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Golden Knights Can’t Afford To Wait For Power Play To Come Around

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

4 for 43.

It’s a number that has been on the mind of every Golden Knight, every coach, and every member of the front office through the offseason and into the new year.

The Golden Knights were shutout on the power play against the Montreal Canadiens (0 for 15) contributing to an NHL worst 9.3% power play in the 2021 playoffs. In fact, it was actually the worst conversion percentage of any team to play at least 17 playoff games since power play stats started being kept in 1977-78.

It must improve.

As a group we all have to be better, individual players, the coaches, the additions, all those things. I think the fresh start will help. I really believe the power play, like the penalty kill, is a real confidence-based piece of your game. When it starts to snowball the wrong way, everything goes in. I think we fell into that last year. -Pete DeBoer

DeBoer’s hope is that the offseason will go a long way towards a reset on a unit that played an integral part in the Golden Knights’ demise.

It was really average during the regular season and obviously it was well below average during the playoffs. So I think the break, the reset, the additions, the challenge of everybody being better, it’s going to be better. -DeBoer

He’s not relying on just time to heal the wound though.

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DeBoer Committed To Using Depth Forwards More On Penalty Kill

As the Golden Knights head into the 2021-22 season there’s not a lot they want to change. They’ve been to the conference finals in back-to-back seasons, they tied for the President’s Trophy last year, and they’ve been consistently one of the winningest teams in the NHL since their inception.

But, since they haven’t reached the mountaintop yet they know they can’t stand pat and expect things to be different this time around.

Speaking with the media on the first day of Training Camp, head coach Pete DeBoer clued us in to one such place he’s looking for change in his forward group.

What we saw last year was I felt we overplayed some of our top guys, especially penalty killing situations. When we talked in the summer about building this team out with Kelly and George, I’m a big believer that we’ve got to have at least a couple penalty killers in the depth of the lineup so that you’re not overtaxing the top guys, you can save them a little for offensive situations. -DeBoer

Last season, the Golden Knights’ primary penalty killers were William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Mark Stone, and Chandler Stephenson, all top-six players.

Regular Season PK TOI
Total (Per/game)

William Karlsson – 99:29 (1:47)
Reilly Smith – 91:02 (1:43)
Mark Stone – 74:12 (1:21)
Chandler Stephenson – 69:47 (1:22)
Tomas Nosek – 51:04 (1:21)
Alex Tuch – 41:24 (0:45)
Nic Roy – 41:14 (0:49)

Playoffs PK TOI
Total (Per/game)

William Karlsson – 24:21 (1:17)
Reilly Smith – 26:09 (1:23)
Mark Stone – 25:48 (1:21)
Chandler Stephenson – 23:14 (1:27)
Tomas Nosek -4:04 (0:41)
Alex Tuch – 11:36 (0:37)
Nic Roy – 10:16 (0:32)

With Tomas Nosek off to Detroit and Alex Tuch injured for the first few months, this concept of using depth players to penalty kill opens the door for a number of guys. The chief among them is newly acquired Brett Howden.

Howden has averaged 1:44 of penalty killing time per game over the past few seasons for the Rangers and has been reliable doing it. This could be a hint that Howden has an inside track into the Golden Knights’ lineup early in the season.

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With Training Camp Underway GM McCrimmon Happy For Some Normalcy

(Photo by Brandon Andreasen)

Golden Knights training camp begins today representing the return of the players and finally the fans. The start of a normally scheduled camp has the Golden Knights brass ecstatic as well. The Golden Knights’ GM addressed the media yesterday to give his expectations on training camp and making another chase for the Stanley Cup.

Really excited about 82 games. Really excited about playing 31 other teams. Last year was a challenge for a lot of people and for a lot of different reasons. We’re really optimistic that this will feel a lot more like a normal NHL season. We’re pleased with our offseason, pleased with the makeup of our team as we head into the season. -Kelly McCrimmon, Vegas GM

While the GM was satisfied with his offseason changes he’s also eager to learn more about what’s in the cupboard. Entering their fifth NHL season, Vegas’ front office would like to add contributions from some of their more experienced prospects.

I always get excited about the evolution of young players. I’m excited to see Keegan Kolesar, Dylan Coghlan, Nic Hague, Nic Roy, that group of young players. I’m excited to see their progression because that’s a big part of how your team improves. Zach Whitecloud, still a young player. I’m excited to see those players. -McCrimmon

The list of players the Golden Knights GM rattled off are under contract for one more season before entering restricted free agency. Of course, it’s an established roster but the Golden Knights at some point will need impact from the younger generation. McCrimmon also mentioned centers Nolan Patrick and Brett Howden but there are different expectations considering both are new to the organization.

Coach Pete DeBoer will have the luxury of roughly three weeks and seven preseason games to examine his younger players. DeBoer will need some to quickly become everyday NHL players. There may not be many openings in Vegas’ opening day roster but there could be bottom-six minutes up for grabs.

