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Category: Team Ops (Page 2 of 55)

Tomas Hyka Has Something To Prove In El Segundo

As is normal with rookie games, there’s a  familiarity with many Golden Knights rookies with the Kings roster they’ll be going up against these next two days in El Segundo. Cody Glass will play against the captain of his junior team in Portland, Keegan Iverson. Nic Hague will play against defensive teammate Jacob Moverare and Nick Suzuki will face three of his Owen Sound Attack teammates in Jacob Friend, Markus Phillips and Matt Schmalz.

But only one Golden Knight has ever actually been a Los Angeles King, and that’s Tomas Hyka.

Tomas Hyka skating at rookie camp at City National Arena (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Hyka was signed by the Golden Knights nearly a month before the Expansion Draft and has been skating with the Vegas rookies despite being 24-years-old, normally a little old for rookie camp. Hyka’s still never played an official NHL game, but he’s not new to the NHL process.

In 2011, Hyka went to camp with the Philadephia Flyers after going undrafted. He impressed many in the Flyer organization even drawing comparisons to Claude Giroux. Hyka then went on to score a goal in a preseason game for Philadephia, but when it came time to sign the contract, due to a rule in the CBA, he wasn’t allowed to sign with the Flyers.

Honestly, I still don’t really know what happened there. It kind of was bad for me at the time, but I’m so happy the way it worked out now because I’m now with a new team and a new organization and I’ve got a more opportunity here to show off my skills here. -Tomas Hyka

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Informal Practice Round Up


  • Vadim Shipachyov had a presence when he hit the ice on Tuesday. The smooth skating Russian showed off his crisp passing ability. He made multiple corner passes from the offensive-zone, that would make any forward lick their chops.
  • Clayton Stoner came to play. The other, bearded defenseman looked mean and physical when he checked pursuing forward Brendan Leipsic to the ice.
  • All week, Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith seemed to connect well. Possibly, setting up as future line-mates.
  • Four of the six listed VGK centers were on the ice this week; Shipachyov, Eakin, William Karlsson and Oscar Lindberg. Jonathan Marchessault and Tomas Nosek were the only two listed centers that didn’t check in early.
  • Forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier, Erik Haula, James Neal and David Perron were the only missing point-collectors. I use the word ‘missing’ lightly. These guys, weren’t really missing. This week was voluntary, they just plan on showing up on time.
  • Defensively, only Griffin Reinhart, Luca Sbisa and Nate Schmidt were absent this week. Schmidt’s ankle injury may have kept him from attending. Sorta surprising, Reinhart and Sbisa didn’t show up early. Jon Merrill, took the ice this week, eager for the opportunity with Vegas.

Excited. Fresh start for me, new organization, a lot of new teammates and coaching staff. A lot to prove too myself. Fifth-year in this league, it’s time to step up or, you know, step to the side. -Jon Merrill, Golden Knights Defenseman


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Everything About Calvin Pickard’s Mask

The Golden Knights and Calvin Pickard held a contest to design the artwork on the former Avalanche goalie’s mask. Finally, after nearly a month of anticipation, the mask was revealed at an informal practice at City National Arena.

Later in the day the Golden Knights Instagram posted some up close photos of the new headgear.

Fans did a 💯 job helping @calvinpickard design his new VGK mask! 😍

A post shared by Vegas Golden Knights (@vegasgoldenknights) on

Pickard also stopped by FOX 5 to chat with intrepid hockey reporter Vince Sapienza.

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83 Points? 18% Chance At Making The Playoffs?

So says stat wizard and computer nerd Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic.

Make no mistake, the Vegas Golden Knights will probably be bad, very bad even, but the degree of badness might have been oversold. -Luszcyszyn

The computer model Luszcyszyn uses spit out a range of between 75-91 points for the Golden Knights, which in turn gives them an 18% chance of making the postseason, a 2% chance of winning the division, and a nearly unfathomable 1% chance of making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

The main component to the “success” is Vadim Shipachyov.

The 30-year-old forward had 76 points in 50 games last season and was above point-per-game in the two seasons prior to that. The KHL to NHL translation factor is 0.74, so in NHL terms that’s equal to 92, 67 and 67 point seasons. Last year is an obvious outlier, especially with him scoring on 27.1 per cent of his shots, and he won’t have as many talented linemates in Vegas, but it’s not outlandish to think he can score 55 to 60 points next season for Vegas. -Luszcyszyn

Here in Vegas, the outlook isn’t quite as rosy. William Hill sports books currently list the Golden Knights with a season point total of 69 and have them as a 9:1 underdog to make the playoffs.

At the end of the article, Luszcyszyn readily admits the Golden Knights are nearly impossible to project and that it wouldn’t be surprising at all if they underperform his computer’s model, but for the optimist crowd, 91 points looks pretty darn good, right?

Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Goals Created

Next up in our Advanced Stats series is “Goals Created”, a stat that takes scoring to the next level.

Goals, assists, and points are the standard scoring stats most fans look to in order to decide a player’s offensive prowess. “Goals Created” takes those numbers and plugs them into a formula that shows the playmaking ability of an individual relative to the rest of his team. We’ll start with the formula, then we’ll break down what it means and why it’s calculated the way it is.

[Goals + (Assists x 0.5)] x {Team Goals/[Team Goals + (Team Assists x 0.5)]}

The first portion is figuring out the individual player’s total scoring. It basically gives a player one point for a goal and half a point for an assist, rather than the “points” ratio the NHL usually uses giving a player one for each. In “Goals Created,” goals are greater than assists. (1 Goal = 2 Assists)

The second portion is figuring out the team’s total scoring. It’s broken into two calculations. The second one is identical to the way we came up with the player’s total [Team Goals + (Team Assists x 0.5)]. We then divide team goals by that number. Yeah, the same number (team goals) is used multiple times, it’s ok, don’t worry about it, we’ve got this all figured out.

