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Vegas Rookie Faceoff: 6 Team NHL Rookie Tournament Coming To City National Arena

The biggest event in City National Arena history starts on September 8th. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

The Golden Knights practice facility, City National Arena will host a six-team, three-day “tournament” featuring top NHL prospects. The six teams participating are the Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. It’s being called the Vegas Rookie Faceoff.

Each team will play three games with all nine games being held at City National Arena. Games will be played on September 8th, 9th, and 11th with the Golden Knights rookies taking on the Avalanche, Sharks, and Kings.

Here’s the full schedule for the event.

Saturday, Sept. 8
Game 1 – ARI vs. SJS, 3 p.m. PT
Game 2 – LAK vs. ANA, 5 p.m. PT
Game 3 – COL vs. VGK, 7 p.m. PT

Sunday, Sept. 9
Game 1 – LAK vs. ARI, 3 p.m. PT
Game 2 – COL vs. ANA, 5 p.m. PT
Game 3 – VGK vs. SJS, 7 p.m. PT

Tuesday, Sept. 11
Game 1 – ANA vs. ARI, 11 a.m. PT
Game 2 – SJS vs. COL, 11:30 a.m. PT
Game 3 – LAK vs. VGK, 2:30 p.m. PT

Rookie tournaments are fairly common in the NHL as they offer a chance for teams to play games against different opponents in a short period of time without having to travel. The Red Wings have hosted a tournament in Traverse City, MI for the past 20 years and includes eight teams. Toronto and Buffalo host similar tournaments as well.

Last year the Golden Knights traveled to El Segundo to play a pair of rookie games against the Los Angeles Kings.

Ticket information has not yet been released for the Vegas Rookie Faceoff. However, fans interested in tickets can fill out this contact form to be alerted when they are available.

The games are expected to be available either on TV and/or via Internet stream, but details have not been announced at this point.

These games will be an excellent opportunity for fans to see Golden Knights top prospects, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, and Nic Hague. Plus, the 5th overall pick from 2018, Barrett Hayton (ARI), the 4th overall pick from 2017, Cale Makar (COL) and the 3rd overall pick from 2015, Dylan Strome (ARI) are expected to participate. Other top prospects like Gabe Vilardi (LAK), Kale Clague (LAK), Sam Steel (ANA), Vladislav Kamenev (COL), Conor Timmins (COL), and Ryan Merkley (SJS) should all play as well.

Hopefully, the Vegas Rookie Faceoff becomes an annual thing because it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Drawing Penalties Could Be A Problem In 2018-19

James Neal’s face seemed to attract sticks to it last year. VGK might need a new stick/face magnet if they want to keep up the scoring pace in 18-19. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the course of the 2017-18 season, the Golden Knights drew 249 penalties, good for 15th in the NHL. Vegas converted on 53, ranking them 12th in power play goals scored and 10th in power play percentage at 21.4%. Compare that to the 3rd overall ranking in even strength goals and it’s fairly clear the Golden Knights did not rely on a man-advantage to win games.

Nonetheless, power play goals remain the easiest way to score in the NHL (aside from empty netters of course) and the Golden Knights certainly cashed in on a few big ones along the way to a Western Conference Championship.

During the year 26 different Golden Knights drew penalties. Two players made up for 55 of the 249, or 22%. Those two players are now members of the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues.

James Neal led the Golden Knights drawing 29 penalties in the regular season while David Perron was right on his heels with 26. The next closest Golden Knights were Jonathan Marchessault and Colin Miller, each with just 19. (Plus, Neal missed 11 games and Perron missed 12. Math says if they had both played the entire 82 game season they would have drawn a combined nine more penalties.)

55 penalties at a scoring rate of 21.4%, what the Golden Knights finished the regular season with, adds up to nearly 12 power play goals created off drawn penalties by only Neal and Perron.

The Neal, Perron, Haula line drew 68 penalties while the top line of Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson drew just 40.

Tomas Tatar and Paul Stastny, the two players expected to replace a majority of Perron and Neal’s minutes drew a combined 36 penalties.

The numbers are alarming, especially considering Tatar has yet to show the success he’s had elsewhere in Vegas. It’s not crazy to think however that Tatar, Stastny, and the increased role for Alex Tuch can help to replace the 41 goals Neal and Perron produced, but expecting these same three guys to draw 50+ penalties is probably asking a lot.

The real bummer is this likely means fewer times to chant “shame” at the guy sitting in the box too.

Fantasy Rankings Down On Golden Knights In 2018-19

All three of these guys could go way undervalued in fantasy this year. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last season, the Golden Knights scored the fifth most goals in the NHL. Of course, fantasy stalwart William Karlsson shocked the stat-geeks with 43 goals of his own. Based off the point totals by Vegas in 2017-18, you’d think there would be a handful of VGK options for fantasy owners. Well, NHL.com and ESPN fantasy gurus disagree.

