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McPhee Bobbles Another Russian, This Time In A Much Different Way

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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Will Deryk Engelland’s Role Be Reduced in 2019-2020?

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.

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.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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 Had Surgery In November, Not ACL, Still No Timetable For Return

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon Spills Some Truth On Flames Pregame Show

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

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Two Stories About George McPhee Surface; One Good, One Not-So-Good

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

I said ‘Graham, call your dad and ask him.’ It’s still a long year. We have a lot of work to do, but we’ve got a pretty good club. –Jerry York to CollegeHockeyNews.com

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.

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William Hill Becomes First Sports Book To Partner With NHL Team

The world is changing all around us, especially professional sports. William Hill Sportsbook and the Vegas Golden Knights today made a joint announcement that both have reached a partnership. Thus, opening up possibly the biggest can of worms in pro sports in modern day history. The Golden Knights become the first professional sports franchise to join forces with a legal sports betting outlet.

We could not be more excited to partner with the Golden Knights.  We are headquartered in Las Vegas and have seen first-hand what this team has done for our community. William Hill is the leader in the U.S sports betting market and we are proud of the fact that this is the first sponsorship agreement between a sports book and an NHL team in the country.  We appreciate the leadership of Bill Foley and his Golden Knights management team in bringing a winning franchise to Las Vegas and always working to make the in-game experience the best anywhere. -Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US

The William Hill and Golden Knights partnership will feature a dasherboard ad, in-arena signage, updated league-wide odds displayed on the Knight Tron during intermission, an away game watch party, and recognition on the LED ribbon board of the “William Hill Line Change” when the Golden Knights make a line change during the game.

We are always looking for innovative ways to engage different segments our fan base and provide a unique fan experience. Like the Vegas Golden Knights, William Hill US is a proud ‘Vegas Born’ organization. This partnership between a major professional team and a sports book operator is a historic, landmark agreement and we are delighted to be leading the way with William Hill in this space. -Kerry Bubolz, Vegas Golden Knights President

William Hill is the premier sportsbook in Nevada and boasts the best, and easiest to use, mobile sports betting app on the market.

This is a proud moment for us here at SinBin.vegas because William Hill has been a sponsor with us nearly from the site’s inception. Now, they’ve made history breaking through the glass ceiling of partnerships with sports gambling companies and NHL teams.

What Exactly Happened That Forced The Canadiens To Trade Their Captain To The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Max Pacioretty is a bonafide star in the NHL. He’s scored 30 goals five times, been named an All Star three times, won the Masterton Award, and was named the captain of one of the most historic franchises in the NHL. When you dig even deeper into the stats you see that he’s a legitimate two-way winger who instantly makes the Golden Knights better both offensively and defensively.

So, the question you have to be asking is, why would the Canadiens ever let a guy like this go? To answer it, let’s hop into the SinBin.vegas time machine! (Don’t be scared, it’s really just us listing a timeline of events from newest to oldest.)

September 9, 2018
Vegas trades Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki and a 2019 second-round draft pick for Max Pacioretty

September 7, 2018
Pacioretty tells TSN Montreal that he has never asked to be traded and talks about Vegas

Everyone saw what Vegas did last year as a team… They were building a foundation from the ground up. They didn’t have any plans to make the Stanley Cup finals, and no expectations to do so either. Look what they were able to achieve. – Pacioretty on 9/7/18

I have to do my best to just completely block it out. Completely ignore the noise. -Pacioretty 9/7/18

September 5, 2018
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports Pacioretty will not talk contract negotiations with the Montreal Canadiens during the season

August 30, 2018
Pacioretty’s former teammate Lars Eller comes to his friend’s defense on twitter

August 28, 2018
Pacioretty tells reporters contract extension talks have ended and he’s concerned for his future in Montreal

July 30, 2018
Montreal Gazette reports Canadiens we’re having problems finding market value for Pacioretty

The problem for Bergevin is he’s been trying to trade Pacioretty for months and so far it hasn’t worked. So the other 30 general managers know Bergevin is desperate because it’s almost unimaginable that the Habs captain will start the year with Montreal. The other GMs can offer less than market value for him, knowing full well that Bergevin doesn’t have much room to maneuver. What I’m hearing from very reliable sources is that Canadiens management has been unhappy with Pacioretty for a while. -Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette

July 10, 2018
The Athletic reports Montreal will not offer Pacioretty a contract extension

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Schmidt’s Suspension Huge Here; Elsewhere? Not So Much

Have a feeling this picture is going to see some major use until November 18th. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was supposed to be an easy assignment. Go through the newswire, finding out what other NHL cities were saying about Nate Schmidt’s 20 game suspension. It’s big news to Golden Knights fans, and the expectation was there would be hot takes coming from everywhere else as well? After all, it’s the first PED suspension since 2016, and it’s a case that pushes the league’s banned substance policy to the edge.

