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Tag: Nick Holden

Why Do Fans Hate Nick Holden?

Poor guy. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One of the Golden Knights’ major additions this offseason was bringing in defenseman Nick Holden as a free agent. The 6’4″ versatile defenseman has scored 10 goals twice and has tallied 20 or more points three times in his career. He’s responsible defensively and is consistently deployed to start shifts in his own zone (56% career D-Zone Starts).

However, the moment Holden’s signing to Vegas was announced, a barrage of hate was thrown towards the Golden Knights by fans of Holden’s previous teams, the Avalanche, Rangers, and Bruins. Look…

But why? Why is it pretty much universal when you ask fans what they think of Holden they react negatively? To find the answer, we went straight to the source and asked the man himself, why does everyone hate you?

I think cause I’m not a real flashy guy. I try to do the little things right all the time. I won’t make any real big plays where fans will notice me. They’ll notice when I get scored on and they won’t notice anything else. They won’t notice if I block a shot. Most fans like the offensive guys and the tough guys and I’m neither. -Nick Holden

What Holden does is play good defense. Holden has posted four consecutive seasons with a defensive point share of over 2.5 and registered a 3.9 in each of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. For reference, only Brayden McNabb (5.0) and Nate Schmidt (4.8) scored over 3.9 for Vegas last year.

I learned a few years ago to not really watch that stuff, it just matters what happens in here (the locker room). -Holden

We’ll see what Vegas fans eventually think of Holden when he hits the ice for the Golden Knights for real. Odds are they’ll hate him too, even though he’s a really good player, just not the right kind of really good player.

Golden Knights Defensemen Power Rankings

Brannstrom is on his way to forcing McPhee and Gallant into keeping him around. (Photo by Brandon Andreasen)

We are now over a week into training camp and have seen a pair of preseason games in which 32 different skaters have taken the ice for the Golden Knights. The impending suspension of Nate Schmidt and the possibility of Shea Theodore missing games with the contract negotiations has the blue line wide open heading into October 4th.

I like carrying eight defensemen and we’ve done it because some of the young guys weren’t really ready to be called up, so we wanted to carry eight. We’re carrying eight again next year. The good news is, we’ve got guys that can be called up this year. -George McPhee

Of course, there are still nearly three weeks of practice and six preseason games to sort it all out, but let’s take a look at how we think it shakes out as we speak.

This is a ranking of each defenseman in the Golden Knights system by the current level of play. This does not take into account things like suspension, holdout, waiver exempt status, contract, or likelihood to make the roster. These are my rankings, not necessarily how I believe the team would rank the players. (Nonetheless, admittedly, a lot of my beliefs come from decisions made by the front office and coaching staff on players.)

1) Nate Schmidt

Nate is in a class of his own on the Golden Knights blue line. He’s the only player currently even close to being considered a 1A defenseman, and even that can be debated either way. However, with the suspension, he’s unavailable for 20 games, so he won’t be an option for the Golden Knights come October 4th.

2) Brayden McNabb

Looking back on the contract, McNabb was an absolute steal for George McPhee. With Schmidt’s absence, McNabb will step into the role as the Golden Knights top defenseman. He’ll be relied upon to stop the opposing teams’ best players night in and night out for the first month and a half and will be the key penalty-killing defenseman as well. McNabb is much maligned at times, but the guy is a legit high-end shutdown defenseman and when paired with the right player, he and his partner can shine.

3) Colin Miller

Yes, Miller is rated above Theodore, and not because Theodore is not in camp, but because Miller is the more complete player at this moment. Give it a few years and Theodore will probably soar past him, but right now Miller has become acceptable (and probably even more than that) in his own end and he’s an absolute weapon in the offensive zone. He boasts the hardest shot on the team and he’s bound to have a mega offensive season playing a much more prominent role than a year ago.

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Where Does The Blue Line Stand Now With Schmidt Out Of The Picture?

It’s the obvious question to ask following the stunning news of Nate Schmidt’s 20 game suspension, what now? It gets even worse when you consider the possibility of Shea Theodore missing games, but for the purpose of this article (and because this isn’t the time of year for doom and gloom), we’re going to assume Theodore is on the ice on October 4th.

According to offseason quotes by George McPhee, the Golden Knights are expected to keep eight defensemen on the roster out of training camp. With Schmidt out, the roster has a total of 15 available players to fill those eight spots. Five names can probably be safely cast aside as longshots to make the roster (Zac Leslie, Dylan Coghlan, Jimmy Oligny, Jake Bischoff, and Nic Hague) leaving 10 players to fill the eight places.

Don’t be surprised if Gallant leans heavily on Engelland with Schmidt out. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It really comes down to Brad Hunt, Jon Merrill, Griffin Reinhart, Zach Whitecloud, and Erik Brannstrom fighting for three spots and one starting role. The odds on favorites are Hunt and Merrill with them splitting time as the six starter spot to go along with Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Shea Theodore, and Nick Holden.

