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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 16)

Vegas May Want Will Butcher, But Does He Want Vegas?

Before we all start panicking about Nate Schmidt’s ankle injury, let’s take a deep breath. George McPhee suggested it’ll take “the week or so” before an injury update. We can save our overreaction for when that “or so” bleeds into training camp. Plus, the Schmidt-scare gives us an opportunity to discuss the stud NCAA free agent defenseman the Golden Knights reached out to.

To our knowledge, Vegas has only pursued a few NCAA free agents during their first offseason, and Neal Pionk (signed w/ NRY) and Spencer Foo (signed w/ CGY) were the only two names seriously connected to the Golden Knights. Ultimately, both chose other NHL franchises, which makes you wonder, why?

I know that we’ve had real good coverage. We’ve targeted a very small number (of college free agents). To be honest with you, we haven’t cast a wide net. -Kelly McKrimmon, Assistant General Manager

That was Golden Knights’ Assistant GM back in early April. Foo and Pionk were targeted, and now Vegas appears to have its eyes on the new NCAA golden boy, Will Butcher.

The conversation went well. The management was well prepared and painted an impressive picture of their plan and how a player like Will would fit into that. –Brian Bartlett, Will Butcher’s agent to LVRJ

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Upper Deck Ignores VGK In First 2017-18 NHL Card Set

About a week ago, I found some old hockey cards getting dusty in my closet. As I sorted through, I noticed a handful of Golden Knight players. I found old Cody Eakin, Deryk Engelland, Marc-Andre Fleury, and multiple James Neal cards.

After trading VGK players with my one-year-old, I thought, screw these old cards. We need the 2017-18 Golden Knights player cards. It was time to reach out to Upper Deck, the crown jewel of trading cards. Player artwork, autographs, jersey swatches, and stick inserts are what UD excels in. In fact, this Upper Deck card got me amped for an eventual Erik Brannstrom Rookie Profile card.

I learned a lot about the trading card industry. It’s a slow but advanced process. I get it, we’re working with artists. For some reason, there is never enough time between seasons for trading card companies. For instance, players that relocate during the offseason usually get stuck in a previous team’s jersey on their new card. For example, Neal’s first Golden Knight’s card would likely be a picture of the forward in Predators yellow. So, that’s what I expected. Unfortunately, I was deeply disappointed.

When Upper Deck released their 2017-18 NHL MVP series checklist, the Golden Knights were completely invisible. Not one Vegas card was printed by Upper Deck for their first released series. It doesn’t end with UD, it’s possible other Golden Knight trading cards (O-pee-chee, Panini, Topps) won’t be available to start the season either. Here’s the Upper Deck team checklist, take a look. 

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Erik Brannstrom, Olympian?

If you happened to miss last week’s World Junior Summer Showcase then you really need to start following us on Twitter missed quite the showing from one of the Golden Knights’ three first round draft picks. Luckily, we were on full Erik Brannstrom watch, and boy was it something to watch.

Oh, he wasn’t done dishing.

Let’s face it, we’re Brann-addicts. (Holy balls this nickname is terrible, someone please come up with something better.) We want more, we want more. What made our jaws-drop last week is seeing Brannstrom’s dominance, and then realizing he’s still developing. Which creates a major epidemic of Brannstrom withdrawal. Luckily, the 17-year-old, he’ll be 18 in less than a month, defenseman will be back in Las Vegas later this summer. After camp, who knows how long before fans get to watch the puck-moving defenseman again.

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Goals Saved Above Average

After four advanced stats articles breaking down the prowess of skaters, it’s time to head to the crease and help you further examine goaltenders. The next stat up in our series of Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies is GSAA or Goals Saved Above Average.

For those who are baseball fans, this is essentially WAR (wins above replacement) for goalies. For those who aren’t baseball fans, smart thinking, baseball is boring.

Usually, we first try to explain what the stat is before we get into the formula of how it’s calculated, but this one is a bit convoluted when explained that way that we’ll start by simply saying, GSAA measures individual goalies against the league average goalie. That’s all you need to know, now follow through how it’s calculated.

First, we need to calculate the league average goalie. To do so, we take every save made by every goalie in the NHL and divide it by every single shot on goal over the course of a season.

To simply the numbers let’s use a hypothetical using just one game. Say the first game of the season there are 50 total shots on net, 25 by each team. A total of five goals are scored, so 45 shots are saved. Thus, the league average is 45/50=0.900.

Now, we take an individual goalies stats. Let’s say he gave up one goal on 25 shots, meaning he saved 24.

GSAA = [Shots against x (1 – league-average save percentage)] – goals allowed

So, our goalie faced 25 shots, he allowed 1 goal, and the league average is 0.900.

