t need an advanced stat measuring shot attempts to prove himself. Vegas knows his skill and will need Miller’s offensive involvement this season and beyond. We asked the 24-year-old if he thought his role would expand with the Golden Knights.

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“Just A Matter Of Me Not Playing A Game In A Long Time”

Clayton Stoner at training camp at City National Arena. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Instantly after seeing the roster for the first preseason game, our eyes went straight to the outlier on the list, Clayton Stoner. On a roster full of young players either headed back to juniors or to the AHL, the 32-year old, eight year veteran of the NHL stuck out like a sore thumb. Our thought was that it spelled bad news for Stoner’s future with the Golden Knights. But, what do we know, we are just some bloggers with a website that couldn’t even afford a .com domain. So, instead of playing “ask the 8-ball,” we went right to the source to see what he thought about his inclusion in the first preseason game.

I think it was just a matter of me not playing a game in a long time. I was hurt since November 15th last year. It was one of those things that they mentioned they wanted to get me in a game early and get on the ice. And get that game feeling back. -Clayton Stoner

The former Duck played 14 games last season, due to an abdominal procedure he had on November 17th. It’s no wonder Stoner was eager to compete on Sunday.

Right now I feel very good. I’m just trying to stay healthy. I’m not as young as I was, but injuries are something that are preventable. I spent a lot of time last season, and the offseason rehabbing. I feel, like I’m in a strong place right now with my body. I feel good. -Stoner

The only bummer to Sunday’s victory was that Stoner couldn’t keep his A-stitched jersey. To his knowledge, it doesn’t exist anymore.

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Unnecessary Preseason Game 1 Thoughts

If you’re looking for obvious notes from yesterday’s 9-4 victory including Hat-Trick Tyler Wong and Tallying Tomas Hyka, then move right along. If you’re looking for Ken predicting the future, click here or here.Tallying Tomas Hyka? But if you are looking for some hard-hitting, in-depth, analysis of the most important game in Golden Knights history, you’ve come to the right place.

Who needs a Captain?

George McPhee suggested last week the organization leans towards three alternate captains. That sorta came true Sunday, as two veterans were awarded the A. 32-year-old Clayton Stoner, and 23-year-old Griffin Reinhart played the role of VGK’s early preseason generals. Likely just a case of “somebody had to do it,” more than anything, but it definitely further cements the case that there won’t be a C on any Golden Knights jersey come October 6th.

The Kid’s Table

When the Golden Knights released their roster for Vancouver, I immediately felt bad for Stoner and Reinhart. McPhee and Gerard Gallant both mentioned Saturday, the preseason game would mainly feature young, system players. Stoner and Reinhart are veterans fighting for NHL spots. I’m sure the trip to Vancouver felt like a demotion. Possibly, the Golden Knight’s were ‘showcasing’ the defensemen for other teams, but even that feels like a stretch on the word showcase. In reality though, it means they are at the bottom of the VGK defensive log-jam totem pole.

Shea-H-L?

The Golden Knights’ prized defenseman played a major role in Vancouver. Shea Theodore led the Golden Knights with six shots and 23:12 TOI. The “Dilemma” continues to create headaches for the front office. But if you’re nit-picking, Theodore did spend four minutes in the sin bin. His third-period delay of game penalty put Vancouver on a two-man advantage. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, took advantage and registered his second tally of the game.

Like I said, these are minor issues stiffs like me pay attention too. I have to remind myself, preseason means absolutely nothing. Bummer, 9-4 would look nice if it did matter. Plus, I can get used to hat-tricks.

Power Rankings For Every Individual Golden Knights: Pre-Camp

Ken asked if I could rank the Golden Knights as our lead in story to camp. I said, absolutely not, it’s impossible. We haven’t even seen them in a real practice yet! Then, he reminded me that the car we rented in Dallas is in his name. Uber is expensive. Here are my rankings for every Golden Knight, heading into camp.

My criteria were based on a combination of career stats; Goals Created, Points Per Game, Power Play Goals For, Power Play Goals Against, Total Goals For/Total Goals Against ratio, Average Time on Ice, and Games Played. Plus, I’ve seen a little hockey in my day, so the “eye test” was used to break a few ties. We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on.

We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on. Agree or disagree, let me know. I can take the heat. (Remember, Ken made me do this.)