Example time! We’re going to go with Oscar Lindberg this time because we’re still hoping the nickname Ogge takes off. Let’s say we are 10 games into the season. Lindberg has 5 goals and 4 assists, and the team has a total of 20 goals and 34 assists. Got it? Good. Buckle up, here we go.

[Goals + (Assists x 0.5)] x {Team Goals/[Team Goals + (Team Assists x 0.5)]}
[5 + (4 x 0.5)] x {20/[20 +  (34 x 0.5)]}
[5 + 2] x [20/(20 + 17)]
7 x (20/37)
7 x (20/360)
7 x 0.541
3.787 Goals Created

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Golden Knights Announce Jersey Numbers

With Training Camp less than two weeks away the Golden Knights have released the jersey numbers for the inaugural roster. Here they are.

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: 5 On 5 Close

It’s time for article six of Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies. Today we are taking on a situational stat category called “5 on 5 Close.”

Unlike the last five articles, this one is not actually a stat, instead, it’s a qualifier for other stats. Normal qualifiers for stats are “even strength,” “power play,” or “penalty kill,” and understandably players stats differ based on each situation.

5 on 5 Close is a qualifier to show how guys play when the game is on the line, disregarding stats when a team is well ahead or well behind in any particular game. So what exactly makes a game “close?”

Within 1 goal (1st and 2nd periods) or tied (3rd period or overtime)

Example time! Let’s take a look at James Neal’s 2016-17 season with the Nashville Predators. Neal scored 22 goals, had a CF% of 58.3%, and a PDO of 99.9 last year. But when we drill it down to 5 on 5 Close, Neal’s numbers drop off a bit. 7 goals, CF% of 50.9% and a PDO of 98.6.

This is usually the part where we put Golden Knights stats and who is good at the stat and who is not. But, that makes absolutely no sense for this one, especially since none of these players have ever played together… so no soup for you.

Where this does become interesting will be when the Golden Knights finally start playing. Vegas is probably going to get beat a lot this year, and they’ll probably be out of 5 on 5 Close range quite often. But when they are in close games, we will be tracking time on ice, CF%, PDO, and many other stats which will translate in the future, when the Golden Knights are good.

5 on 5 Close, a stat that matters, a lot, but not for us yet.

Golden Knights In 2020

The Hockey News is doing a series called “2020 Vision” in which they attempt to predict the future of what each NHL team will look like three years from now. Last week, they took on the Golden Knights roster.

Vegas will be weak at center this year and it will likely be a sore spot until Glass takes the throne – and that’s if he takes it, because we are projecting on an 18-year-old here. Continuity will also be key, as roster turnover must be kept to an acceptable level so the team can gel over the years. -Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

While Kennedy believes the Golden Knights have to be careful about roster turnover, I believe the exact opposite. Of the 30 players selected by the Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft, Kennedy has 12 still on the roster in 2020 (plus Tuch and Theodore), I expect that number to be closer to five or six.

Here’s my 2020 Golden Knights…

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First Team Eliminated In 2017-18? You Already Know Who THN Picked

Here at we are well aware that the Golden Knights aren’t going to be hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2018. We are even pretty sure they aren’t going to the playoffs. But because we don’t always want to be the bearers of bad news, we figured we would let someone else do it today.

The Hockey News’ Sam McCaig wrote an article predicting the 15 teams that won’t make the playoffs in 2017-18. Not surprisingly, the Golden Knights were in this group, but McCaig was even willing to go one step further.

Here are the 15 teams that are (much) more likely to win the draft lottery than the league title:

1. Vegas Golden Knights

The very first team out of the playoff picture, and the first team (much) more likely to win the lottery than the Cup.

Vegas loves a long shot, but the expansion Golden Knights will be wandering around the desert for at least a few years before they can contemplate the possibility of the post-season. -Sam McCaig, The Hockey News

Because we are a hybrid news/fan/bad jokes site, we’re obligated to call this is a DESPICABLE piece of literature and can’t believe someone would even begin to say anything other than “best expansion team ever.” However…

Nothing McCaig said is wrong, or even really all that close to being wrong. In fact, he’s kind of, dare I say… right. And actually, there’s a lot more chin scratching stuff in the articles trying to apologize for the Golden Knights than the ones saying it like it is. Compare this…

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“Our Lineup’s Pretty Good But There’s No McDavid Or Crosby”

Usually, when players, coaches, execs, and The Creator are asked about the Golden Knights roster we get the same stock answers. We hear things like “best expansion roster ever” or “plenty of talent” or the first thing mentioned about the roster by Gerard Gallant in a recent article.

I knew we were going to have a pretty decent team, but the team was better than I thought. I thought we got better top-end players than I thought we’d get. -Gerard Gallant

But sometimes, there’s a moment of honesty, and in the case of the Golden Knights initial roster, accuracy.

I think our lineup’s pretty good. But then you go around and look at the other teams in the NHL, in our division, and in our conference and say, ‘Well …’ -Gallant

This is what we love about Gallant. The guy is a no-nonsense type coach who obviously understands the challenge placed before him.

There’s going to be issues. Some nights we’re going to have trouble scoring goals. You look at our roster, there’s a lot of good players. Are there any superstars there? There’s some real good players, those types of players. You look at teams that have success in the NHL, they’ve got some of those top-end hockey players. -Gallant

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