[25 x (1-0.900)] – 1
[25 x 0.1] – 1
2.5-1
GSAA = 1.5

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The Mantra Puts Major Pressure On McPhee And Gallant

Playoffs in three, Cup in six, the mantra. As a fan, you’ve got to love the optimism, no matter how unlikely you feel it may be, but have you ever wondered how George McPhee and Gerard Gallant feel about the mantra? Let’s be honest, it has to make them uneasy.

Does The Creator’s wish list mean there’s an apocalypse clock on McPhee and Gallant and does “no excuses, that’s the standard,” mean the coach/GM duo have a hard deadline? Whether true or not, there’s no question every time the mantra is said publicly by the guy signing the checks, pressure has to be mounting for McPhee and Gallant.

So, just how ambitious or impatient is The Creator with his future plan? After researching expansion history, “playoffs in three and Cup in six” doesn’t seem that far off for a new owner’s expectations. We can’t find any other owners publicly stating a mantra like this (let alone hundreds of times), but it appears to be a standard set decades ago. In fact, three and six would actually have been considered overly patient for many new owners.

San Jose Sharks
First coach: George Kingston
Two seasons: 1991-93 (fired offseason)
Win% .129 (28-129-7)

First GM: Jack Ferreira
One season: 1990-92; 17 wins (39 points)

Ottawa Senators
First Coach: Rick Bowness
Four seasons: 1992-95 (fired mid-season)
Win% .204 (39-178-18)

First GM: Mel Bridgman
One season: 1991-93; 10 wins (24 points)

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McPhee’s First Round Draft Success Rate

When we examined George McPhee’s draft history months ago, we found he favored first-round centers over any other position. In 17 prior entry drafts, McPhee drafted eight top-round centers. His first draft with the Golden Knights was no different, he drafted two first round centers. While we wait for Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki to develop let’s look into McPhee’s first-round center success rate.

In Washington, McPhee made 20 first-round picks in 17 drafts. Add his latest first-round picks, and McPhee has now personally drafted 23 first round prospects in 18 drafts. (No first round picks in 1998, 2001, 2011)

Center – 10
Right Wing – 3
Left Wing – 2
Defenseman – 7
Goaltender – 1

McPhee’s first entry draft as Golden Knights GM shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Drafting Glass and Suzuki were conventional selections for the Vegas GM. Drafting Erik Brannstrom in the first-round was also right on par for McPhee. In Washington, three of his six defensive prospects Nick Boynton, Karl Alzner and John Carlson, became solid NHL players. Vegas fans should feel optimistic McPhee’s success rate got better, as he became more experienced. As a reminder, here’s GM McPhee’s full first round draft history.

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Forgotten Knights: A Rundown Of The Least Talked About Golden Knights

It’s been a little over a month since the Golden Knights went from having three players to more than 50. Because of the massive influx, certain players have risen to the top of mind when discussing the team. Guys like Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal, Shea Theodore, and Alex Tuch. There’s a reason for it, but as we examined the roster, we realized there are a bunch of players on the Golden Knights roster who will make a significant impact on the ice that we’ve barely even talked about, and we post an article every single day. So,

There’s a reason for it, but as we examined the roster, we realized there are a bunch of players on the Golden Knights roster who will make a significant impact on the ice that we’ve barely even talked about, and we post an article every single day. So, here’s a quick look at some of the under talked about, and kind of underappreciated, inaugural Golden Knights.

David Perron: Forward
Career: 652 Games, 159 Goals, 378 Points

Perron is getting overshadowed by his future teammates James Neal, Vadim Shipachyov and Jonathan Marchessault. A potential deadline trade victim, the 12-year veteran has the ability to generate offense. Another Golden Knight with a high career shooting percentage, Perron’s 11.9% will help Vegas put pressure on opposing goaltenders. The former first-round pick in 2007 (26th overall) has scored 15+ goals six times in his career. In the forward’s second go-around in St.Louis, he thankfully improved defensively. Perron had a career highs in blocked shots and came close to a career high in takeaways. Defensive responsibility will be an important aspect for all Vegas forwards.

Erik Haula: Forward
Career: 266 Games, 42 Games, 89 Points

The other guy the Golden Knights got from Minnesota, and the one fans will see much more of in the short term. Haula should excite Vegas fans with his speed and strong two-way play. That’s evident by his career 55.5% defensive Zone Starts. (Read more about Zone Starts) The former Golden Gopher is also not afraid to let the puck go. Haula’s 11.2% shooting percentage is above the league average. His three-year $8.25M deal coupled with the Expansion Draft hole the Golden Knights had the Wild in is a strong sign he’s in the organization’s future plans. Hopefully, Haula’s Gopher roommate Nate Schmidt will sign his new deal this week.

At least I’ll have one really familiar face. I’m sure everything is going to fall into place. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun for all of us. I don’t really know what to expect. I’m just going to go to camp and see what happens. It’s all going to be new for me. -Haula

Jon Merrill: Defenseman
Career: 216 Games, 30 Assists, 36 Points

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: PDO

We’ve already taught you about Corsi, Zone Starts, and First Assist, now it’s time for the fourth installment of the ever popular segment. Today we’re taking on a slightly more complicated one… PDO. The NHL refers to this stat as SPSV%.

