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Shipachyov Struggles In Faceoff Circle In First NHL Game

Shippy, stop losing draws! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL has made it very clear to begin the preseason that they’re done with cheating in the faceoff circle. So much so they’ve instructed officials to really crack down on faceoff violations. And, if two players get thrown out of the same draw, it’s an automatic delay of game penalty.

The rules are the same as they’ve always been, but the league’s decision to actually enforce them with more regularity was apparent in the Golden Knights second preseason game in Colorado.

We had 12 forwards dress and 11 of them took faceoffs. So that goes to show you. A lot of guys got thrown out and got frustrated. -Gerard Gallant

The Golden Knights also took two minor penalties for having multiple players tossed from faceoffs, including one which led to the 5 on 3 Colorado scored on.

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Quick Thoughts – Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche 9/19/17

  • Even more impressive than the three goals in the first eight minutes was the play of Oscar Dansk after coming in to begin the 3rd period. Dansk made 18 saves without allowing a goal and made a few special ones in a row during a power play.  -Ken
    • Note: After reviewing the game Dansk actually entered with 8:59 left in the second while VGK were on a power play. Official stats from the game are incorrect. He allowed the one goal the Golden Knights gave up. Nonetheless, one 5 on 3 goal doesn’t change the fact that he was still excellent between the pipes.
  • The VGK Alternate Captains on Tuesday night were; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, and Reilly Smith. Each logged heavy minutes and made significant contributions in both zones. Garrison was very active offensively, collecting two assists in the first period. Smith added an assist and led the offense with 17:23 TOI. Early in the third period, Captain Concierge Engelland broke up an aggressive Avs attack. With under ten minutes to go, Engelland made a crucial neutral zone stop, allowing for a much-needed shift change. -Jason
  • Vadim Shipachyov really struggled on face-offs. He was thrown out of many draws (which is a much bigger deal now with the new stupid delay of game penalty) and the ones he did take were not pretty. Shipachyov lost six face-offs, mostly against Nathan MacKinnon before he finally got one. He finished 2-7 in the circle. -Ken
  • The Golden Knights have committed 19 penalties in two preseason games. That’s almost two full periods with a man in the box. On Tuesday, the officials called six slashing penalties. The Golden Knights committed four slashing minors in Colorado, and one in Vancouver. We’ve been warned about a crackdown after a few dangerous incidents last season, looks like they are going a bit overboard with it to make a point in the preseason. -Jason
  • Alex Tuch stood out passing the puck. He assisted on the first goal with an excellent pass to Brad Hunt from below the goal line. There were multiple other examples of Tuch’s passing throughout the game as well. Couple that with his willingness to shoot and his physicality and he absolutely looked like he belonged on the NHL roster. -Ken
  • During the second intermission report, an Avalanche TV analyst suggested the NHL needs more personality. He thinks, the league should allow players the chance to customize their equipment. Of course, it would look cool, but wouldn’t it distract the players on the ice? It’s much easier to separate goaltenders. Plus, it’s better to add flair to an otherwise boring mask. Adding more personal art will confuse players, coaches, refs, and fans. Watch, instead the league will add sponsor patches and call it personality. -Jason
  • There were a total of 14 power plays during the game which led to every Golden Knight except Tomas Hyka to get time on both the power play and the penalty kill. While it’s great to get chances a man up, a man down, and in this game multiple times two men up or down, Gallant would probably prefer more 5v5 time to evaluate his players. -Ken

Time For Marchessault To Stake His Claim To The Top Line

Jonathan Marchessault at training camp at City National Arena. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Against my better judgment, I’m here to single out another player before tonight’s preseason game in Colorado. Just as I predicted Tomas Hyka’s domination in El Segundo and Tyler Wong came through for me with a hat trick in Vancouver, this time, it’s Jonathan Marchessault.

Marchessault is going to play on the top line for the Golden Knights against the Avalanche playing alongside Vadim Shipachyov and former teammate Reilly Smith.

That very possibly could be a line (in the regular season) but we’ll see how the chemistry looks and how they work together. It’s gonna take some time. I hope it works out, they are all good players. -Gerard Gallant

Where Marchessault fits in that line is clear.

He’s a shooter, so I’ll try to get him the puck as much as I can. -Reilly Smith

That should make for two guys trying to get the puck to Marchessault. Throughout camp, the skill that’s jumped off the ice for Shipachyov has been his passing. His ability to throw saucer passes basically through defenseman is almost mesmerizing and his rapport with Marchessault seems to be growing by the day.

Multiple times during morning skate at City National Arena, Marchessault and Shipachyov were seen messing around with each other including the moment Shipachyov entered the ice. He immediately skated over and sprayed Marchessault who was on a knee tying his laces. Marchessault laughed and spent much of the rest of the practice celebrating goals he scored on passes from Shipachyov or Smith.

