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Category: Team Ops (Page 1 of 55)

Hyka And Wong Continue Push For Roster Spots

It’s becoming undeniable at this point.

Sign here, please. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tomas Hyka scored again, his sixth goal in five games in a Golden Knights sweater, and Tyler Wong had an impact on just about every shift on the ice during the Golden Knights 4-2 preseason win in Anaheim.

Both were brought into the Golden Knights organization (or at least the Chicago Wolves for Wong) prior to the Expansion Draft and they are both making it difficult to be sent away as final cuts near at training camp this week.

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, it’s unlikely George McPhee elects to keep multiple players like Wong, Hyka, and the now-injured Brendan Leipsic, but when compared to the likes of William Carrier, Tomas Nosek, T.J. Tynan, Stefan Matteau, or Paul Thompson it’s going to be tough to rationalize sending any of the three to Chicago.

No doubt, they played very well and Hyka scored a nice redirect goal tonight. He finds a way to put the puck in the back of the net. A lot of guys played a good game tonight and we are really happy with the effort we put out in tonight’s game. -Gallant

It’s not just goals either, Hyka and Wong played together on multiple power plays and their ability to keep the puck in the zone and moving was superb.

The Golden Knights have three preseason games left, all at T-Mobile Arena over the next week. Gerard Gallant has mentioned on numerous occasions that he expects the final two games to be close to the opening night roster, don’t be surprised if either Hyka or Wong, if not both, are on it.

Leipsic Hurt, Roster Spot In Jeopardy?

Get healthy man, your roster spot relies on it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When you look at the back end of the roster for the Golden Knights there is a group of about seven forwards all vying for a one, possibly two, spots. Of the players in the running to leave camp with that 12th or 13th forward spot, one of them has been absent recently.

That man is Brendan Leipsic, the diminutive forward the Golden Knights selected from the Maple Leafs in the Expansion Draft. He was not skating during the most recent session of practice at City National Arena due to an injury that dates back to Thursday.

He had a minor injury last game in the warm up. He’s going to be five or seven days, no more than that. So it’s nothing major. -Gerard Gallant

That kept Leipsic out of the third preseason game in San Jose, and he was also not in the lineup for the game in Colorado. The injury will certainly keep him out of today’s game in Anaheim, and very well could see him miss Tuesday and Thursday’s preseason games at T-Mobile Arena.

Gallant has made it clear that he wants his roster to be nearly fully formed by the final two preseason games, and with Leipsic not having a chance to perform in a game, his spot on the roster is in serious jeopardy, no matter than his coach is saying in press conferences.

We never cut guys because of injuries. It’s nothing serious, so he’ll do some off-ice stuff the next few days and then he’ll get back on the ice. It won’t eliminate his chances for sure. -Gallant

However, the play of Tomas Hyka and Tyler Wong should have Geroge McPhee and Gallant thinking. All three of forwards play a similar style of game based on speed and scoring. It’s unlikely the Golden Knights will be willing to keep more than one player like these three, so Leipsic’s absence isn’t easily overlooked.

See ya in 5 to 7 days my friend. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Wong scored a hat trick in the preseason opener and Hyka has scored in every game in which he’s dressed for the Golden Knights (including a pair of rookie games in El Segundo).

Coach may not cut players because of injuries, but he’s also probably not in the business of taking jobs from guys playing well in favor of ones who haven’t been able to get on the ice. We have no idea where each player stands, but if it’s close, which we believe it probably is, Leipsic needs to get back out there by Thursday, and needs to perform when he does.

Sharks Players Give Expectations Of Golden Knights

The Golden Knights sent a bit of a mixed bag roster to San Jose including younger players such as Cody Glass, Tyler Wong, and Keegan Kolesar as well as a group of older defenseman like Clayton Stoner, Luca Sbisa, Nate Schmidt, and Brayden McNabb. Meanwhile, the Sharks rolled out something rather close to what they expect to see when they depart camp for the regular season.

To no one’s surprise, it took the Golden Knights a while to get going as they found themselves in a 4-0 hole before getting on the board for the first time in the third. After the game, a number of Sharks were asked by TheSFNews.com about the Golden Knights and their expectations for the inaugural season.

