For the first time in franchise history, all seven Golden Knights preseason games are being shown on TV. Last year just two were broadcast and the first year it was hard to even get any because of #CoxBlocked.
However, this year, KTNV stepped up to broadcast them all and it’s paying off in a big way in regards to ratings.
Just four games into the preseason, three games have pulled in at least a 4.6 rating and the same three garnered at least an eight share. That means 8% of televisions that were turned on in the Las Vegas area were watching a meaningless exhibition game. Here are all four game’s numbers.
vs. Arizona – 2.8 Rating / 5 Share at Colorado – 4.9 Rating / 9 Share at Los Angeles – 5.0 Rating / 9 Share at San Jose – 4.6 Rating / 8 Share
Of course, the numbers are better for the road games as 17,767 fans were in the building watching the home game. The three road games average a 4.8 rating and a 8.7 share. If that was to continue for the entire regular season, it would rank in the top three in the NHL for TV ratings.
And these are preseason games!
There are three preseason games left, all at home, and then it’s time for the one that counts on October 2nd on NBCSN.
Who knows what the outcome of the game will be (the Golden Knights better win), but one thing that is for sure, a ridiculous amount of people in the Vegas valley will be watching.
We are just 21 days away from Opening Night at T-Mobile Arena. Which means, the William Hill mobile sports app is stocked with Golden Knights related bets and props.
Whether you gamble or not, prop bets always give us a rough idea of expectations heading into a new season. This year, William Hill has listed 11 prop bets including eight-player specific bets. Here are my picks on each and every one of them. (Last year I went 6-3.)
Regular Season Points O/U 101.5
The Golden Knights had 109 in Year 1 and 93 in Year 2, this year’s total is smack dab in between the two. The biggest question of whether they’ll get there or not will be health. If the Golden Knights are relatively healthy through a majority of the season, they’ll reach 102 without any issue. But, if they lose one of the centers, Stone, Schmidt, or Fleury, they could see some rough stretches that keep them from the century mark. Think back to last season, the first 20 games, the poo stretch before the trade deadline, the way they limped to the end, a lot went wrong, and they still got to 93. I have to believe this year will be at least a bit smoother.
Pick: OVER 101.5
October Points O/U 17.5
With the season starting on the 2nd, the October schedule is pretty packed. The Golden Knights play 14 games with eight of them being at home. It’s also a nicely laid out schedule with minimal travel and just one back-to-back. In fact, I listed the last two weeks of October as one of the softest stretches in the entire season schedule. The first two games are going to go a long way to determining whether or not they reach this number, but I don’t expect them to lose both which means they’ll need 16 points in 12 games. The opponents aren’t exactly easy as a whole, but the Golden Knights should come out motivated and that will lead them to a solid 18+ point month.
I think it's a little much, just because I believe it's necessarily the main goal for VGK this season. Betting odds are always going to be skewed towards VGK though due to the money that comes in on them. https://t.co/cPRZzYn2jh
Fair question and I don't really have an answer. RFA's without arbitration rights always have the potential to take a while because of the lack of leverage the player holds. I'd be surprised if he misses camp though because he needs to be there to win a job. https://t.co/hPkKhUb1Fv
I don't buy that for a second. No one would probably give fair value for them (meaning McPhee would have probably gotten fleeced in the deals) but if they really wanted them out of here, they wouldn't be here. https://t.co/a73wWpy8Fi
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.
2019 marked the first time in the history of the NHL that a playoff game was played following the elimination of the Vegas Golden Knights.
(It almost makes it sound cool that the Golden Knights were eliminated. No? Oh well, I tried.)
Conventional wisdom would say that once Vegas’ team was gone from the playoffs, especially with the way it happened, that the market would shut their TV’s off from the rest of the postseason. However, the proved to be far from the case.
Las Vegas ranked 9th in the country for the top markets across the entire Stanley Cup Final drawing a 4.4 rating (meaning 4.4% of Vegas households were watched the games).
Top 10 Markets across the Stanley Cup Final on NBC/NBCSN
St. Louis 28.7
Kansas City 5.6
Ft. Myers 4.5
Las Vegas 4.4
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final came in as the most watched non-Golden Knights game in city history, pulling in a 7.6 rating, also ranked 9th in the United States.
As for Golden Knights games, the ratings were incredibly impressive once again, blowing all other competing shows out of the water.
Now that the wait is over and fan favorite Deryk Engelland signed his new contract to stay in Las Vegas, it’s time to discuss his future impact. First off, let’s note that Engelland will receive less money in 2019-2020 but will have a chance to make up for it.
Deryk Engelland has re-signed with the Golden Knights for the league minimum of $700,000 with performance bonuses which could reach as high as $1.5 millon.
At 37-years-old you’d assume his overall presence would begin to drop off. After all, his time on ice dwindled from 20:17 ATOI in 2017-18, to 19:53 ATOI in 2018-19. I’m being sarcastic, that’s not much of a difference. Same can be said for his penalty kill minutes, it’s virtually equal to VGK’s first season and I could argue he was as good if not better in 2018-19.
Just take a look at Engelland’s 2019 Postseason penalty killing performance.
Game 1: 4:26 PK Minutes (Game Leader), 1 Goal/5 San Jose Power Plays
Game 2: 9:19 PK Minutes (Game Leader), 1 Goal/8 San Jose Power Plays
Game 3: 4:16 PK Minutes (Team Leader), 1 Goal/3 Power Plays
Game 4: 4:31 PK Minutes, 0 Goals/4 San Jose Power Plays
Game 5: 3:15 PK Minutes (Game Leader), 1 Goal/3 San Jose Power Plays
Game 6: 2:45 PK Minutes, 0 Goals/2 San Jose Power Plays
Game 7: 7:56 PK Minutes (Game Leader), *4 Goals/9 San Jose Power Plays
Total: 36:28 PK Minutes, 5 Goals/34 Power Plays, 0.13 San Jose PPG when Engelland was on the ice.
