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Category: Personnel (Page 1 of 8)

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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Nate Schmidt Sounds Off On Arbitration

Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt was the only player in the NHL to have his contract through a ruling made in arbitration. In fact, he’s the first player to have done so since 2015.

It’s a process in which each side gets together (team and player/agent) and they make arguments to a third party arbitrator on what they believe the player should be paid. Obviously, this means the team wants a lower salary and the player/agent want higher. So, it turns into a bit of a tug-of-war between employee and employer.

It’s tough sometimes sitting in those meetings. 50% of it was awesome. You are sitting there and they are pumping your tires and talking about how great you are and I was thinking ‘man, I feel like a stud out here.’ Then the next part comes and I’m thinking ‘oh man, what am I doing, I should hang the skates up.’ I had a note pad and truth be told I kept writing down, ‘this is just a business this is not personal they don’t really feel this way.’ I had to repeat that a couple times and I was getting a little frustrated. -Nate Schmidt

Schmidt, appearing on the Vegas Hockey Hotline on KSHP 1400 (see below), also confirmed the rumors that the Golden Knights wanted a multi year deal while he was looking for a one year deal.

At first, we were thinking a one year deal but I love that I’ll be in this for an extra year. -Schmidt

Here at SinBin.vegas, we’ve speculated that the Golden Knights were using Schmidt to set an example, basically showing RFAs in the future they are willing to go all the way through with arbitration if that’s what it takes. Schmidt offered up another possible motive behind the case as well.

Hey, that’s just the way it goes. I tried to have a good attitude about it, it’s something they had never been through before some people maybe wanted to have some experience as well. I think it’s a great process because it brings the sides together because no one really wants to do it, but you know what I think it was good the way everything played out. -Schmidt

As always, Nate Schmidt is an absolute joy to listen to and his perspectives on the game, and life for that matter, are great. We’ve previously predicted that he’ll be the fan favorite when the Golden Knights finally finish up in Idaho, Montana, and Utah and head to Vegas. This interview only further confirms it. Give it a listen, it’s definitely a fun one.

**Interview starts at 48:30**

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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Golden Knights Might Actually Have More Scoring Than Expected

With a new team comes new opportunity. Whether that means more goal scoring chances, greater opportunity, more ice time, or even simply a spot on an NHL roster, every player under Golden Knights control has a chance to take a major step forward statistically in their careers.

Projecting the future is impossible, no matter what our article explaining PDO says. So, all we can really go off is what we've seen from players in the past. Here's a look at the highest goal, assist, and point total each Golden Knight has had in their career.

PlayerGoalsAssistsPoints
James Neal404181
Jonathan Marchessault302151
David Perron283557
Reilly Smith253151
Cody Eakin192140
Jason Garrison162633
Erik Haula152034
Oscar Lindberg131528
William Karlsson91925
Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare7714
Deryk Engelland61317
Teemu Pulkkinen6612
Colin Miller61316
Luca Sbisa51924
William Carrier538
Nate Schmidt31417
Shea Theodore379
Brayden McNabb22224
Jon Merrill21214
Clayton Stoner21010
Brendan Leipsic123
Griffin Reinhart011

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Arbitrator Awards Nate Schmidt Two Year Contract Worth $4.45M

For the first time since 2015, an NHL player filed for arbitration, went to the hearing, and was awarded a contract via arbitration.

Nate Schmidt, the player Vegas selected from the Washington Capitals at the Expansion Draft, was awarded a two year contract worth $4.45M.

Prior to the arbitration hearing it was reported Schmidt and his agent were seeking a one year deal for $2.75M while the Golden Knights were looking for a two year deal worth around $1M per year. Aside from the obvious difference in contract value, the length was an important portion of these negotiations, and likely the reason an arbitration hearing was necessary.

Schmidt, 26, will be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of his next contract, so it would have suited him nicely to be on a one year deal. Vegas on the other hand preferred to keep him under control for as long as possible, especially before having the opportunity to see him play in a Golden Knights jersey.

