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Whose Name Should Be On The Back Of Your Golden Knights Jersey

Right now if you head down to The Armory at T-Mobile Arena, you can become one of the first to pre-order a Golden Knights jersey. The tough part is deciding which name to choose to put on the back. We’re here to help aid in that process.

The Safe Picks
Marc-Andre Fleury and Deryk Engelland

The Flower is already the fan favorite in Vegas, and will almost certainly be starting in net on Opening Night. Engelland is the hometown hero who is the only free agent that decided to join the Golden Knights (I know there were others, but c’mon). Both are safe because we are pretty darn sure neither are going to be traded before the season begins. Short term, these are safe and good options. Long term might be a bit riskier.

Fleury has two years left on his contract and the Golden Knights are already lining up options to take over behind him. Odd are Fleury will be around for the entire inaugural season, but his second season and beyond gets tough. He’s going to be a candidate for a deadline deal in 2019 and will likely not remain with the Golden Knights after he hits free agency. Similarly, Engelland will be in Vegas for this season, but the future beyond 2018 is a major question mark. Really can’t go wrong with either, but chances are, you’ll be needing a replacement sooner than later if you go this route.

The Names You Know
James Neal, David Perron, and Brayden McNabb

You can expect every guy on this list to be on the first 23 man roster the Golden Knights release, but they are all going to be dangled to other teams as the season progresses. Here’s the biggest problem with having a jersey with any of these names on the back of it, the better he plays, the more likely he is to be shipped out. So, you are either stuck with a jersey of a guy playing poorly or a guy playing great (for a bad team) who is probably getting traded. Not exactly ideal for your first Golden Knights jersey.

The OGs
Reid Duke and Vadim Shipachyov

Both are great options but come with major concerns. With Duke, the concern is right away in the fact that he’s probably not going to make the team out of camp (and possibly ever). But, he’ll always be the first Golden Knight, he’s an awesome guy , and everybody loves a good underdog story.

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CMO Nehme Abouzeid Out As CMO Of Golden Knights

Chief Marketing Officer Nehme Abouzeid announced on Facebook today that he is no longer a part of the Vegas Golden Knights organization.

Pro hockey effectively launched in Vegas. City excited. Team drafted. Brand rolled out. Flagship store opened. Fan base engaged and growing. Looking forward to the next journey helping other companies and brands do the same. Look for my own firm launching soon in Vegas. -Nehme Abouzeid on Facebook

Abouzeid was hired in November of 2016 and became the first Las Vegas local on the staff having worked at the Wynn and Sands for the previous decade.

Nehme left the Golden Knights having helped us reach many key milestones. We wish him the utmost success in his future endeavors. -Kerry Bubolz, Golden Knights President

**Stick tap to Jesse Granger of the Las Vegas Sun for breaking this story.**

Tangible Evidence Of Cody Eakin’s Intangibles

It’s the intangibles of size, strength, hockey sense, winning battles versus losing battles. That encompasses it. It’s not one thing, it’s everything. -Bruce Boudreau, Capitals Head Coach

That was Boudreau back in 2011 when he was the Capitals head coach under George McPhee. The coach spoke with D.C. media about the type of player the organization wanted. One of the players mentioned was then Caps rookie Cody Eakin. The intangible skills scouts reported could’ve been the reason he was drafted by McPhee in 2009 and then again via Expansion in 2017. Believe in intangibles or not, it’s an aspect that is strongly researched in the NHL. With help from an article in the Toronto Star, here’s an attempt to measure the unmeasurables in Cody Eakin’s game.

Grit

To me, that means there’s a loose puck, and they work like crazy to try and get it back. And if they fall down, they get right back up and try it again. -Ray Ferraro, TSN Hockey Analyst

Back in the WHL, Eakin was labeled as a gritty two-way player. He quickly won over NHL coaches with his aggressive fore-checking, special teams play, and shot-blocking ability. All three skills are in the definition of a gritty player. Eakin will likely anchor the Golden Knights penalty kill while playing an average of 16+ minutes a game. It could increase with the responsibility Coach Gerard Gallant will inevitably put on him. Not known for fighting, the Red Knight is willing to answer the call if necessary. C’mon, Cody knew he wasn’t leaving the ice unscathed after his brutal hit on Handsome Hank.

Hockey Sense

Somebody with good hockey sense can sense what’s going to happen on a certain play. The puck is coming around the boards, a guy with hockey sense will know, ‘the puck is going there, so I’m going here.’ -Larry Robinson, Hall of Fame defenseman

Eakin has been a reliable, versatile center since coming into the league in 2011. Being able to play multiple positions and log heavy minutes is crucial to Gallant. He’ll trust the 25-year-old center in many high-pressure, high-risk, game situations. Even-strength, down a man, or defensive zone face-offs, nothing is too much for Eakin. Labeled a calm player that won’t panic, it’s no wonder he scored eleven game-winning goals. Eakin’s awareness set him up for two playoff game-winning gems. 

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Taking Nate Schmidt Caused Change In Plans On Grubauer For Washington

Doubt this reminder is necessary, but here it is anyway, George McPhee was the general manager of the Washington Capitals for 17 years from 1997-2014. He was fired at the end of the 2014 season because the seemingly championship quality roster just couldn’t get over the hump and win the Stanley Cup.

McPhee moved on to work with Garth Snow and the New York Islanders, Team Canada at the IIHF Worlds, and eventually, take the job in Vegas. The Capitals are well, still the Capitals.