*You all know why there’s an asterisk
So just on defensive special teams alone, Engelland’s return is a positive one. However, the issue could be on even-strength. How will the Golden Knights coaching staff deploy the elder statesmen this season? Is it possible Jon Merrill, Nick Holden(if still on the roster), or Rookie d-men see more time on 5v5 than in 2018-19. That direction would balance Engelland’s minutes under 18-19 minutes a game. Which could be more beneficial for the team.
A big part of my game is killing penalties-Deryk Engelland
Another element to Engelland’s 2019-2020 usage will be who he is paired up with. Over the past two seasons, it’s been a consistent dose of Engelland and Shea Theodore. I’d assume with the uncertainty of the younger defenseman, that pairing would remain the same to start training camp and the season. That doesn’t mean it will stay that way, and frankly I don’t think it will. With the possibility of a rookie in the lineup nightly, Vegas may want to break in the young blueliner with an experienced, reliable defenseman like Engelland. It worked for Theodore.
In a perfect world, Engelland would see less even-strength minutes and continue to be a rock on the penalty kill. Keep in mind the Golden Knights paid him less money to stay which could be a sign the organization sees Engelland playing a lesser role this season. Or it’s just another shrewd business move by the front office.
Either way, subtracting 5v5 minutes means fresher legs on the PK. It’s an easy, obvious approach to distribute minutes and get the most out of the 37-year-old in 2019-2020. It’s almost too obvious if a half-wit like me can figure it out. Clearly he’s valued and trusted on the ice by the coaching staff which would lead you to believe they expect the same #5 out there. And how can you fault them after two successful seasons with Vegas?
To go back to Russia. VGK would then forfeit his rights in a year and he could come back as a UFA. He holds about as much power as you can as an RFA. It's not an ideal situation for VGK, but they put themselves here. https://t.co/J61oshb3oQ
If they trade Gusev and sign another scorer, my head might explode. Why give up Gusev and Haula and then use that money to bring in someone else? The whole trading Gusev and Haula thing doesn't add up to me which is why I still don't think it's happening. https://t.co/iIKHBFydbn
The Golden Knights weren’t able to repeat as Western Conference Champions (#NotAMajor), but they were able to successfully defend another title in year 2018-19.
For the second straight year, the Golden Knights sold the most jerseys in the NHL according to CMO Brian Killingsworth.
In Year 1, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the expansion team would top the list as literally every fan had to buy a new jersey. But to keep it up in Year 2 is quite the achievement.
The Golden Knights also topped the NHL in sales per cap (measured by fans/attendance) at in-arena team stores. And, Killingsworth confirmed during the 2018 playoff run people from over 110 countries bought Golden Knights apparel.
Marc-Andre Fleury finished atop the list of Golden Knights players for most jerseys sold and ranked 3rd behind Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
The top five Golden Knights jerseys sold were:
Killingsworth noted that Mark Stone made a strong push towards the top five in the few months following the trade deadline but didn’t quite crack the top five.
All in all, another year of dominance in the apparel market for the Golden Knights. It will be challenging to repeat as champs again in Years 3 and 4, and even tougher in Year 5 with the Seattle expansion franchise coming in, but if any city can do it, it’s Vegas.
Year 2 was a lot different than Year 1 in many ways, but that doesn’t mean the 2018-19 season didn’t have its fair share of incredible moments. We asked on social media for fans’ favorite moments from the season and we’ve compiled them into one mega multi-media post.
(This post is brought to you by the Charity Series of Poker. Please register in Saturday’s poker tournament benefitting VGK Sled Hockey. More details here.)
January 19th, 2019 – Jonathan Marchessault Hat Trick
Marchy Hatty! First one of the year for VGK and the 2nd player ever to record one. He took about a 2 minute long shift to get it. pic.twitter.com/C4hRsL1B20
Anyone who has watched playoff hockey has probably imagined being part of a handshake line after a successful series. Walking through as the team that lost though, that’s not one that normally comes up in the childhood dreams.
It’s the hardest thing to do. -Nate Schmidt
After the Golden Knights brutal Game 7 loss in San Jose, the players followed hockey tradition and formed the classic handshake line. Still torn up from last season’s Stanley Cup finals handshake, an animated Schmidt confirmed it’s as miserable as it looks.
The hardest thing I did last year was the handshake line, and the hardest thing I did this year was the handshake line. -Schmidt
For many of the Golden Knights, it’s their fifth handshake line in two years, the last two have been tough to swallow. It’s painful to watch for fans (I bet many of you didn’t even leave the TV on long enough to watch it) and even more painful for the players to go through. No one wants to end their season shaking the hand of the victor, especially after a series as bitter that that one.
It’s hard to win. Just look at all the teams that are out. It’s crazy. It’s a hard league to win, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now. -Schmidt
I’ve never been in a position to basically be forced to shake hands with an enemy, but I imagine I probably couldn’t handle it as well as Nate, Ryan Reaves, and every other Golden Knight.
It doesn’t matter what happens in the series. You go to war with guys who play the same sport as you. No matter what the outcome is, you shake their hand. -Ryan Reaves
Just imagine shaking hands with Evander Kane, Logan Couture, or Joe Thornton after being shoved and slugged for seven games. It would take a lot of sedatives to get me through it. Fortunately, NHL players make enough money (or are just better people) that they quickly forgive dirty elbows and gloved sucker punches after the whistle.
Whether we like each other or not, it was a good, hard fought series and you got to show your respect. -Reaves