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Power Play Scoring Must Pick Up From Career Numbers

Power-Play
/ˈpou(ə)r plā/
noun

A situation in hockey where one team has a greater number of players on the ice because the opposing team has a player or players are in the penalty box Sin Bin, giving the team a scoring advantage.

It’s no secret, NHL teams that have success on the power play, usually end up in the playoffs. Eight of the top ten most efficient PP units made the postseason. Tampa was one of the teams to miss the playoffs, but only by one point. For example, take last season’s Stanley Cup champion. They were 3rd in PP% at 23.1% and 2nd in PP goals with 60.

With playoff expectations low in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights coaching staff will have all season to find the right PP combinations. It could be frustrating for Gerard Gallant but that’s why he has Assistant Coach Mike Kelly. We’ll get to him later…

Offensively, PP goals can be a way to neutralize an opponent. Inferior teams can compete further in a game when they win the penalty battle. Let’s get serious, this is the NHL, stars get the calls, and unfortunately, Vegas’ only star is between the pipes, which likely means the Golden Knights will be down a man more often than they’re up one. But, if they can make the most of their PP opportunities, it could help pick up a few wins or overtime losses.

2017 Top NHL PP Percentage:

Sabres 24.5% Missed playoffs
Maple Leafs 23.8% First round exit
Penguins 23.1% Cup Champions
Capitals 23.1% Second round exit
Oilers 22.9% Second round exit
Lightning 22.8% Missed playoffs
Bruins 21.7% First round exit
Blues 21.3% Second round exit
Wild 21.0% First round exit
Rangers 20.3% Second round exit

2017 Top NHL PP Goals:

Lightning 62 PP Goals Missed playoffs
Penguins 60 PP Goals Cup Champions
Maple Leafs PP 58 Goals First round exit
Sabres 57 PP Goals Missed playoffs
Capitals 57 PP Goals Second round exit
Oilers 56 PP Goals Second round exit
Flyers 54 PP Goals Missed playoffs
Bruins 53 PP Goals First round exit
Flames 52 PP Goals First round exit
Blues 50 PP Goals Second round exit

The target number the Golden Knights should aim for is 40+ PP goals this season. If Vegas can score 20% or more on man advantages, look out, we’ll be talking about the surprise team for 2017-18. However, when you combine VGK’s PP goals for 2016-17, the total points more towards 20 PP goals than 40.

Collected VGK Points in 2016-17:

2016-17 PP Goals: 26
Career PP Goals: 173
2016-17 PP Assists: 36
Career PP Assists: 247

VGK PP individual points:

Player16-17 PPGCareer PPG16-17 PPACareer PPA
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare0000
William Carrier0000
Cody Eakin01029
Deryk Engelland0001
Jason Garrison017031
Erik Haula1201
William Karlsson1101
Bendan Leipsic0001
Oscar Lindberg0113
Jonathan Marchessault8121013
Brayden McNabb0106
Jon Merrill0205
Colin Miller1116
James Neal566867
David Perron3371059
Teemu Pulkkinen0203
Luca Sbisa01010
Nate Schmidt0000
Reilly Smith618529
Shea Theodore1312

See… 40 PP goals this season could be difficult… okay, nearly impossible. If the Golden Knights combine for 26 PP goals or less, they would easily be one of the least successful. Even the historically bad Avalanche scored 30 PP goals in 2016-17.

Now, let’s get to Gallant and his staff. Most coaches break up their special teams, and hand off responsibilities to assistant coaches. Mike Kelly directed Gallant’s power play units in the past, so it’s safe to assume he’ll have the same role with the Golden Knights. In Florida, Kelly led his special teams to very little success. During his tenure, the Panthers were ranked 24th 16.3% and 23rd 16.9%. Lackluster for teams that competed for the postseason.

If Kelly’s bad luck follows him to Vegas it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. The Vegas front office is expecting low PP goal production this season. It will be an area of concern they’ll address feverishly in the future. Heck, there is the crazy possibility the Golden Knights surprisingly excel on the PP. Games would be more competitive, and Vegas fans would be more entertained. After PP Goals, VGK fans should scream like Charlie from Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Wild Card, Bitches! It’s all about being the unknown.

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5 Comments

  1. KyleB.

    McPhee (VGK) has quite the pickle by the way…

    Theodore, Miller, Garrison, McNabb, Schmidt, and Sbisa are probably Vegas’ best 6 dmen. Then they have to decide which of Stoner (32), Merrill (25), Engelland (35), or Reinhart (23) will remain as the 7th D. If I had to guess, they keep Reinhart because nobody is waiver exempt besides Theodore, and I would bet several teams would gamble a waiver pickup on him.

    This leaves Engelland on a plane to AHL Chicago and is a shame because they’ve been parading him across the Valley like a demi-god. This also leaves Stoner (8-yr NHL vet) and Merrill (4-yr NHL vet) out in Vegas as well. Both are probably decent 5-7th Dmen in the lineup…and they could probably be moved for future assets (maybe 6th and 7th round picks?).

    Some might argue for Theodore to be sent down until the D is situation; however, he’s Vegas’ best defenseman moving forward, and I’d assume McPhee wants as much NHL experience for him as he can get.

    • Bent Hermit

      GMGM took way to many 5 and 6 Dmen. It would of been nice to see a few young guys with two way contracts taken if there wasn’t anything better. Nobody is going to make a trade for them. Teams will just wait and grab whoever is cut and VGK will have lost a pick for nothing.

  2. Jason Pothier

    Great outlook Kyle. You’ll probably be right about Theodore to AHL. It’s too bad but I understand the dilemma the team is in.

  3. James

    @Jason Pothier
    ‘You’ll probably be right about Theodore to AHL. It’s too bad but I understand the dilemma the team is in.’

    What if he is one of the best defensemen in camp?

    I think he has the potential to be the best defensemen on the roster this year … He could quarterback the power play

  4. James

    @Jason Pothier
    ‘Let’s get serious, this is the NHL, stars get the calls, and unfortunately, Vegas’ only star is between the pipes, which likely means the Golden Knights will be down a man more often than they’re up one.’

    I don’t think that stars get the calls in the NHL. Referees do a poor job of enforcing the rulebook, especially during playoffs. Referees have a tendency to even things out a bit.

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