Engelland and Miller are the only two right-handed defensemen of the group of five highly likely to crack the starting lineup, but Holden has played most of his career on the right side. Thus, in theory, there are the beginnings of each of the three pairs.

That leaves Theodore, McNabb, and Hunt/Merrill as each’s partner. Last year Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant used both Theodore and McNabb with Engelland quite a bit. Assuming he returns to those familiar pairings, we’re left with four potential sets of pairings.

Option A
McNabb-Engelland
Theodore-Holden
Merrill/Hunt-Miller

Option B
McNabb-Engelland
Theodore-Miller
Merrill/Hunt-Holden

Option C
Theodore-Engelland
McNabb-Miller
Merrill/Hunt-Holden

Option D
Theodore-Engelland
McNabb-Holden
Merrill/Hunt-Miller

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Golden Knights Quick Hitters

We promise something new on SinBin.vegas every day of the year (except Sundays) no matter whether the team is on the ice or it’s the middle of summer. Normally we pick one topic and throw everything we can possibly jam into one article at you and call it a day, but today we’re going to change it up a bit. Nothing really warranted a full story, so instead, we present you with “quick hitters.”

 Single Game Tickets On Sale Today

If you are following @GoldenKnights on Twitter, you’re probably already aware of this as they’ve found about 47 different creative ways to remind you, but if not, single game VGK seats go on sale at noon today.

Here’s the link to get tickets.

McPhee Stays Unbiased During Draft

With the 135th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Golden Knights selected Brandon Kruse from Bowling Green State University. BGSU just so happens to be GM George McPhee’s alma mater, however, in an interview with FloHockey.tv, he says that had no impact on his decision to draft Kruse.

It’s a coincidence. I leave our drafting up to our scouts. I’m happy that they drafted him because he’s a terrific player, and I’m glad that they weren’t influenced by me; there’s no bias involved, they took the best player available, who happened to play at Bowling Green. I’m excited that it provides another reason to get to Bowling Green this year and watch them play. -McPhee

100 Point Projection

The creator of Corsica.hockey released a projection for every team and had the Golden Knights once again eclipsing the century mark.

This model is widely regarded as one of the most accurate out there. Unlike most who had the Golden Knights in the 60’s or 70’s last season, Perry projected Vegas at 82, one of the highest we found. Hopefully, he’s 25 points short again. 

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What To Expect From Nick Holden

Most of the Golden Knights offseason headlines have been focused on the addition of Paul Stastny, the departures of James Neal and David Perron, and the re-signings of Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Reaves, and William Karlsson. But, the player who will likely see more ice time than everyone mentioned above, expect Fleury, has kind of flown under the radar.

Defenseman Nick Holden signed a two year, $2.2 million deal with the Golden Knights. With it, he instantly projects to be in the Vegas lineup and possibly even the top four. At first glance, and coming from the mouth of the GM, Holden is simply a replacement for Luca Sbisa.

It basically keeps the construction of our defense intact. Luca has moved on, we thought he would fit really well in that spot, and we like him a lot. We got the deal done on the terms we liked. Everything stays the same on our defense and we like our defense. -George McPhee

However, there’s a real chance Holden can become much more than that. Holden is a 6’4″215-pound stay-at-home style defenseman who is reliable on the penalty kill. With New York and Colorado, he was primarily used as a shut-down defenseman starting over 58% of shifts in the defensive zone. His career average of 20:01 TOI puts him right in line with Shea Theodore, Deryk Engelland, and Brayden McNabb.

I’m a little more of a simple player. Try to move the puck to the forwards and make a hit when I can. I’m not going to skate through anybody or go end to end, I’m kind of just a simple solid player. –Nick Holden to BostonBruins.com

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Blueline Needs To Chip In To Replace Departed Offense

Theodore scored the first playoff goal in team history. Might need a lot more of that in Year 2. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When you think of scoring and the Golden Knights, rarely do names like Nate Schmidt, Brayden McNabb, or even Shea Theodore come to mind. Aside from the occasional Colin Miller blast, the Golden Knights weren’t exactly known for offensive from the blueline. Last season, Golden Knights defensemen scored 37 goals. Good enough for 18th most in the NHL.

Nashville: 56 Goals
Columbus: 51 Goals
Arizona: 50 Goals
Philadelphia: 50 Goals
Tampa Bay: 48 Goals
Florida: 44 Goals
Anaheim: 42 Goals
Minnesota: 42 Goals
St. Louis: 42 Goals
Colorado: 41 Goals
*18. Vegas: 37 Goals

Thankfully, the Golden Knights never needed to rely on blueline scoring. However, more output would help the team return to the playoffs. Colin Miller led all Vegas blueliners with 10 goals and 41 points. He was handsomely rewarded with a new $15M contract extension.

