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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

Add them all up, that's 243 goals, which would have been good for 10th in the NHL last season. And that's not even counting Vadim Shipachev! Screw "Playoffs in 3, Cup in 6" this team's going to the playoffs this year!

Seriously though, when I set out to do this article, I expected to find much worse. Of course, James Neal isn't scoring 40 goals, David Perron's not getting 28, and Jason Garrison definitely isn't netting 16. But, of the 22 players listed, seven haven't played at least 70 games in a season, and Vadim Shipachev, Alex Tuch, Tomas Nosek, or Keegan Kolesar aren't even on the list. Replacing the regression from Neal, Perron, and Garrison isn't impossible with all the youth and unknowns on the roster.

It'll take a lot to get the same numbers from Marchessault, Smith, and Eakin, but it's not completely out of the question with the added time on ice and responsibility they should get on a new roster.

Plus, there should be improvements from Karlsson, Haula, Pulkkinen, Leipsic and even defensemen like Miller and Schmidt.

This team probably isn't going to be a top 10 scoring team in the NHL, they may not even be in the top 20, but they certainly appear to have more scoring capabilities than the 166 goals Colorado scored a year ago, or even the 182 or 183 the Canucks and Devils put up. The Golden Knights should reasonably be around 200, and that's without expecting anything spectacular from Shippy.

Now the question is, can they keep the puck out of the net at a less than three goals per game clip? I have a feeling I know the answer to that question, but hey, I thought I knew the answer to this one too.

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19 Comments

  1. James

    Sidney Crosby won’t be feeding James Neal the puck for 40 goals!

    I would say that our first line is better suited to be a second line. Our second line is better suited to be a third line …

    • Richard Evans

      James – a bit simplistic. Yes the first line will be below almost all other teams’ level. And while the second line won’t match vs a top team like Caps/Pens etc I expect it will be competitive with bottom third team’s. Meanwhile bottom lines should match up well vs other bottom teams. The standard this year is not Penguins/Predators but Avalanche/Canucks/Coyotes. Remember – even the historically atrocious Avalanche won 22 games last year.

      So many naysayers seem to think the first VGK team will be way worse than that (“They’ll be lucky to win 12 games!”) They are not looking at the entire league.

    • Shadow James

      Nah… Shippy makes it a first line… And I believe the guys on the second will surprise… It’s after that I’m worried

      • James

        @Shadow James
        Shipachev is a wild card. I think he’s a second line centre on a good team. That said, perhaps I’m underselling him. James Neal was a second-liner on a good team. Cody Eakin is a third line centre on a good team.

  2. RJ

    It is comforting to know that a long as every player on our roster has a career season we will be able to put respectable numbers on the board. Ticket holder might have something to get excited about even if we are losing games.

    But what if everyone matched their 2016 numbers? I did the math and the list above had 152 goals combined last season. 13 goals worse than the tanking Colorado Avalanche. 26 fewer goals than the Vancouver Canucks. Even if we add Connor McDavid’s 30 goals to the above list that gets us to 182 goals, that would put this roster at 28th place, barely better than the New Jersey Devils.

    Of course assuming everyone just repeats last seasons output is almost as poor a predictor as assuming everyone repeats their career best season. I think the 200 goal guess is not bad, but probably a bit high since I suspect we will trade away any player that shows flashes of offensive prowess.

    But 200 goals, our best case scenario, is not that many goals. That’s good for the 25 most goals in the league and fewer than 2.5 goals per game. Not enough to win most NHL games unless you play VERY tight defensively and even then with virtually no margin for error. Winnipeg averaged 3 goals per game last season and missed the playoffs. The same roster above also had a +/- of -46 last season, if we are planning on having our defense keep games close that might not be a feasible plan.

    The above roster playing a full year, well coached, and no major injuries would probably be 200+. Not great, but respectable enough for most fans as a number to build on. That said, Neal, Marchessault, Perron, Karlsson, and Pulkkinen all have expiring contracts this season. The more these players in particular are doing the necessary things to get us to 200 goals, the more likely we move them off the team.

