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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

“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 NHL.com 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

He’s right. It’s a harsh reality of the way Expansion Drafts are set up. In theory, there’s no player better than the 5th best forward, 4th best defenseman, or 2nd best goalie on any team available.

There’s a lot of unknown on the roster and the way it’ll come together, but there’s only one man on the roster that could possibly rise to the league’s elite in 2017-18. That’s Vadim Shipachyov, and the chances of him being a top 20 player in the NHL is unlikely. Unless Shippy shocks the world, every single night the best player on the ice will be wearing an opponent’s jersey, and that’s a reality even against the worst teams in the league.

But how many wins? I can’t tell you. -Gallant

The sports books say they’ll end the season with about 70 points, which would be good for around 30 wins (plus 10 OT losses).

I’m saying that seems awfully generous.

I’m not saying they’ll be 0-15, but I am willing to say it wouldn’t shock me if the 3rd win comes after the 15th loss. Sorry, but I agree with Turk, “there’s going to be some issues.”

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5 Comments

  1. KyleB.

    Hey so a great site to watch throughout the season is DailyFaceoff-dot-com. They post practice lineups from the morning so that you can set your fantasy team’s lineup for the day (it also includes the power play formations from practice). They have the Golden Knights set as the following, and it’s not terrible!:

    Marchessault – Shipachev – Neal
    Perron – Eakin – Smith
    Haula – Karlsson – Lindberg
    Carrier – Bellemare – Pulkkinen

    McNabb – Theodore
    Schmidt – Miller
    Sbisa – Garrison

    Also to note, I’ve been a Kings fan for 28 years…and I’ve really enjoyed watching Brayden McNabb play for the past several years. Vegas is going to love watching him absolutely CRUSH players this season. He steps up for a huge hit at least once a game. It’ll put him out of position sometimes, but that dude is a wrecking ball.

  2. RJ

    The lineup we are looking at, if it stayed intact all year, is probably acceptably bad. Almost certainly the worst team in the NHL, but 50-60ish points and probably 180-200ish goals.

    Does anyone think this lineup will look like this for long? Who will be moved by December? By February?

    Neal, Perron, Marchessault, and McNabb all become UFAs next summer, thats 3 of our top 6 forwards and a top line defenseman that will likely be traded away. That’s not something that can happen without the product on ice turning from something acceptably bad to something approaching unwatchable.

    There is a good chance this team starts 3-15 and that is with the most talent we will see on ice all season. We might not win a game in February or March at all. I’ll be rooting for VGK to win every game, but I’m expecting to see a lot of hard to enjoy hockey this season. Maybe Cox is doing Foley a favor?

    • KyleB.

      I posted this comment in a different hockey blog:

      Using G/G and P/G from last season, using conversion of .58 to account for differences between NHL and KHL, and using the lineup from DailyFaceoff.com, I figured this out as far as goal scoring predictions:

      Marchessault (33) – Shipachev (25) – Neal (27)
      Perron (18) – Eakin (4) – Smith (15)
      Haula (17) – Karlsson (6) – Lindberg (10)
      Carrier (10) – Bellemare (6) – Pulkkinen (13)

      McNabb (3) – Theodore (5)
      Schmidt (4) – Miller (8)
      Sbisa (2) – Garrison (1)

      They’d all total to 207 goals for, which would have ranked 22nd last season (8 more goals for than LA). Biggest two questions would be whether or not Shipachev makes the conversion to the NHL at the same scoring rate and will Marchessault have a red-hot year like last season? If these both don’t happen, they could finish in the bottom 5 spots in scoring.

  3. James

    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

    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

    You heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. That’s why you build the team through the draft. We need to stock up on draft picks, which is actually quite an effective way of increasing your chances of landing a superstar …

    @RJ

    ‘Neal, Perron, Marchessault, and McNabb all become UFAs next summer, thats 3 of our top 6 forwards and a top line defenseman that will likely be traded away. That’s not something that can happen without the product on ice turning from something acceptably bad to something approaching unwatchable.’

    So be it

    @KyleB.

    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

    ‘They’d all total to 207 goals for, which would have ranked 22nd last season (8 more goals for than LA).’

    This jives with Gallant’s comments, but I wouldn’t hesitate to break up the mediocre band at the deadline

    • KyleB.

      @James,

      I agree with you. The best case scenario is a mid-range playoff contender that will just barely miss playoffs. Think along the lines of #9-11 seed. Even at that point, I’d still look to sell what you can. True hockey fans have seen great clubs come out of crummy years simply through drafting home-grown talent.

      Take a look at the LA Kings…16 of the 23 players on the roster have played for the AHL affiliate. Of the 7 who did not:

      1. Cammalleri – actually played in AHL, but left LA, then through FA has come back.
      2. Kopitar – drafted by LA, played in Europe, then came straight to NHL.
      3. Doughty – drafted by LA. Went straight from Juniors to NHL.
      4. Carter – traded for.
      5. Gaborik – traded for.
      6. Folin – traded for.
      7. Kuemper – traded for.

      Let me tell you, celebrating two cups wins in 3 years makes the wait totally worth it!

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