As it stands right now, Vegas defensemen are projected to score around 40 goals in 2018-19. Not far off from last season’s totals.

2017-18 VGK Defensive Scoring
Colin Miller: 10G, 31A
Nate Schmidt: 5G, 31A
Shea Theodore: 6G, 23A
Deryk Engelland: 5G, 18A
Brad Hunt: 3G, 15A
Brayden McNabb: 5G, 10A
Luca Sbisa: 2G, 12A
Jon Merrill: 1G, 2A
Totals: 37 Goals, 142 Assists, 179 Points

When you subtract Luca Sbisa’s contribution and add Nick Holden’s offense, it’s a virtual wash.

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Pothier: The Golden Knights Are Not Better Today Than They Were On June 7th

As much as we love Paul Stastny, and we do love Paul Stastny, creating a dynasty involves more than Paul Stastny. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s a simple question, are the Golden Knights a better team today than they were the day they came up three wins short of winning the Stanley Cup? The answer is also as simple, at least in my opinion, and it’s no.

We want to be stronger next year than we were this year. I can’t say we’re going to win more games, or go further in the playoffs, but we want to be a better team next year…That’s the goal. George is working on it right now. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline on 6/22/18

The Creator said he has daily discussions with George McPhee on how to improve the team. Since that conversation, some can make the argument the Golden Knights got worse.

Let’s start with what they lost.

David Perron: 67 Points (16G, 50A), 0.94 Points Per Game, 0.71 Assists Per Game, 22 Goals Created, 17:49 ATOI, +1

James Neal: 44 Points (25G, 19A), 0.62 Points Per Game, 2.85 SOG Per Game, 17:11 ATOI, -11

Luca Sbisa: 14 Points (2G, 12A), 54 Blocks, 30 Total Goals For, 30 Total Goals Against, 19:32 ATOI, +8

Now let’s look at the Golden Knights additions.

Paul Stastny: 53 Points (16G, 37A), 0.68 Points Per Game, 0.47 Assists Per Game, 54.9 Faceoff Win %, 18:18 ATOI, +1

Daniel Carr: 16 Points (6G, 10A), 0.42 Points Per Game, 1.37 SOG Per Game, 12:08 ATOI, +2

Nick Holden: 17 Points (4G, 13A), 83 Blocks, 64 Total Goals For, 73 Total Goals Against, 19:00 ATOI, -5

It’s not fair to compare the loss of Neal and Perron, to Vegas’ new offensive additions. Stastny’s a fine player, but he’s not an elite center that can make up the production of two lost wingers. There’s only a few of those, and one of them passed for Toronto.

We have a lot of money to bring in some quality players. If we can get the players we’re going to spend the money. -The Creator

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VGK Free Agency Tracker

)(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

  • Ryan Reaves has re-signed with the Golden Knights on a two year $2.775 million AAV deal. (Source: @DarrenDreger)
  • David Perron has signed with St. Louis on a four year $4 million AAV deal. (Source: @FriedgeHNIC)
  • Paul Stastny has signed with the Golden Knights for three years at $6.5 million AAV. (Source: @TSNBobMcKenzie)
  • Nick Holden has signed with the Golden Knights for two years at $2.2 million AAV. (Source: @PierreVLeBrun)
  • A trade for Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan still appears very much in play (Source: @TSNBobMcKenzie)
  • James Neal has signed with the Calgary Flames for five years at $5.75 million AAV. (Source: @TSNBobMcKenzie)
  • Brandon Pirri has re-signed with the Golden Knights on a one year, two-way deal worth $650,000 NHL, $250,000 AHL. (Source: @renlavoietva)
  • The Golden Knights have re-signed Maxime Lagace on a two-way deal at $650,000. (Source: @renlavoietva)
  • Zach Fucale has signed a one year two-way deal worth $650,000. He’s a waiver exempt goalie who has yet to make his NHL debut. Previously in Montreal’s system. (Source: @renlavoietva)
  • The Golden Knights have signed Curtis McKenzie, a 27-year-old winger previously with the Dallas organization bouncing between NHL and AHL. Deal is two years worth $750,000 AAV. (Source: DhaliwalSports)
  • Daniel Carr has signed with the Golden Knights. Scored 14 goals in 98 games with the Canadiens including six last season in 38 games. One year, $750,000. (Source: @BBarts, @PierreVLeBrun)
  • Golden Knights announced the signings of Alex Gallant and Jimmy Oligny. Both career AHLers. (Source: VGK Press Release)
  • Luca Sbisa will not be re-signing with the Golden Knights (Source: SinBin.vegas)
  • George McPhee will hold a press conference at 2PM to discuss today’s transactions.

 

The Free Agency Tracker is brought to you by Adam S. Kutner and Associates, the best Las Vegas personal injury attorney.

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