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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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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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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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Don’t Get Too Excited About Stephane Da Costa

Since the signing of Vadim Shipachyov the Golden Knights have been rumored for just about every international player considering coming over to the NHL. The new name everyone is all excited about is Stephane Da Costa. Some of you might remember Da Costa from the sporadic 47 games he played with Ottawa over four seasons. Pathetically, I’ll admit I only remember the 27-year-old by the violent hit he took from Dion Cuthbert-Phaneuf.

The native Parisian and former Merrimack college standout signed as an undrafted free agent in March of 2011. Da Costa made his NHL debut a couple weeks later. However, he never found success with the Senators, which is why he eventually landed in the KHL. During his time in Ottawa, several red flags were revealed. One in particular that put him in the Ottawa doghouse.

He couldn’t even play in the league two years ago… he wasn’t strong enough. He wasn’t fit enough. His game wasn’t competitive enough to play in the league. –Paul MacLean, Senators Head Coach 10/01/13

From past reports, Da Costa’s reputation took a hit. He skipped rookie camp and showed up out of shape in 2011. Not a great sign for an undrafted free agent. Ottawa definitely believed in Da Costa’s potential but ultimately became frustrated and moved on.

Factors that can’t be overlooked are his determination to improve his weaknesses and his willingness to commit to the journey that landed him an NHL opportunity. –Hockeysfuture.com

The Golden Knights need to sign players, but also have to be creative in doing so. Shipachyov was a great example of that. He was a player that’s never played in the NHL, has been thriving in the KHL for years now, and the upside is through the roof. The Golden Knights jumped on him first and now, his age, skill and value will ultimately help the new franchise. Da Costa on the other hand, may be trending upwards in the World Championships but he’s projected to become just a role player on the Vegas roster.

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Doubting Any Ilya Kovalchuk To Vegas Rumors

After signing Vadim Shipachyov, GM George McPhee went on to confirm the team was also considering KHL player Evengi Dadonov and now the SKA rumor train continues with the news of Ilya Kovalchuk’s desired return to the NHL.

What does this mean for Vegas? Well he’s a KHL teammate of Shipachyov and he’s a former NHL All-Star. The former New Jersey Devil captain scored a career total of 328 goals and had 816 points in 816 games. Very good numbers for an 11-year period. If the Golden Knights were able to attain Kovalchuk, expect a very dangerous Vegas top line. But what’s the price?

We’re told to expect significant interest in Kovalchuk, who turned 34 this month, from teams that came up a goal-scorer or two shy of competing for the Cup. -Larry Brooks, NY Post

Now obviously Kovalchuk is going to want multi years, or else he’s not coming back. That’s the whole point here – it’s his last shot at a multi-year deal. I’ve got to think despite his age that you’re looking at between $5-6.5 million per year. -Pierre Lebrun, TSN Toronto

McPhee just signed Shipachyov, a 30 year-old center, to a two-year $9M deal. It’s possible they could jump up to $5M per season for Kovalchuk, but that won’t be enough for him to play for an expansion team. From all reports, the former number one overall pick wants to contend for a Stanley Cup. Vegas may be forced to pay the veteran forward more than his bottom price. At that point, the Golden Knights might decide to move on. But wait, there’s even more to the story.

Thus, if the Golden Knights even want to consider Kovalchuk, they’ve got to go through the Devils to do it.

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Vadim Shipachyov YouTube Highlight Reel

The excitement of the Golden Knights new player is still fresh in fans minds. Vadim Shipachyov is creating a massive buzz in Las Vegas. Of course, he has no idea what’s going on in his new city because he’s too busy playing hockey. The second Golden Knights player in franchise history is currently padding his stats at the IIHF World Championships in Germany and France. Since, the paint is still dry for Vegas fans, let’s take a look at some of Shippy’s play at World Championships. Number #87 was the second assist man on Artemi Panarin’s PP goal.

Second IIHF WC highlight is Evengi Dadonov on a one-timer. Shipachyov has the initial pass behind the net.

Like I said, the Russians padded their stats yesterday embarrassing Italy 10-1. Ok, now let’s watch some actual highlights. Maybe some ones where he does something rather than just move the puck around and get credit for it.

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Evgeni Dadonov Rumor Roundup

The moment the Golden Knights inked Vadim Shipachyov to a contract, the rumor mill began firing linking Shippy’s linemate for both SKA St. Petersburg and Team Russia, Evgeni Dadonov, to Vegas.

It all started way back in early February when SportsNet’s rockstar first mentioned the pair’s names together.

Hearing there is more than the usual amount of scouting going on with KHL players. That league is considering going with fewer teams next season, so NHL clubs are readying for the possibility of some extra players being available. Just like last year, the bigger names are St. Petersburg’s Evgeny Dadonov (56 points in 48 games) and Vadim Shipachev (68 points in 45 games), but it will cost millions to bring them over. –Elliotte Friedman on 2/1/17

Shipachyov and Dadonov’s names appeared next to each other across most publications over the last few months.

Then once Shippy signed on off Vegas, the Golden Knights instantly became the front runner to sign Dadonov as well.

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