They’ve got NHL players on their team, I expect them to be competitive. For an expansion team, you hope they do well. It’s like any team, they’ve got young guys, they’ve got new guys to be competitive. You don’t take it easy on them, they’re an expansion team, you play to beat them. –Logan Couture

I expect them to be good, I expect them to be competitive and work hard. I think all teams, especially a new team like Vegas with 23 guys new to one franchise, I think they’re going to work hard for each other and they’re going to compete every night. –Joe Thornton

Right off the bat, it’s a bit of cliche-city using the words “compete” and “work,” but if you read between the lines a bit, both players essentially seem to be saying the same thing. “They are an expansion team. We should be better than them. We will need to beat them every single time.”

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Projecting The Opening Day 23-Man Golden Knights Roster

I remember it like yesterday, writing articles about meetings The Creator was having with the league making presentations in conjunction with Quebecor trying to sell the idea of expanding the league. Now, I’m about to take a shot at picking the 23 players who are going to make the roster when the Vegas Golden Knights play the first regular season game in franchise history. Crazy.

Enough about me, let’s cut some guys!

Forwards (13)

Vadim Shipachyov, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, David Perron, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, Oscar Lindberg, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Karlsson, Teemu Pulkkinen, Alex Tuch, William Carrier, Tomas Hyka

Due to the fact that the Golden Knights are expected to keep eight defensemen, there are some tough decisions on the back end of this list. The first nine are pretty well set in stone, the final four will be selected from a pool of seven.

The first who makes the list is Pulkkinen, and that has a lot to do with this skill set. His shooting ability is borderline elite in the NHL and he’s never really had a lot of time to prove himself in the league. However, the reasoning for his inclusion is more in the fact that he sticks out as a different style of player than the rest of the group. There are fast guys, there are big guys, but there’s no one else quite like him.

Next is Tuch. This one has a lot to do with the way he’s been playing on the ice, but it has even more to do with the fact that he’s one of the very few Golden Knights George McPhee paid to bring in. McPhee gave up a 3rd round pick to get Tuch from the Wild and he’s done everything in his power (including attending Development Camp) to make the roster. Wouldn’t be completely stunning if he’s sent to Chicago, but it would be a bit of a surprise.

Congrats Will Carrier, you made the team! Well, SinBin’s idea of the team. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That brings us to the final two spots. I selected Hyka and Carrier out of the group including Brendan Leipsic, Tomas Nosek, and Tyler Wong. Hyka has been playing great hockey both in game action as well as in practice. It seems like every time the puck is near him he’s making things happen. That was also the case for Wong in the preseason game, and in rookie camp, but hasn’t been quite as apparent since the veterans showed up. Leipsic is an incredibly similar player to both Hyka and Wong, but simply hasn’t flashed throughout camp or in the one preseason game in which he played. For smaller speedy players, they should stick out like a sore thumb on the ice, skating by people and scoring goals. One of these three did that better than the other two. Hyka has also never played an NHL game, which represents massive upside for a guy who’s had this much success in camp and was singled out by the Golden Knights prior to the Expansion Draft. It’s a risky move considering McPhee would have to hope Leipsic can sneak through waivers without losing him, but Hyka deserves the spot more than Leipsic at this point, so it’s worth the risk.

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Shipachyov Struggles In Faceoff Circle In First NHL Game

Shippy, stop losing draws! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL has made it very clear to begin the preseason that they’re done with cheating in the faceoff circle. So much so they’ve instructed officials to really crack down on faceoff violations. And, if two players get thrown out of the same draw, it’s an automatic delay of game penalty.

The rules are the same as they’ve always been, but the league’s decision to actually enforce them with more regularity was apparent in the Golden Knights second preseason game in Colorado.

We had 12 forwards dress and 11 of them took faceoffs. So that goes to show you. A lot of guys got thrown out and got frustrated. -Gerard Gallant

The Golden Knights also took two minor penalties for having multiple players tossed from faceoffs, including one which led to the 5 on 3 Colorado scored on.