Tim Barnes ran the now defunct website Irreverent Oilers Fans. While doing so he used the pseudonym Vic Ferrari. Brian King was another writer on the site and used the nickname PDO. Barnes began delving into stats and came up with the terms Corsi and Fenwick, and eventually with the help of King came up a stat they named after King, calling it PDO. Or something like that, the story gets twisted a lot.

Yeah, but who gives a damn about the name, just tell me what the hell it is. Fine, calm the F down. But first, remember that PDO and SPSV% are the same thing. For the remainder of this article, we are calling it PDO, cause it’s cooler and the NHL is lame for changing it.

PDO is the sum of shooting percentage and save percentage while a player is on the ice. Shooting percentage is number of goals scored divided by total number of shots of all players on that players team while on the ice (oiSH%). Save percentage is number of saved shots divided by total number of shots by the opponent while a player is on the ice (oiSV%).

(Similar to Corsi, it doesn’t matter if an individual player actually takes a shot, all that matters is that he’s on the ice when a shot is taken or a save is made.)

Example time! Erik Haula is on the ice for a total of 10 minutes during a game. During those 10 minutes, the Golden Knights have 20 shots and 1 goal. In those same 10 minutes the Kings have 10 shots and also have 1 goal. Therefore, nine saves were made by the Golden Knights while Haula was on the ice.

On Ice Shooting Percentage (oiSH%) – 1/20 = 5%
On Ice Save Percentage (oiSV%) – 9/10 – 90%
PDO – 5% + 90% = 95

PDO is usually measured against the number 100 because a shot is either scored or saved. Think of it like flipping a coin. It’s either heads or tails, so over the course of all flips, the percentage of heads plus tails will be 100%. Under the same mathematic principle, the average of all shots made plus all shots saved will be 100%.

The working theory in hockey is about 8% of shots are made meaning 92% are saved. So, over time, player’s PDO numbers should regress toward 100 (8+92).  Of course, that’s ridiculous because some players are better than others and luck is heavily involved in hockey, but a player’s PDO can often be an indicator of the future of a player’s season or career.

Let’s look at some Golden Knights PDO numbers. Forwards first…

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Nate Schmidt’s Going To Be Your Favorite Player, You Just Don’t Know It Yet

Unfortunately, SinBin.vegas has nothing to update regarding Nate Schmidt‘s pending contract. His scheduled arbitration hearing on August 3rd is quickly approaching and we’re hoping a third-party ruling is unnecessary. If you need an arbitration lesson, watch this quick video the Golden Knights posted.

According to some projections, Schmidt is due to make $2+ million per year. By all accounts the Golden Knights are anticipating a signed contract with the former Golden Gopher defenseman.

We’ll do our best to reach a deal. But we’re comfortable with the arbitration process because it gets the deal done. -George McPhee to Review-Journal

It’s in everyone’s, including fans, best interest a deal gets done amicably. The last thing VGK fans need is an unhappy Mr. Smile. Vegas fans will want the same fun, wild Schmidt Washington adored. Don’t believe me? Believe the hundreds of pissed-off Capitals fans on Twitter. Their collective depression should have Vegas fans ecstatic. Schmidt is the early favorite to become a the next Strip celebrity.

Here are comments from heart-broken Capitals fans this past week.

https://twitter.com/cheerknithanson/status/889528840816648194

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: First Assist

Time for episode three of Advanced Stats for Dummies (see Corsi For Percentage and Zone Starts). Today we are diving deeper into the word assist to explain the meaning and importance of the stat “First Assist.”

Quite simply, the First Assist (FirstA) is awarded to the player who last touched the puck before the player who scored. In other sports, like basketball or soccer, this is the only player to record an assist, but in hockey, multiple assists are awarded for every goal. Only one First Assist is awarded per goal.

Example time! The Golden Knights have the puck in their defensive zone, Nate Schmidt zips the puck up the boards to Reilly Smith, Smith takes it and passes it to Vadim Shipachyov, Shipachyov shoots and scores.

Goal (G) – Shipachyov
Assists (A) – Smith, Schmidt
First Assist (FirstA) – Smith

The reason First Assist is measured is because it’s often an indicator of actual impact on the play. Often times in hockey, a player makes a simple pass and ends up getting an assist out of it. Goalies accounted for 35 assists last season, only five of them were First Assists (14.3%). On the flip side, Connor McDavid recorded 70 assists and 44 of them were First Assists (62.9%).

First Assist is a good measure of playmaking impact on the ice, ability to generate offense, and puck focus. Not every time, but in most cases, the final pass before the goal was more important than the pass that led to the pass before the goal. In other words, First Assist is a validation of the total assist number.

Let’s take a look at how the Golden Knights roster fares in the First Assist category.

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