Three and a half hours of searching harder than 11-year-old me searched for plastic eggs with nickels in them on Easter, I only found four outlets discussing Schmidt’s suspension or the league’s substance policy.

What stood out to me was Nate Schmidt said he only used supplements supplied by the team. The majority of the players do take some sort of supplement. Their diets are so sophisticated and the training is so sophisticated. – TSN’s Dave Poulin

The former NHL center was stunned to find out the tainted supplements Schmidt took came from the team. Suggesting any blame shouldn’t be placed on the player.

I see him (Schmidt) as somebody with a great deal of character. And as somebody that’ll bounce back from that. -Eric Duhatschek, The Athletic

While I could keep going, I simply can’t bury the lead any further. The real story is the lack of coverage. Schmidt’s suspension is a troubling issue for the Golden Knights and the NHL. The team and the player adamantly denied any knowledge of performance-enhancing supplements but the league maintained its zero policy stance. No matter how little the trace was, it seems to me, there is real disconnect with the league.

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Shea Theodore’s Picture Removed From City National Arena Scoreboard

As part of the sweet looking upgrades to City National Arena, the scoreboard in the rink the Golden Knights normally practice on got a massive remodel. In typical VGK fashion, a complete castle was built with two giant pictures flanking the scoreboard in the center.

If you look closely, you’ll notice only two players are prominently featured on the graphics. Marc-Andre Fleury’s mask and a clear shot of the back of Shea Theodore. That was until yesterday, when the graphic on the left was changed.

Just 15 days from the opening of training camp, Theodore still does not have a contract. If he doesn’t sign one by September 13th, he’ll miss the start of camp. If he does, it would have undoubtedly been super awkward to have a giant picture of him overlooking the rink while he’s the only Golden Knight not out there.

The team, however, says Theodore’s contract and the removal of the photo from the scoreboard are not related.

We were testing out different design treatments with the backlit signage. We wanted to show more of our primary home jersey in the left panel. We have the ability to change those out if we want to throughout the year. There are still more plans that are under construction that will be fully revealed at the start of training camp -Golden Knights team representative

Certainly a perfectly fair reasoning, and if it was anyone but Theodore it probably would have gone unnoticed. But alas, it was Theodore, it’s now gone, and it’s only natural to jump to conclusions.

Avoiding the potential awkwardness or simply a weird coincidence, we’ll let you be the judge. But one thing we are sure of, Shea Theodore’s picture will not be hanging above the rink when camp starts, whether the real Shea is on the ice below it or not.

(Stick tap to @jakeck for the photo of the new graphic.)

Golden Knights Quick Hitters

We promise something new on SinBin.vegas every day of the year (except Sundays) no matter whether the team is on the ice or it’s the middle of summer. Normally we pick one topic and throw everything we can possibly jam into one article at you and call it a day, but today we’re going to change it up a bit. Nothing really warranted a full story, so instead, we present you with “quick hitters.”

 Single Game Tickets On Sale Today

If you are following @GoldenKnights on Twitter, you’re probably already aware of this as they’ve found about 47 different creative ways to remind you, but if not, single game VGK seats go on sale at noon today.

Here’s the link to get tickets.

McPhee Stays Unbiased During Draft

With the 135th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Golden Knights selected Brandon Kruse from Bowling Green State University. BGSU just so happens to be GM George McPhee’s alma mater, however, in an interview with FloHockey.tv, he says that had no impact on his decision to draft Kruse.

It’s a coincidence. I leave our drafting up to our scouts. I’m happy that they drafted him because he’s a terrific player, and I’m glad that they weren’t influenced by me; there’s no bias involved, they took the best player available, who happened to play at Bowling Green. I’m excited that it provides another reason to get to Bowling Green this year and watch them play. -McPhee

100 Point Projection

The creator of Corsica.hockey released a projection for every team and had the Golden Knights once again eclipsing the century mark.

This model is widely regarded as one of the most accurate out there. Unlike most who had the Golden Knights in the 60’s or 70’s last season, Perry projected Vegas at 82, one of the highest we found. Hopefully, he’s 25 points short again. 

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