Every year the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) conducts a poll among more than 500 players asking a wide-ranging variety of topics.
In the Golden Knights’ first season there were just two mentions of Vegas related items in the poll. Last year that number jumped to five. This year takes the cake with seven total Golden Knights mentions.
We’ll start with the team related ones. First, in a bit of a surprise, the Golden Knights were voted to have the second-best jersey in all of the NHL.
Last year T-Mobile-Arena was voted as having the best atmosphere in the league. This year that category was left off, but that didn’t keep Vegas away from the arena related items.
The best individual honor received by a Golden Knight went to Marc-Andre Fleury.
Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. -Gary Bettman
The decision to temporarily suspend play due to the COVID-19 pandemic is an appropriate course of action at this time. The NHLPA will continue to closely monitor this very dynamic situation and remain in daily discussions with the league, our medical consultants, and our players regarding all aspects of this matter. The players are looking forward to the opportunity to resume play in front of hockey fans everywhere. -NHLPA
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston refuted the Golden Knights being in on Gustafsson but said they do have interest in Toronto’s Tyson Barrie (Source: @BrianBlessing)
The Creator mentioned “secondary moves”, plural, in his recent interview on Vegas Hockey Hotline. They’ve made one since that interview. (Source: Vegas Hockey Hotline)
Former Golden Knight Erik Haula was traded to the Florida Panthers with Lucas Wallmark in exchange for Vincent Trochek. (Source: @frank_seravalli)
This trade triggers the condition on the 2021 Conditional 5th Round Pick the Golden Knights acquired from the Hurricanes in the Vegas/Carolina trade. Vegas will get the Canes 5th in the 2021 Draft. (Source: @PierreVLeBrun)
The Golden Knights next opponent, the Edmonton Oilers, have acquired Andreas Athanasiou from Detroit. (Source: @GMillerTSN)
GM Kelly McCrimmon will hold a press conference at 3:30 PM today whether the Golden Knights make a move or not. (Source: Golden Knights)
Speaking at the Henderson “State of the City” address, Kerry Bubolz confirmed the location of the new arena for the AHL team.
We’re going to be building a brand new American Hockey League arena on the Pavilion site right here in Henderson. -Kerry Bubolz
The Henderson Pavilion is located on the corner of Paseo Verde Parkway and Green Valley Parkway, across the street from Green Valley Ranch Casino.
We’re looking to build this facility, it’ll be world-class, it’ll be 6,000 seats, it’ll be the perfect size for American Hockey league play. -Bubolz
Bubolz confirmed that the team has already taken over 5,300 refundable deposits for the AHL franchise yet to be officially named.
The Creator did give a slight hint to the name though.
Our AHL team name will include the name of this town, Henderson. -The Creator
The Golden Knights announced yesterday the new AHL will play its home games at Orleans Arena for the 2020-21 season. Our sources indicate that the plan is for the team to play there for two or three seasons while the new arena is being built.
The team name is expected to be Henderson Silver Knights, but it has not been finalized at this time.
A group of five Golden Knights, led by Alex Tuch, have officially opened the first NHL player-owned sports bar in Las Vegas. Deryk Engelland, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Tuch took over Wolfgang Puck’s previous place in Downtown Summerlin, and with the help of Puck and his staff, have opened the “Player’s Locker.”
I brought it to a few different guys on the team. It was guys that I saw were going to be here for a long time. Shea Theodore was one of the first ones I went to. We’re really close and I just wanted other guys that really showed interest. I think we have a really good group and I’m really excited about it. -Alex Tuch
The restaurant had its “soft opening” Saturday and has a grand opening in the works soon. It’s a mix of upscale Wolfgang Puck inspired food with a bar food twist. The menu includes one dish named after each player.
In exchange for selecting Jason Garrison, and his exorbitant contract, in the Expansion Draft, the Golden Knights received a 2nd round pick (which they traded for Keegan Kolesar), a 4th round pick (which they selected Paul Cotter) and Nikita Gusev.
Three assets in exchange for not only taking a bad contract off the hands of a contending team, but also laying off players like Yanni Gourde, J.T. Brown, Andrej Sustr, Slater Koekkoek, and others.
It was a cross between the expansion situations with Columbus and the New York Islanders and that of Minnesota and Florida, but it most resembled the pickle Anaheim found itself in.
With the Ducks, Vegas received Shea Theodore for laying off Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson and picking up the bad contract of Clayton Stoner. Anaheim’s available options were better, but Garrison’s contract was much worse.
So, from Tampa Vegas got a pair of picks and an asset who was sitting over in Russia waiting for the time to come to make the leap to the NHL. No matter when that happened, he would become a Golden Knights.
If you go through every trade Vegas executed at the Expansion Draft, it’s reasonable to believe that Gusev’s value at the Expansion Draft was somewhere between a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick. The exact value depends on how badly Tampa needed to get rid of Garrison’s contract as well as how much they valued their exposed players.
Since that day, George McPhee and the Golden Knights tried to diminish Gusev’s market price, while the Russian has done nothing but raise it. Finally it came to a head yesterday when the Devils sent a measly package of a 2nd and a 3rd round pick to end the Gusev in Vegas saga.
When Vegas acquired Gusev, he had just finished a breakout season putting up 71 points in the 2016-17 season. It was the first time he scored more than 40 points in the KHL. On the international stage he had dominated the World Junior tournament years prior and put up impressive numbers at the World Cup but his track record as short.