Defensive Rankings
1) Shea Theodore
2) Jason Garrison
3) Colin Miller
4) Brayden McNabb
5) Luca Sbisa
6) Nate Schmidt
7) Jon Merrill
8) Deryk Engelland
9) Clayton Stoner
10) Griffin Reinhart
Unranked: Chris Casto, Jake Bischoff, Brad Hunt, Nikolas Brouillard, Stephen MacAulay

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Sbisa Might Make Most Sense To Move Before Camp Ends

As the excitement builds for fans, the reality of training camp means tough decisions for the Golden Knights. It’s no secret, the defensive logjam will create headaches for the organization. Early last week, GM George McPhee told us the team is hoping to get down to eight defensemen.

I think, we would ideally carry eight. We have a good crop and defensemen are hard to come by. And we’ll have to see they all fit together.- George McPhee

One defenseman that could be the answer to McPhee’s conundrum is veteran Luca Sbisa. A deal could help the organization get down to eight defensemen, and who knows, maybe McPhee can squeeze out another team’s draft pick.

Sbisa, in my opinion, is one of the most attractive defensemen on the market. At this time of year, NHL clubs are looking for players that are reliable and under limited contracts. The Swiss defenseman played 82 games last season and has one-year left, at $3.6 million. A reasonable contract for contending teams looking for blueline help. To compare his salary, here are other defenders paid around the same per season.

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Goals Created

Next up in our Advanced Stats series is “Goals Created”, a stat that takes scoring to the next level.

Goals, assists, and points are the standard scoring stats most fans look to in order to decide a player’s offensive prowess. “Goals Created” takes those numbers and plugs them into a formula that shows the playmaking ability of an individual relative to the rest of his team. We’ll start with the formula, then we’ll break down what it means and why it’s calculated the way it is.

[Goals + (Assists x 0.5)] x {Team Goals/[Team Goals + (Team Assists x 0.5)]}

The first portion is figuring out the individual player’s total scoring. It basically gives a player one point for a goal and half a point for an assist, rather than the “points” ratio the NHL usually uses giving a player one for each. In “Goals Created,” goals are greater than assists. (1 Goal = 2 Assists)

The second portion is figuring out the team’s total scoring. It’s broken into two calculations. The second one is identical to the way we came up with the player’s total [Team Goals + (Team Assists x 0.5)]. We then divide team goals by that number. Yeah, the same number (team goals) is used multiple times, it’s ok, don’t worry about it, we’ve got this all figured out.

Example time! We’re going to go with Oscar Lindberg this time because we’re still hoping the nickname Ogge takes off. Let’s say we are 10 games into the season. Lindberg has 5 goals and 4 assists, and the team has a total of 20 goals and 34 assists. Got it? Good. Buckle up, here we go.

[Goals + (Assists x 0.5)] x {Team Goals/[Team Goals + (Team Assists x 0.5)]}
[5 + (4 x 0.5)] x {20/[20 +  (34 x 0.5)]}
[5 + 2] x [20/(20 + 17)]
7 x (20/37)
7 x (20/360)
7 x 0.541
3.787 Goals Created

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Power Play Scoring Must Pick Up From Career Numbers

Power-Play
/ˈpou(ə)r plā/
noun

A situation in hockey where one team has a greater number of players on the ice because the opposing team has a player or players are in the penalty box Sin Bin, giving the team a scoring advantage.

It’s no secret, NHL teams that have success on the power play, usually end up in the playoffs. Eight of the top ten most efficient PP units made the postseason. Tampa was one of the teams to miss the playoffs, but only by one point. For example, take last season’s Stanley Cup champion. They were 3rd in PP% at 23.1% and 2nd in PP goals with 60.

With playoff expectations low in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights coaching staff will have all season to find the right PP combinations. It could be frustrating for Gerard Gallant but that’s why he has Assistant Coach Mike Kelly. We’ll get to him later…

Offensively, PP goals can be a way to neutralize an opponent. Inferior teams can compete further in a game when they win the penalty battle. Let’s get serious, this is the NHL, stars get the calls, and unfortunately, Vegas’ only star is between the pipes, which likely means the Golden Knights will be down a man more often than they’re up one. But, if they can make the most of their PP opportunities, it could help pick up a few wins or overtime losses.

2017 Top NHL PP Percentage:

Sabres 24.5% Missed playoffs
Maple Leafs 23.8% First round exit
Penguins 23.1% Cup Champions
Capitals 23.1% Second round exit
Oilers 22.9% Second round exit
Lightning 22.8% Missed playoffs
Bruins 21.7% First round exit
Blues 21.3% Second round exit
Wild 21.0% First round exit
Rangers 20.3% Second round exit

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Who Exactly Is Jon Merrill?