So when the Expansion Draft rolled around, to many, Washington was one of the most interesting selections of the 30 McPhee and Vegas were to make. Most believed the pick would be Philipp Grubauer, the backup goalie who was drafted by McPhee in the 4th round in 2010. Grubauer was one of the league’s best #2 goalies in 2016-17 and appeared to be the perfect option to fill the same role behind Marc-Andre Fleury as a Golden Knight.

But no, instead, Vegas picked Nate Schmidt, the 25-year-old defenseman that went undrafted out of University of Minnesota and signed with Washington (McPhee) in 2013. Schmidt had a +22 rating last season and is +34 in the past two seasons, his first full seasons at the NHL level. Schmidt came over as a restricted free agent whom Vegas clearly had future plans.

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James Neal: Top 10 Shot In NHL

Even the greenest Vegas hockey fan will tell you they’ve heard of Golden Knights forward James Neal. It could be his 238 regular season goals or his 44 points in 80 playoff games. Or, I’m not afraid to say it, it could’ve been one of the many dirty hits Neal has delivered. He’s a well-known player. In nine seasons the former Star, Penguin and Predator built a strong reputation for offensive and physical firepower.

TSN’s Travis Yost calculated the most effective part of Neal’s game… his shot. High-volume and accurate shooting is why the sniper is among the league’s best.

I told myself after that first practice that I had to become a better shooter or I wouldn’t make it in the league. Since then, I’ve played in hundreds of NHL games and talked to a ton of different goalies. The real secret to scoring goals is all about the release. –James Neal, Players Tribune

I’ll let the TSN analytics guy explain his criteria.

I took data from the last three seasons (minimum 150 shot attempts) and plotted out two items – the number of shots each forward generated per game at 5-on-5, and the net number of goals added above expectations (per-100 shots). It’s the blend that matters. Bring in both volume and shot quality, and this is your true leaderboard – the number of goals a player added above expectations over the last three years. -Travis Yost, TSN

Take a breath. I know, it’s a lot to take it. This chart will help. Even if it doesn’t though, just read the names and realize the letters VGK are next to one of them.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS SIGN TEEMU PULKKINEN (F) TO ONE YEAR DEAL WORTH $700,000

SinBin.vegas Podcast #72: Do The Golden Knights Have Good Players?

Back in the studio to begin what’s likely to be a four to six year debate on how much talent the Vegas Golden Knights actually acquired via the Expansion Draft. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • What we took away from Development Camp.
  • Oscar Lindberg’s contract and future.
  • Signing, re-signing, and trading to bring in the missing pieces.
  • Ken tries to play a probability game, Jason has none of it.
  • Fan questions.

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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Better Find A Center, Otherwise The Struggles Will Start And Never End

It’s not hard to see George McPhee believes in strength down the middle. He made that clear by drafting five centers in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately, that talent is undeveloped and unavailable. As for 2017-18, the unit will contain five centers, Vadim Shipachyov, Oscar Lindberg, William Karlsson, Cody Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault. The Golden Knights aren’t expecting much success this season, but for the future, one of those five needs to turn into a top line center.

Shipachov will likely start the year as the top center but currently, he has no NHL experience, and like most KHL imports, is a great unknown. The other possibility is Lindberg. He skates in with 134 games played and just over 850 face-off attempts. The 25-year-old Swede will have the chance to make a serious impact with Vegas.

Oscar loves New York and he loves winning, but he also loves ice time… He’s going to have a great opportunity to play major minutes and a major role in Vegas. Claude Lemieux, Lindberg’s agent

Lindberg’s career TOI average will certainly increase from 11:30 minutes per game. His effectiveness in all three zones will prove his value.

Karlsson’s impressive flow and off-the-puck play could help him climb the charts too.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS SIGN OSCAR LINDBERG (F) TO 2 YEAR DEAL WORTH $1.7M AAV

A 2018 5th Round Pick For…

There’s an old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There’s another saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” There’s even another one that goes, “you can only see the tip of the iceberg.” Then there’s a trade in which the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Marcus Kruger for “future considerations” on Sunday and a 2018 5th round pick for Marcus Kruger on Tuesday. All of that belongs in one paragraph, believe me.

Prior to the Expansion Draft the Chicago Blackhawks were one of the many teams that appeared to be in a bit of a pickle. They were hampered with seven NMCs and a salary cap situation that needed to be resolved. So, George McPhee and Stan Bowman got to work.

An agreement was made, Vegas would select Trevor van Riemsdyk at the Expansion Draft, trade for Marcus Kruger afterwards, and the Blackhawks would take “The Pledge” to not make a move get in the way of any of it. It took some time to complete the process, because of a $2M bonus in Kruger’s contract that was to be paid by Chicago, but on Sunday night the deals were done and Vegas and Chicago’s interaction with expansion was over.

George McPhee then flipped both players selected to the Carolina Hurricanes. In the end, here’s what happened…

Vegas Golden Knights receive 
2017 2nd Round Pick (Jake Leschyshyn)
2018 5th Round Pick

Carolina Hurricanes receive
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Marcus Kruger
2018 7th Round Pick (from Vegas)

Chicago Blackhawks receive
Expansion Draft Considerations
Future Considerations
(Cap relief)

There are so many ways to look at what went down here, and all fans/armchair GMs are free to look at it which ever way they please because you as you know, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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