NHL.com 2018-19 Projected Fantasy Points by Team
(End of 17-18 Season Fantasy Rank)

1. Winnipeg Jets (#1)
2. Nashville Predators (#3)
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (#2)
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (#4)
5. Washington Capitals (#5)
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (#7)
7. Boston Bruins (#6)
8. San Jose Sharks (#8)
9. Los Angeles Kings (#15)
10. Florida Panthers (#11)
11. Philadelphia Flyers (#14)
12. Dallas Stars (#13)
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (#10)
14. St. Louis Blues (#19)
15. Calgary Flames (#16)
16. Vegas Golden Knights (#9)

The Golden Knights finished in the top ten in fantasy scoring points last season. Not bad for a team that only had three players rated in the 2017-18 top 250 fantasy player rankings. However, the Golden Knights Stanley Cup run meant nothing to statistical jockeys preparing for 2018-19.

ESPN.com’s 2018-19 Individual Player Fantasy Rankings

1. Connor McDavid (Center #1)
2. Steven Stamkos (Center #2)
3. Nikita Kucherov (Right Wing #1)
4. Nathan MacKinnon (Center #3)
5. Auston Matthews (Center #4)
6. Mark Scheifele (Center #5)
7. Sidney Crosby (Center #6)
8. Johnny Gaudreau (Left Wing #1)
9. John Tavares (Center #7)
10. Andrei Vasilevskiy (Goalie #1)
*46. William Karlsson (Center #19)
*55. Jonathan Marchessault (Center #21)
*64. Marc-Andre Fleury (Goalie #10)
*147. Shea Theodore (Defenseman #32)
*206. Reilly Smith (Right Wing #38)
*209. Erik Haula (Center #59)
*233. Alex Tuch (Right Wing #44)

As you can see, ESPN isn’t very nice to the Golden Knights top players. Karlsson was +49 with 78 points, and he’s still considered the 19th best center, and 46th best option in the NHL. New addition Paul Stastny didn’t even make the top 250 list, but seven other Vegas players did. Nine Golden Knights made NHL.com’s fantasy player rankings.

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The Golden Knights Age Gap

It would be nice if more of these guys were between 20-22 years old. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Historically, building a roster through expansion isn’t the ideal way to create a winner. Teams are often left devoid of talent, specifically high-end talent and have to wait years before they can build via trade and/or through the draft.

Luckily, for the Golden Knights, that wasn’t the case. The new expansion rules, coupled with George McPhee’s dominance in exploiting them left the league’s 31st team with a Cup-contending roster.

However, due to the nature of the Expansion Draft, the Golden Knights roster has been left with a major hole. It’s not the lack of talent hole most previous expansion teams were put in, but it’s a hole in the age distribution of the roster.

Age Range# of Players
<2020
20-224
22-249
24-2614
26-2816
>288

The Golden Knights have 20 prospects under the age of 20 years old, but just four between the ages of 20 and 22. The reason for this is that Vegas did not participate in the Entry Draft prior to 2017.

The four players are Zach Whitecloud (undrafted college free agent), Keegan Kolesar (acquired via trade at Expansion Draft), Dylan Coghlan (undrafted free agent), and Jack Dugan (2017 Draft, 5th round).

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WILLIAM CARRIER (F) SIGNS 2 YEAR EXTENSION AT $725,000 AAV

Daniel Carr Fits The Mold Of A Golden Knight

The Golden Knights were built on opportunity. Just about every player on the roster that won the Western Conference saw an increase in time on ice, a bump in the depth chart, and boost in responsibility. Now, as we head into the second season roles are much more defined, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still diamond-in-the-rough candidates waiting to burst on to the scene and change the outlook of the team.

Everywhere he goes ask anybody about Daniel Carr, he just scores goals. You can’t really explain how he does it, but he finds a way. –Brendan Gallagher to Montreal Gazette

Daniel Carr became a Golden Knight on July 1st when he signed a one-year contract worth just over the league minimum. He’s a 26-year-old winger who has spent the last three years bouncing between the NHL and the AHL with the Montreal Canadiens organization. Following the season he was not tendered a qualifying offer thus ending his time in Montreal.

Canadian-born, Carr decided to go the American NCAA route attending Union College. As a freshman in Schenectady (it’s a city in New York. It’s just fun to say, so I had to find a way to fit it in), he scored 20 goals in 40 games. He followed that up with 20, 16, and 22 goals and 122 points in the remaining 120 games of his college career.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #117: The Window Is Open But For How Long?

Jason is in Boston, so Jesse Granger of the Las Vegas Sun and Rink Rats Podcast fills in to talk Shippy, point shares, Reaves, and so much more. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jesse Granger.

  • Taking Shipachyov’s side… a tiny little bit
  • Replacement point shares
  • Is the window to win related to Fleury or can it extend well beyond him?
  • Ryan Reaves calls McPhee’s bluff
  • Like every podcast, some Erik Karlsson stuff

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

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The Ryan Reaves vs. George McPhee Hand Of Poker Was Won By #75

The Golden Knights clearly value plays like this one. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since today marks exactly 75 days until the regular season, it seemed a good day to talk about the Golden Knights #75, Ryan Reaves.