This year has seven preseason games, last year did not. I think there’s real value in that. Not only for your veteran players but it’s a great opportunity for young guys… I believe our forwards as a group are better than they’ve been at any point in our existence. I think we made our team better at the forward position. -McCrimmon

McCrimmon stated, and few would disagree, Vegas has a roster that only a handful of teams can match. The general manager never mentioned direct expectations but the goal has to be the same under The Creator’s ownership.

With the franchise’s best-ever forward unit, star-studded defense, and superb goaltending, it has to be a Cup or Bust type mentality behind closed doors. Expect another fun ride.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #247: Back From Rookie Camp

Ken’s back from Phoenix and the Rookie Faceoff, so we’re recapping that as well as looking forward to main camp that gets underway today. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Standout players in rookie games
  • The importance of a good camp for William Carrier
  • The mental challenge rookies face in camp
  • Equities?
  • Egg on a pizza
  • Questions surrounding opening of VGK season

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Observations On Every Player Who Put On A VGK Sweater At The Rookie Faceoff – Defensemen & Goalies

Golden Knights rookies spent the weekend in Phoenix competing in three games against fellow rookie squads from the Coyotes, Sharks, and Kings. A total of 25 players suited up for Vegas, here’s are my observations on every single one of them.

Defensemen

(Photo Credit: Robert Schneidmiller, IceTimeHockeySW.com)

Daniil Chayka (3 games, 1LD, 1 LD, 1LD)

Chayka was steady but never really seemed to get his footing adding any offense. In his own end, he was able to use his strong frame to push guys off the puck as well as protect it when he had it. The decision-making could probably have been a bit quicker, though it got better as the weekend wore on. For a first impression, there was a lot more good than bad.

Kaedan Korczak (2 games, 1RD, 1 RD)

As expected, Korczak looked like he was on another level compared to almost everyone else on the ice. He was calm on the puck, quick in retrieval, and always made the right decisions. There’s probably never going to be much offense in his game, but his willingness to push the puck up the ice will certainly generate chances for his teammates in the future.

Artur Cholach (3 games, 2LD, 2LD, 3 LD)

The first game he looked a step behind pretty much everyone rushing at him, but as the games continued he was able to gain his footing and improved. The concern about his ability to get to pucks and get them off his stick quickly enough to succeed at this level remains though. Overall, it wasn’t a bad weekend for him, but it was far from great.

Lukas Cormier (2 games, 2RD, 2RD)

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Observations On Every Player Who Put On A VGK Sweater At The Rookie Faceoff – Forwards

Golden Knights rookies spent the weekend in Phoenix competing in three games against fellow rookie squads from the Coyotes, Sharks, and Kings. A total of 25 players suited up for Vegas, here’s are my observations on every single one of them.

Peyton Krebs (2 games, 1C, 1C)

Literally 15 seconds into Game 1, Krebs made the best move of the weekend by any Golden Knight, carrying the puck over the blue line, stopping on a dime, and stickhandling through a defender’s legs to set up a Grade A scoring chance. His compete level is always on display and it really kicked up in the third game when it was clear he took a leadership role both on and off the ice. He came away from the two games without much to show for on the scoresheet but his impact was obvious.

(Photo Credit: Robert Schneidmiller, IceTimeHockeySW.com)

Pavel Dorofeyev (3 games, 1LW, 1LW, 1LW)

The first thing you’ll always notice about Pavel’s game was once again on full display, and that’s his ability to hold the puck and create space for himself and his teammates. He had a few really dangerous scoring chances but wasn’t able to slot one home. He and Marushev looked good together, but there’s no doubt Dorofeyev was at his best in Game 3 playing with Krebs and Dugan.

Maxim Marushev (3 games, 1RW, 1RW, 3RW)

Marushev plays a simple but effective game. He’s reliable with the puck on his stick and he’s always in quickly on the forecheck. He hit the post on a 2-on-0 shorthanded chance and was both creating chances for others as well as collecting them himself all weekend. For a 7th round pick, there’s not much to dislike about his game.

(Photo Credit: Robert Schneidmiller, IceTimeHockeySW.com)

Mason Primeau (3 games, 2LW, 3C, 2 LW)

No one’s stock raised more in my book this weekend than Primeau’s. His skating looks very good for a player of his size and his hands were worlds better than what we saw a while back when he was in Development Camp at City National Arena. Primeau was constantly making plays all over the ice. Some helped generate scoring chances but more often we’d see plays along the wall, in the neutral zone, or exiting the offensive zone that relieved pressure for his teammates. Officially, he goes down in the books with just one assist, but there was another goal clearly created off his play in the D-zone and a bundle of chances he was in on that weren’t finished.