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Colin Miller, One Of Many Offensive Minded VGK Defenseman

Ever wondered if players check their own stats? What about if players check their own advanced stats? Of course you haven’t. And players, yeah they don’t give a crap about analytics. Just ask Golden Knights defenseman, Colin Miller.

Are you aware of your Corsi and Fenwick numbers? -SinBin.vegas

Not really. I’ve heard a little bit about them. Am I good or bad? -Miller

You are like the king of it. -SinBin.vegas

Oh nice, well that’s good. I just try to get the shots through as often as I can. -Miller

You know with Corsi they don’t even need to get through. -SinBin.vegas

Oh, good, so I can just rip em at the glass? -Miller

Bet this shot got through. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Colin Miller: Corsi For- 60.34%
Nate Schmidt: Corsi For- 53.48%
Reilly Smith: Corsi For- 52.47%
James Neal: Corsi For- 52.20%

(If you don’t remember what in the hell these numbers mean, go back and read our Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies article on Corsi For %.)

Miller is however fully aware of the style of game he plays. He doesn’t need an advanced stat measuring shot attempts to prove himself. Vegas knows his skill and will need Miller’s offensive involvement this season and beyond. We asked the 24-year-old if he thought his role would expand with the Golden Knights.

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Fanatics Breakaway Jersey vs. Adidas AdiZero Authentic NHL Jersey

With Adidas taking over as the official jersey supplier for the NHL things are a changin’ for fans looking to buy jerseys. There are now two options for fans to purchase. First is the “Fanatics Breakaway” jersey which is priced at $120 without a name on the back. The other is the “Adidas AdiZero Authentic” jersey, which goes for $180 blank and $249 customized.

Golden Knights season ticket holders will be receiving their Fanatics jerseys on Friday and Saturday of this week.

So, let’s examine the differences between the two. Fanatics on the left, Adidas on the right.

One of the first noticeable differences is with the NHL shield. All Adidas official “on-ice” gear has a shiny silver NHL logo. We’ve already seen it on the Draft Hat and if you head down to The Arsenal you’ll notice plenty of Adidas gear with it on there. That shiny shield comes at a price though. $110 sweatshirts, $70 polos, etc.

The difference here is in the fabric. The Fanatics jersey uses a more mesh fabric and it does not change for the underarm area. I’m not that in to textiles so I don’t know exactly what the Adidas jersey is made of, but take my word for it, the Adidas one is a nicer material.

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Quick Thoughts – Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche 9/19/17

  • Even more impressive than the three goals in the first eight minutes was the play of Oscar Dansk after coming in to begin the 3rd period. Dansk made 18 saves without allowing a goal and made a few special ones in a row during a power play.  -Ken
    • Note: After reviewing the game Dansk actually entered with 8:59 left in the second while VGK were on a power play. Official stats from the game are incorrect. He allowed the one goal the Golden Knights gave up. Nonetheless, one 5 on 3 goal doesn’t change the fact that he was still excellent between the pipes.
  • The VGK Alternate Captains on Tuesday night were; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, and Reilly Smith. Each logged heavy minutes and made significant contributions in both zones. Garrison was very active offensively, collecting two assists in the first period. Smith added an assist and led the offense with 17:23 TOI. Early in the third period, Captain Concierge Engelland broke up an aggressive Avs attack. With under ten minutes to go, Engelland made a crucial neutral zone stop, allowing for a much-needed shift change. -Jason
  • Vadim Shipachyov really struggled on face-offs. He was thrown out of many draws (which is a much bigger deal now with the new stupid delay of game penalty) and the ones he did take were not pretty. Shipachyov lost six face-offs, mostly against Nathan MacKinnon before he finally got one. He finished 2-7 in the circle. -Ken
  • The Golden Knights have committed 19 penalties in two preseason games. That’s almost two full periods with a man in the box. On Tuesday, the officials called six slashing penalties. The Golden Knights committed four slashing minors in Colorado, and one in Vancouver. We’ve been warned about a crackdown after a few dangerous incidents last season, looks like they are going a bit overboard with it to make a point in the preseason. -Jason
  • Alex Tuch stood out passing the puck. He assisted on the first goal with an excellent pass to Brad Hunt from below the goal line. There were multiple other examples of Tuch’s passing throughout the game as well. Couple that with his willingness to shoot and his physicality and he absolutely looked like he belonged on the NHL roster. -Ken
  • During the second intermission report, an Avalanche TV analyst suggested the NHL needs more personality. He thinks, the league should allow players the chance to customize their equipment. Of course, it would look cool, but wouldn’t it distract the players on the ice? It’s much easier to separate goaltenders. Plus, it’s better to add flair to an otherwise boring mask. Adding more personal art will confuse players, coaches, refs, and fans. Watch, instead the league will add sponsor patches and call it personality. -Jason
  • There were a total of 14 power plays during the game which led to every Golden Knight except Tomas Hyka to get time on both the power play and the penalty kill. While it’s great to get chances a man up, a man down, and in this game multiple times two men up or down, Gallant would probably prefer more 5v5 time to evaluate his players. -Ken

