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Tag: James Neal

Injured, Injured, And More Injured: Reid Duke, James Neal, Mikhail Grabovski

All things considered the Golden Knights are rather healthy as they progress through training camp. Nonetheless, they aren’t without a few bumps and bruises, a few we were already aware of, and one new one that popped up yesterday. Here’s the quick run down of the injured Golden Knights.

Reid Duke

The first Golden Knight now becomes the first to be injured while physically wearing a Vegas uniform. After participating in every session during rookie camp and playing both games in El Segundo against the Kings, Duke was held out from the first day full training camp with a injury sustained in the second rookie game.

Gerard Gallant confirmed the injury during his post practice press conference but would not disclose any details nor the severity. Duke was on the ice throughout the entire second game in El Segundo, finishing off his final shift with 1:30 left in the 3rd period. Before he exited that final shift, he was checked into the boards after dumping the puck into the Kings zone. The camera panned away so we were unable to see if Duke was injured on that play or earlier in the game.

He was seen hanging around the glass watching practice, but never dressed to play and was not in the locker room during media availability.

James Neal

Neal broke his hand early in the Predators Western Conference Finals series with the Ducks. He continued to play with the injury all the way through Stanley Cup Finals and logged more than 21 minutes in the last game of the series.

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Power Rankings For Every Individual Golden Knights: Pre-Camp

Ken asked if I could rank the Golden Knights as our lead in story to camp. I said, absolutely not, it’s impossible. We haven’t even seen them in a real practice yet! Then, he reminded me that the car we rented in Dallas is in his name. Uber is expensive. Here are my rankings for every Golden Knight, heading into camp.

My criteria were based on a combination of career stats; Goals Created, Points Per Game, Power Play Goals For, Power Play Goals Against, Total Goals For/Total Goals Against ratio, Average Time on Ice, and Games Played. Plus, I’ve seen a little hockey in my day, so the “eye test” was used to break a few ties. We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on.

We’ll update our rankings as training camp goes on. Agree or disagree, let me know. I can take the heat. (Remember, Ken made me do this.)

Defensive Rankings
1) Shea Theodore
2) Jason Garrison
3) Colin Miller
4) Brayden McNabb
5) Luca Sbisa
6) Nate Schmidt
7) Jon Merrill
8) Deryk Engelland
9) Clayton Stoner
10) Griffin Reinhart
Unranked: Chris Casto, Jake Bischoff, Brad Hunt, Nikolas Brouillard, Stephen MacAulay

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Golden Knights Probably Won’t Have A Captain To Start Season

Would it be Deryk Engelland, James Neal, Jason Garrison, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, or even someone else we haven’t really considered having the famous “C” stitched on to their first Golden Knights jersey? Well, it looks like the correct answer, at least to start the season, will be none of the above.

We’ll sit down with the coaches and decide what we want to do. We may be better off just having a leadership group than naming one guy captain. (You) really don’t want to put a C on a guy unless this is going to be a person that’s going to lead us for a long time. -George McPhee

As we discussed on the latest podcast, there’s really not a single player that stands out as the guy who would make sense to be the captain of the Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury would make the most sense but in the NHL, goalies cannot be designated captain. Next up would likely be Engelland, but he’s on the back-nine of his career and may struggle to even get on the ice consistently this year. Then there’s Neal, who has been an assistant in the past, but could be a trade candidate at the deadline in February.

So McPhee, Gallant, and Co may go down the three alternate captains road. It’s not unprecedented in the NHL. Last year neither the Hurricanes nor the Leafs named a captain, and there have been many vacant captaincies across the league over the past decade. There’s also the Minnesota Wild, who famously (or infamously) rotated captains each month for the first few years the franchise was in existence. Wouldn’t expect VGK to try that plan.

Instead, expect the Golden Knights to name multiple assistants as a part of their “leadership group.” There’s only one name almost guaranteed to be among that group, and that’s Engelland. The rest are about as fluid as those last defenseman spots.

McPhee said this is part of a press conference today at City National Arena. Here’s the whole presser.

