Golden Knights center Cody Eakin had quite the year for Vegas. In his 8th season the 28-year-old Manitoban added career highs in Goals (22), Goals Created (17), Points (41), Points Per Game (.53), Plus/Minus (+19), Shooting % (18.3), and Point Shares (5.2). Vegas benefited greatly by Eakin’s substantial offensive upgrade from 2017–18.
Plain and simple, everyone is quietly asking the same question; Can Eakin do it again next season?
Eakin’s first standout season was in 2013-14 as a member of the Dallas Stars. He totaled 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) averaging 17:20 minutes of ice time per game. Eakin’s strong campaign carried over to the following season with Dallas.
In 2014-15, Eakin again performed up to his abilities, even sprinkling in a few more points. The center collected 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) averaging 17:12 TOI. Eakin added another 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in 2015-16, tallying a total of 110 points (51 goals, 59 assists) in three consecutive seasons. Consistent numbers for a middle six center. And by the way I never mentioned his reliability killing a penalty.
After a couple of dim seasons offensively in 2016-17 with Dallas, and 2017-18 with Vegas, Eakin cracked 40 points for the second time in his career. So, the answer is yes. Yes, Cody Eakin can repeat his success from last season, but will he?
One mindless and obvious element to my prediction is that Eakin is playing for his next contract. After the 2019-2020 season, the veteran will become an unrestricted free agent and his $3.85M cap hit will come off the books. Players tend to perform well in contract years (see pretty much ever VGK player in 2017-18), and I expect the same from #21.
Taking a look at next season’s roster, we’ll have to assume Eakin will be playing with two highly skilled offensive players. Nikita Gusev or Erik Haula could join Alex Tuch and form one of the deepest third lines in hockey centered by Eakin. No matter what the combination ends up being, it’ll be the most talent he’s anchored in Vegas. Which is why it’s hard to believe Eakin wouldn’t repeat his success from last season.
Then again he could get bumped to the fourth line, or even more drastic, get traded. In that case burn my prediction and this article altogether.
(See, we can write a whole article about Cody Eakin without referencing a certain penalty. I knew we could do it!)