Unnecessary Preseason Game 1 Thoughts

If you’re looking for obvious notes from yesterday’s 9-4 victory including Hat-Trick Tyler Wong and Tallying Tomas Hyka, then move right along. If you’re looking for Ken predicting the future, click here or here.Tallying Tomas Hyka? But if you are looking for some hard-hitting, in-depth, analysis of the most important game in Golden Knights history, you’ve come to the right place.

Who needs a Captain?

George McPhee suggested last week the organization leans towards three alternate captains. That sorta came true Sunday, as two veterans were awarded the A. 32-year-old Clayton Stoner, and 23-year-old Griffin Reinhart played the role of VGK’s early preseason generals. Likely just a case of “somebody had to do it,” more than anything, but it definitely further cements the case that there won’t be a C on any Golden Knights jersey come October 6th.

The Kid’s Table

When the Golden Knights released their roster for Vancouver, I immediately felt bad for Stoner and Reinhart. McPhee and Gerard Gallant both mentioned Saturday, the preseason game would mainly feature young, system players. Stoner and Reinhart are veterans fighting for NHL spots. I’m sure the trip to Vancouver felt like a demotion. Possibly, the Golden Knight’s were ‘showcasing’ the defensemen for other teams, but even that feels like a stretch on the word showcase. In reality though, it means they are at the bottom of the VGK defensive log-jam totem pole.

Shea-H-L?

The Golden Knights’ prized defenseman played a major role in Vancouver. Shea Theodore led the Golden Knights with six shots and 23:12 TOI. The “Dilemma” continues to create headaches for the front office. But if you’re nit-picking, Theodore did spend four minutes in the sin bin. His third-period delay of game penalty put Vancouver on a two-man advantage. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, took advantage and registered his second tally of the game.

Like I said, these are minor issues stiffs like me pay attention too. I have to remind myself, preseason means absolutely nothing. Bummer, 9-4 would look nice if it did matter. Plus, I can get used to hat-tricks.

Power Rankings For Every Individual Golden Knights: Pre-Camp

Ken asked if I could rank the Golden Knights as our lead in story to camp. I said, absolutely not, it’s impossible. We haven’t even seen them in a real practice yet! Then, he reminded me that the car we rented in Dallas is in his name. Uber is expensive. Here are my rankings for every Golden Knight, heading into camp.

My criteria were based on a combination of career stats; Goals Created, Points Per Game, Power Play Goals For, Power Play Goals Against, Total Goals For/Total Goals Against ratio, Average Time on Ice, and Games Played. Plus, I’ve seen a little hockey in my day, so the “eye test” was used to break a few ties. We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on.

We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on. Agree or disagree, let me know. I can take the heat. (Remember, Ken made me do this.)

Defensive Rankings
1) Shea Theodore
2) Jason Garrison
3) Colin Miller
4) Brayden McNabb
5) Luca Sbisa
6) Nate Schmidt
7) Jon Merrill
8) Deryk Engelland
9) Clayton Stoner
10) Griffin Reinhart
Unranked: Chris Casto, Jake Bischoff, Brad Hunt, Nikolas Brouillard, Stephen MacAulay

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