It went fine. Both sides were very professional and Nate handled it well. –Matt Keator, Schmidt’s agent

Neither the Golden Knights, Schmidt, nor his agent Matt Keator have commented since the ruling.

**We will have more if/when either side comments on the contract.**

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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“Hague Is Going To Be The Captain Of The Vegas Golden Knights At Some Point”

With the 34th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights selected Nic Hague, a 6’6″ 220 pound defenseman from the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads.

Hauge ranked as a first rounder in most publications and was consistently in the top 10 when ranking just defensemen.

The concern, like most big guys playing hockey, was whether or not he would be able to skate at an NHL level due to his size. Considering the Golden Knights specifically discussed the importance of skating as a top priority, he must have passed the test for McPhee, McCrimmon, and the boys.

We’ve heard a lot about Hague since July 24th when he selected with the 3rd pick in the 2nd round of the draft, but this distinction was new.

I think Hague is going to be the Captain of the Vegas Golden Knights at some point in time. The way he talks, the way he commands the players around him, his stature. He was the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year last year. He is a really impressive young man. –Gary Lawless, VGK Insider on SinBin.vegas Podcast

In a profile on Sportsnet Hague described school as “more important than hockey” and it showed out winning the Bobby Smith Trophy for OHL Academic Player of the Year. Of the 12 players to win the award prior to Hague, five of them went on to be captains or assistants in the NHL, including Connor McDavid, Dustin Brown, Matt Duchene, Ryan Ellis, and Steven Stamkos.

He’s consistently described as well-spoken, mature, and conducts himself like a pro.

Apparently he’s got a real mean streak in him. I’ve watched him shoot the puck, he can really fire it. -Lawless

He proved that by going completely nuts on a guy in the OHL playoffs. It’s pretty gnarly, check it out. Hague was suspended following the late punch, but he clearly showed some leadership qualities as the biggest guy on the team sticking up for his teammates.

We’re still looking at least a year or two before Hague even makes his debut at T-Mobile Arena, but he’s clearly made an impression on the reporter inside the building.

Are we looking at Chris Pronger light? You sure hope so. -Lawless

We’ve also seen names like Derian Hatcher, Adam Foote, and Scott Stevens. High praise that’s gonna be tough to live up to, but I hope he lives up to it too. I hope so too.

**Lawless made these comments on the most recent SinBin.vegas Podcast. If you don’t listen to our podcast, I’m not sure I can still like you.**

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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Can The Golden Knights Be Blown Out Even With Fleury In Net?

During a recent Twitter war discussion about the Golden Knights’ 2017-18 roster, a comment was made stating something to the effect of “there won’t be many blowouts with Fleury between the pipes.” Immediately the skeptical writer portion of my brain fired off wondering, is that accurate? So here we are now.

It should come as no surprise that Marc-Andre Fleury has been one of hockey’s best goalies over the first 13 years of his career, but it should also not knock your socks off to hear that he’s not the player he once was and there’s a reason the Penguins were willing to part with a 2nd round pick in 2020 for the Golden Knights to select Fleury rather than Ian Cole, Bryan Rust, or anyone else they left unprotected.

From the 2010-2011 season to the 2015-16 season, Fleury’s goals against average (GAA) was 2.34. In 2016-17 it was 3.02. Over the same span, he recorded 27 shutouts in 343 starts. Last year, he had one.

SeasonGSGAASV%SV% Rank
2016-17343.02.90941st
2015-16582.29.92112th
2014-15642.32.92016th
2013-14642.37.91526th

It’s possible it was simply just a down year for a guy who was in a weird situation as the backup to a 23-year-old who stole his job and his 2nd Cup. He also started just 34 games, his lowest (by more than 20) in any non-shortened season since 2007-08 when he was 23-years-old himself.

There’s something to be said about rhythm, flow, and consistency for a goalie, and it’s something he’ll likely get a bit more of in Vegas, but last year was a significant decline for Fleury, and if he plays like that again, Calvin Pickard‘s start numbers are going to increase quickly.

Back to the blowouts thing. I like charts, so here’s another chart.

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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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