    At least, thats if the prevailing theory on how this team is being built is true. If McPhee is taking the 3/6 pledge seriously, I’m not so sure. If 3/6 is real, these guys are the guys we should be thinking about being our core for the 2020 playoff run and being veteran middle 6ers for our Cup run in 2023. The ONLY forwards we have rostered right now that are 30+ are Shipachev(30) and Bellemare(32). How McPhee deals with players playing well in 2017 is going to tell me a lot about how serious the 3/6 pledge is.

    • James

      @RJ
      That said, Neal, Marchessault, Perron, Karlsson, and Pulkkinen all have expiring contracts this season. The more these players in particular are doing the necessary things to get us to 200 goals, the more likely we move them off the team.

      You can always re-sign those players in July. From what I gather, we have 11 players under contract in 2018-19 for $33,925,000. We need to spend some money to reach the salary floor … I wonder if we will make a splash in free agency or take on bad contracts for draft picks and prospects? Perhaps we should revisit the idea of Dustin Brown

      • PhiSig 150

        What draft compensation would you need to take on Brown? His contract is one of the worst in the league.

        • James

          @PhiSig 150
          Canadian sportscaster for TSN Gord Miller said that the Los Angeles Kings rejected our offer. McPhee wanted their 2018 first-round pick for the privilege … I’m thinking along similar lines.

          • PhiSig 150

            I’d need much more than just one 1st round pick

      • RJ

        Absolutely correct, but bringing on bad contracts like Brown or Gaborik in exchange for 2018 or 2019 picks probably get us farther away from playoffs in 2020 and Cup in 2023.

        In January and February if Mc Phee is trading away our best players in exchange for bad long term contracts, that tips their hand that the 3/6 pledge is not to be taken seriously. If we are signing those players to 3-6 year contracts to start building a core then we know 3/6 is the actual vision for the team.

        • James

          @RJ
          ‘3/6 pledge is not to be taken seriously’

          3/6 pledge is probably a pipe dream. The Philadelphia Flyers managed to pull it off in 7. You can’t fire McPhee if he doesn’t make history

          • Phisig150

            Everyone wants to completely dismiss the past histories of every expansion team in every sport ever. The 2017 expansion rules were more friendly but they weren’t THAT much more friendly.

          • James

            @Phisig150
            It’s good to have goals in life, but I’m not going to hold Foley to that. It’s laughable when you realize it’s never happened before in the history of North American sports. It took the dynastic New York Islanders 8 years

          • Richard Evans

            Not in North American sports? Arizona Diamondbacks won world series in 3 years. Of course that was MLB where free agents can have an immediate impact.

  3. James

    @PhiSig 150
    If there is a NHL lockout in 2020-21 … A compliance buyout does not count against the cap. The final two years of the contract could disappear from the cap. I’m not sure if the Los Angeles Kings will change their minds. They could also use a compliance buyout

  4. Bent Hermit

    The 180 goal range sounds about right with this group. With the coach that is in place I look for a trapping type game. Fleulry has neve played behind a defensive minded team so I would look for him to put up some really good numbers. Overall I think they will do better than az and Co.

  5. James

    Foley’s 3/6 pledge reminds me of Lavar Ball putting unrealistic expectations on his sons … Take it with a grain of salt

  6. James

    @Richard Evans
    I can’t believe I missed that… Luis Gonzalez broke my heart

    • Richard Evans

      Of course, Colangelo saddled the Dbacks with so many dead weight deferred contracts that it crippled the team for the next 15 years…still I’ll always treasure Gonzo’ s bloop single in game 7.

      But the point is that things like grabbing UFA that really make a difference rarely happens in the NHL. Blockbuster trades for a Gretzky or Crosby likewise. In other sports like MLB a team can load up on a Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling et al. NHL not so much.
      The Golden State Warriors approach of drafting smart – Curry Thompson Green – for the core and then filling out with key acquisitions makes even more sense in the NHL environment

      And the GSW never actually tanked to get there. And GMGS never tanked the Caps when he ripped their old and expensive roster apart to build through the draft. They did have four bad years before the draft- built roster made the playoffs . Although a lost season caused by Labor strife counted for one.

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