There’s been no shortage of coverage of the Golden Knights surplus of defensemen. We’ve gushed over blueliners like Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt, and Erik Brannstrom. We spewed our opinions on Jason Garrison’s salary, Deryk Engelland’s value, Luca Sbisa’s language diversity, and Clayton Stoner’s headless grizzly bear. However, one VGK defenseman remains a man of mystery, and he just so happened to be the first one to show up in Vegas for Training Camp.

The future looked bright for Jon Merrill when he made his debut in 2013. The young, physical, puck-moving defenseman was a hit after his first 52 games. Following a promising rookie season, Merrill gradually got worse. He’s had this knack for being on the ice for opponent goals, whether it’s his fault or not. Merrill’s +/- totals got uglier by the season.

2013-14 /-3
2014-15 /-14
2015-16 /-15
2016-17 /-9

In 2015-16, the 25-year-old defenseman had career lows in games, goals, points, +/-rating, shots, and time on ice. Pretty brutal for a third-year, second-round draft pick. A season plagued with injuries also hurt Merrill’s maturity. He lost his coaches trust and was thought of as a lost cause.

Offensive Expectations

Right away, you’d think Merrill sees an incredible opportunity in Las Vegas. This could be the change needed to get his career back on track. Just don’t expect much, if any, offensive production this season. Merrill won’t generate offense from the point like Colin Miller or Nate Schmidt. In fact, his career-high in shots (47) is the third lowest for a Golden Knights defensemen.

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: 5 On 5 Close

It’s time for article six of Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies. Today we are taking on a situational stat category called “5 on 5 Close.”

Unlike the last five articles, this one is not actually a stat, instead, it’s a qualifier for other stats. Normal qualifiers for stats are “even strength,” “power play,” or “penalty kill,” and understandably players stats differ based on each situation.

5 on 5 Close is a qualifier to show how guys play when the game is on the line, disregarding stats when a team is well ahead or well behind in any particular game. So what exactly makes a game “close?”

Within 1 goal (1st and 2nd periods) or tied (3rd period or overtime)

Example time! Let’s take a look at James Neal’s 2016-17 season with the Nashville Predators. Neal scored 22 goals, had a CF% of 58.3%, and a PDO of 99.9 last year. But when we drill it down to 5 on 5 Close, Neal’s numbers drop off a bit. 7 goals, CF% of 50.9% and a PDO of 98.6.

This is usually the part where we put Golden Knights stats and who is good at the stat and who is not. But, that makes absolutely no sense for this one, especially since none of these players have ever played together… so no soup for you.

Where this does become interesting will be when the Golden Knights finally start playing. Vegas is probably going to get beat a lot this year, and they’ll probably be out of 5 on 5 Close range quite often. But when they are in close games, we will be tracking time on ice, CF%, PDO, and many other stats which will translate in the future, when the Golden Knights are good.

5 on 5 Close, a stat that matters, a lot, but not for us yet.

First Team Eliminated In 2017-18? You Already Know Who THN Picked

Here at SinBin.vegas we are well aware that the Golden Knights aren’t going to be hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2018. We are even pretty sure they aren’t going to the playoffs. But because we don’t always want to be the bearers of bad news, we figured we would let someone else do it today.

The Hockey News’ Sam McCaig wrote an article predicting the 15 teams that won’t make the playoffs in 2017-18. Not surprisingly, the Golden Knights were in this group, but McCaig was even willing to go one step further.

Here are the 15 teams that are (much) more likely to win the draft lottery than the league title:

1. Vegas Golden Knights

The very first team out of the playoff picture, and the first team (much) more likely to win the lottery than the Cup.

Vegas loves a long shot, but the expansion Golden Knights will be wandering around the desert for at least a few years before they can contemplate the possibility of the post-season. -Sam McCaig, The Hockey News

Because we are a hybrid news/fan/bad jokes site, we’re obligated to call this is a DESPICABLE piece of literature and can’t believe someone would even begin to say anything other than “best expansion team ever.” However…

Nothing McCaig said is wrong, or even really all that close to being wrong. In fact, he’s kind of, dare I say… right. And actually, there’s a lot more chin scratching stuff in the articles trying to apologize for the Golden Knights than the ones saying it like it is. Compare this…

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