Fantasy Hockey, Drafting Golden Knights

Yahoo’s Puck Daddy put out a list of the top 50 players this season in fantasy hockey. Not surprisingly to anyone, there’s not a single Golden Knight represented amongst the league’s elite. In fact, NHL.com’s rankings don’t even have a Vegas representative in the top 100, with James Neal checking in at 114.

Having looked at the Golden Knights scoring history, and considering many other factors, we’re projecting Vegas to score between 175-225 goals this season. They’ll probably allow closer to 250. Nonetheless, that’s 200 goals and approximately 350 or so assists that need to find a home here in Vegas. So let’s take a look at where we would rank the Golden Knights in a standard fantasy hockey league.

Best Options

Vadim Shipachyov: Even if Shippy isn’t quite the scorer he was in the KHL, he still should rack up the assists playing with Neal and his ice time will be plentiful as the likely top line center. The Golden Knights should really ride him to get a feel for what they’ve got as he’s one of the most intriguing pieces for the future of the franchise. 25 goals and 40 assists aren’t outrageous predictions at all for Shipachyov, and if his game translates like it might, he could be a top 20 center that you can draft in the 100-150 range. Plus, if the league has faceoff wins, he’s gonna get a bunch of those.

James Neal: I’ll go with NHL.com here and agree that Neal is the safest pick of all. He’s tallied 50 or more points in eight of his 10 seasons in the league and will certainly be leaned on much more heavily in Vegas to score than he was in Nashville, Pittsburgh, or Dallas. The question is how long he remains with the Golden Knights. If he’s putting up a monster season, expect his name to be all over the trade rumors, and in fantasy, that means you need to unload him before VGK does.

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When 65’s Not Enough: Golden Knights In Shootout

One of the most ridiculous, yet admittedly exciting, parts of regular season hockey is the shootout. When the game can’t be settled by playing hockey for 60 minutes plus a five minute 3-on-3 session, we head to the charade known as the shootout.

Last season, 99 games went to shootout. A total of 713 shots were attempted and 225 were made for a scoring percentage of 31.6% (save percentage 68.4%)

First, let’s take a look at the most important player in the shootout, the goalie.

PlayerSavesAttemptsPercentage
Marc-Andre Fleury (2016-17)81553.3%
Marc-Andre Fleury (Career)19926974.0%
Calvin Pickard (2016-17)3475%
Calvin Pickard (Career)141973.7%

Career wise, the Golden Knights netminders are virtually identical and both guys are significantly better than the league average.

Things aren’t as rosy when we flip the coin though.

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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

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Corsi For Percentage

Now that the Golden Knights have players, and will soon begin playing actual games and accruing statistics, we felt like now was a good time to learn the roster, by dumbing down different advanced statistics in the NHL.

Everyone understands goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, and time on ice, but for many hockey fans words like Corsi, Fenwick, PDO, and zone starts send off the instant “too much info, ignore and move on” signal. Since the Golden Knights are probably going to be bad, and the standard stats are likely to all have asterisks next to them with people saying “well someone has to score the goals,” we think it’s best if we use the downtime of July and August to take the stigma away from advanced stats, and get a feel for who the Golden Knights actual have on the roster.

Up first, Corsi and Corsi For Percentage.

Corsi is a statistic that measures the true number of shots a player takes during a game. It was created by an Edmonton Oilers blogger when he heard a GM mention the term “shot differential” but not have concrete numbers to back it up. So, like any good Internet user, he put in the research, came up with the numbers, and created a stat that’s now widely used in the NHL. So what is it exactly?

Corsi = Shots on Goal + Missed Shots + Blocked Shots Against 

It’s fairly simple, it’s just all shot attempts. Corsi can be measured for a team or for an individual. For a team, it’s simply all shot attempts. For an individual, it’s all shot attempts by the team while that player is on the ice. So, for every shot, the team gets +1 on their Corsi rating, and five players get +1 on their individual Corsi rating.

Obviously that stat means nothing if not put in context with what the other team is doing. So, each player has a “Corsi For” and a “Corsi Against” rating. Corsi Against is simply a Corsi rating for the other team while a player is on the ice.

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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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