Since, he’s won back-to-back KHL MVP’s, broke the record for assists in a season, won a Gold medal, dominated at the IIHF World Championships and cemented himself as the best player outside of the NHL. (Read more about that here.)
In other words, he went from a player who appeared to be headed in the right direction to one who burst into a full fledged superstar everywhere but the NHL. Whatever his stock was in June of 2017, it has surely risen dramatically since.
Then there are the Golden Knights who did the opposite. At every pass, they diminished his value.
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?
Erik Haula sustained a nasty looking injury on November 6th when he got his skate caught in the boards causing his knee to buckle under him. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and has been described as “month-to-month.”
When originally asked about surgery, Gerard Gallant said he did not know, but now via a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, George McPhee has confirmed Haula did indeed undergo a surgery on his right knee.
He did have surgery. It’s a unique injury. It wasn’t an ACL, as some people reported. It’s not an ACL. It’s just an atypical injury for hockey. -George McPhee to LVRJ
The report McPhee is referring to was an article published by VGKLadies.com which was published 10 days after the incident. McPhee told the Review-Journal that Haula’s surgery took place a couple weeks after the injury.
The timetable for Haula’s return remains unclear as the team is saying the injury and surgery are abnormal and thus the recovery time is hard to predict.
I know it’s not going to be for the next two months for sure, but after that I don’t know. -McPhee to LVRJ
Neither Gallant nor McPhee would rule Haula out for the season, which means they have a reasonable expectation that he could return this season.
The hope, of course, is that Haula would be able to rejoin the team down the stretch run and into the playoffs. If the timing works out, it might almost serve as a trade deadline acquisition and may even dissuade McPhee from making a move at that time.
Deep down, I’m sure they’re panicking a little too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
It’s been a tough start for the Golden Knights and everyone is aware. Players are scratching their heads, fans are panicking, and some are flipping their lids. Heck, I can’t even keep Ken under control (but honestly, he’s not wrong in his premise).
With only 19 points in 22 games, the pressure is starting to build, but the Golden Knights front office remains cool and collected despite the sluggish start.
We’re working our way through, like a lot of teams go through in different times of the year. We had a tough schedule, we’ve had some injuries, some of the things everybody deals with over the course of an 82-game season. -Kelly McCrimmon, Assistant GM
During the Flames pregame show, Vegas assistant General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discussed his team’s disappointing first quarter of the season. While concerned, the second man in charge wasn’t shocked by the Golden Knights early struggles.
We’ve encountered some bad luck obviously, Nate Schmidt being out of the lineup for the first twenty games was a key loss for us. We’re trying to stay in the pack and give ourselves a chance to make a move here as we get a little bit healthier. -McCrimmon
Of course, it’s not the start the Golden Knights front office expected but they still feel confident in their club, and they are definitely not feeling the heat from the fans and whack-job bloggers writers who cover the team.
Well, when you’ve been to the Stanley Cup Final, teams use that as a measuring stick that following year. We’re getting everyone’s best game, that’s fine in the long run. I don’t think we’ve had any tremendous pressure put on us from our fans or the media. Like you might more so in a Canadian market. We put a lot pressure on ourselves. It’s hard league to win in and we’re working extremely hard to get our share of victories to make sure we’re in the playoffs. -McCrimmon
One of our habits here at SinBin.vegas is to scour the Internet for any and all stories about the Golden Knights. Whether they are about ex-players, prospects, coaches, executives, or in today’s case the General Manager, if it’s out there, we find it. George McPhee’s name popped up in multiple places this week starting with an interview on Hockey Central in which he gave an update on Paul Stastny’s status, but that was the least interesting thing we found concerning the architect of the Golden Knights. Two stories worth sharing found their way onto the web, one good one, one not-so-good one.
We’ll start with the good story.
When McPhee was senior in college at Bowling Green the team he captained started the season 0-6-1. They went on to turn things around and win the CCHA regular season and playoff titles and made the national tournament. The head coach of that team was Jerry York. York’s team this year has another McPhee, George’s son, Graham. Graham’s team at Boston College was 0-5-0 and York had McPhee turn to his old man for a little reassurance.
You guys have probably never been 0-5-0. You just haven’t. But I’ve been there. Graham McPhee’s father was our senior captain at Bowling Green. We started 0-6-1. I told them I’ve been there, and that this team has a chance to become a very good team for us. Believe me, just because you start 0-5-0, doesn’t mean you have to have a lousy year. -York
A few days later, Boston College won their first game of the season and have won three straight since. Who knows what McPhee actually said to his son and how much of that message made it to Graham’s teammates, but it makes for a good story if we give all the credit to George, so we’re going to do that.
On to the other story, which is not nearly as positive for the Golden Knights GM.
While McPhee was the GM of the Washington Capitals he made a trade that sent Jaromir Jagr to the New York Rangers, for now NBC studio host, Anson Carter.
As the story goes, (you can read the whole thing here) the Capitals arranged a driver to bring Carter to his condo to gather his belongings before heading out to the Caps next game. Carter says he was on the phone with a female hairstylist while in the car setting up a time for her to meet with him to tend to his glorious dreadlocks.
Later, when he got to Washington D.C., Carter was called into the head coach’s office.