Reaves was acquired by Vegas a few days before the trade deadline in which the Golden Knights acted as the third party in a deal that sent Derick Brassard from the Senators to the Penguins.

At the time, the Golden Knights were going through a rough patch injury-wise. James Neal, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier were all in-and-out of the lineup and subsequent injuries to David Perron and Reilly Smith kept Reaves on the ice for every game in the regular season.

Then, the playoffs came and with a healthy roster, Reaves was out of the lineup, behind Ryan Carpenter and William Carrier. As the playoffs progressed, William Carrier got injured, Carpenter, Tomas Tatar and David Perron fell out of the lineup, and Reaves became a mainstay on the fourth line. In the Western Conference Finals Reaves scored the game-winning goal that clinched the Golden Knights trip to the Stanley Cup Final. He then backed that goal up with a tally in Game 1 of the Final.

When the season ended, he was set to become an unrestricted free agent and comments from GM George McPhee made it sound like Reaves was not going to re-sign with Vegas prior to July 1st and probably not at all.

We made our offer, they said they’d circle back but they are looking for a longer term deal. If he gets the longer term deal then he won’t be coming back. But in that transaction, we got a player and a 4th round pick understanding that the player might leave. -George McPhee on 6/24/18

As it turns out, he got the longer term deal and still came back. So what happened?

A few days before July 1st, when Reaves was officially eligible to sign with any team in the NHL, he made it clear to any other team pursuing him that he was going to stay in Vegas. On June 30th, that happened as he signed a two-year deal worth $2.775 million per year.

Reaves was two years and basically, there was a lot of interest in him. There was a lot of competition for him. We simply took the money from a three-year deal and pushed it into two. -McPhee on 7/1/18

The question is, why? Why on June 30th would the Golden Knights be willing to break down and admittedly overpay for a player they seemed perfectly content losing a week prior? 

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Five Golden Knights Prospects Headed To World Junior Summer Showcase

Glass and Suzuki should shine at the Summer Showcase. Hopefully on the same line. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year, in advance of the IIHF World Junior tournament that takes place in December, four teams get together for the World Junior Summer Showcase. Last year it took place in Plymouth, Michigan where Erik Brannstrom starred for Team Sweden. This year the Summer Showcase is headed to Kamloops, British Columbia and the Golden Knights are well represented.

The World Junior Summer Showcase begins with practices on July 28th and games get underway on July 30th.

Paul Cotter was a standout at VGK Development Camp. We’ll see if he does the same at the Summer Showcase. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The American players, Kruse and Cotter, are both on Team USA’s Team Blue. Team Canada is split into two teams as well, but their split roster has yet to be released.

Team USA’s Team Blue plays the first game against Elvenes and Team Sweden at 4:00 PM on the 30th.

Notably absent are Erik Brannstrom for Team Sweden and Nic Hague for Team Canada. Both are expected to have a shot at making the NHL or AHL roster this season.

NHL Network is airing six games starting with the USA vs. Sweden game on August 2nd. Here’s the full NHL Network schedule.

Most Intriguing Matchups On The Golden Knights 2018-19 Schedule

This was the last moment the Kings stepped foot in T-Mobile Arena. We’re looking forward to much more of this. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It seems like it’s been forever since Vegas ended their season, and that was after a run to the Cup Final. Imagine what it must feel like for those teams who were eliminated in April. Luckily, we’re only 77 days away from the Golden Knights first game against the Flyers on October 4th. So, while we continue to wait, and wait, and wait, let’s look ahead to a few key matchups.

10/20/18: Ducks at Golden Knights

This is the Golden Knights first Pacific opponent, and it’s the second game of a five-game homestand. Last season by mid-October, Vegas was 6-1-0 and sitting on top of the Pacific standings. Can they get off to another good start? Playing Anaheim will be a good early season measurement for Vegas.

10/30/18: Golden Knight at Nashville

Nashville is expected to be a top Stanley Cup contender again this upcoming season. It’s a great test for the 2018-19 Golden Knights on the road, in a loud environment. Both teams have high expectations, so a late October tilt will be fun for fans to watch. Vegas fans will get to watch the talented Predators at the T-Mobile arena on January 23rd.

11/8/18: Golden Knights at Ottawa

This could be the Erik Karlsson preview game. General Manager George McPhee is known for making early season trades. Possibly, the Ottawa staff will like what they see in person, and accept a swap for E. Karlsson. On his last season before free agency, the Swede will be playing in superstar mode all season. Playing well against Vegas could help get the trade moving. Or, maybe Karlsson will be making his return to Ottawa in a Golden Knights jersey. Or, he’ll be on another team by then and this game will be useless.

11/23/18: Calgary at Golden Knights

It’s the return of the “Real Deal” James Neal. Expect the game to run behind schedule, as Vegas fans will be giving the former Knight multiple ovations before puck drop. Another angle in this game is the new look Flames. Calgary is expected to compete in the Pacific despite all of their new changes. The Flames are trying to compete now, which is why Neal was attractive to Calgary.

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