Zach Dean (3 games, 2C, 1C, 3C)

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Vegas Coaches “Barking” At Jack Dugan To Shoot More

Early in the 2nd period of rookie game number two, the Golden Knights were awarded a power play. The puck worked its way around the four forward, one defenseman Golden Knights power play unit when it found itself sitting on the stick of Jack Dugan.

Dugan collected the pass, looked straight at the goal, and fired a low hard shot that beat the goalie clean to for Vegas’ first goal of the game.

It was a classic power play goal, one we’ve seen scored by a number of different players wearing a VGK sweater, but there was a bit more significance to this one because of whose stick it came off of.

I don’t know if you saw the reaction on the bench (when he scored the goal) but we’ve been barking at him on the bench to shoot the puck more. -Manny Viveiros

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Following his excellent sophomore season at Providence College where he tallied 52 points in 34 games, Dugan signed with the Golden Knights and played the entirety of last year in the AHL in Henderson. The point production continued as Dugan posted nearly a point per game, 33 points in 37 games.

If you dig into the numbers though, you’ll see that throughout his college career and his first year as a pro he’s produced assists at a rate double that of goals. The coaching staff in Henderson believes his mindset with the puck on his stick is making him predictable and they are trying to break the habit.

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Why Forward Line And D-Pair Combinations Matter In Rookie Games

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When it comes to prospects, we’re always on the hunt for information, trying to differentiate between players who have an NHL future and those who are simply along for the ride.

Rookie camp, and especially rookie games, are crucial in that sorting process as they stand as one of the rare times a large collection of Golden Knights prospects gather and compete on the same sheet of ice. Comparing Lukas Cormier’s 54-point QMJHL season to Kaedan Korczak’s five-game stint in the AHL playoffs only offers so much, but when they step on the ice together and compete against the same competition, much more can be gathered.

Most of that information comes from what we see on the ice. However, every once in a while we get some crumbs that give us a look into how the organization views these players, which will massively affect their chances of becoming future Golden Knights.

One such crumb was shared by this weekend’s coach, and Henderson Silver Knights head coach, Manny Viveiros.

Management and the scouting staff, they’ll put the lines together for us cause they’ve seen these kids over the last few years. They’ve been a big help in that part by putting who they want to see together including the d-pairs as well. So we’re going to decide who’s playing this weekend and with who and we’re going to go out there and support the kids and coach them on the bench. -Viveiros

This means every lineup we see being put out on the ice this weekend offers a look into the minds of the front office.

Pavel Dorofeyev and Maxim Marushev playing with Peyton Krebs on the top line tells us something about the two Russian standouts. While Mason Primeau playing on the wing of 2021 1st round pick Zach Dean and the more experienced Jack Dugan speaks volumes to where they feel the career of the 6’5″ 20-year-old who spent a portion of last year in the ECHL is headed.

Every player, every position, every decision is done with a purpose and there’s a reason behind every purpose.

Here’s the lineup the Golden Knights used in their first rookie game against the Coyotes, one they dropped 5-2 in a bit of a sloppy, penalty-filled affair.

Dorofeyev-Krebs-Marushev
Primeau-Dean-Dugan
Pearson*-Brabenec-McCallum*
D’Amato*-Demek-Gaucher*

Chayka-Korczak
Cholach-Cormier
Lajoie*-McCormick*

Patera
Vikman
*  = Free Agent

This is just one lineup of three we’ll get to examine this weekend. With them, we’ll get more information on players like Layton Ahac, Marcus Kallionkieli, Jermaine Loewen, Zack Hayes, Jonas Rondbjerg, and Peter DiLberatore.

In the end, it’s just a weekend, and placement in the lineup, as well as subsequent performances, will always be just a piece of the puzzle to how the Golden Knights view each prospect moving forward.

But it’s neat to get a peek behind the curtain a bit, now that we know where to look.

ESPN & Turner Sports Showcasing Vegas In 2021-22

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

News broke yesterday that the Golden Knights will be featured a dozen times on ESPN and Turner Sports this upcoming season. With the new television partnership in place, the two networks are leaning heavily on Vegas to help kick off their first season broadcasting the NHL.

VGK on ESPN/TNT/HULU

Tue. Oct. 12 vs. Seattle 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Wed. Oct. 20 vs. St. Louis 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
Tue. Oct. 26 at Colorado 5:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Tue. Nov. 9 vs. Seattle 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Fri. Dec. 3 at Arizona 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Wed. Dec. 8 vs. Dallas 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
Tue. Feb. 1 vs. Buffalo 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Thu. March 3 vs. Boston 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Thu. March 17 vs. Florida 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Sat. March 26 vs. Chicago 12:00 p.m. (ABC)
Wed. March 30 at Seattle 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
Wed. April 6 vs. Vancouver 7:00 p.m. (TNT)

One major complaint about NBC’s hockey coverage was their lack of diversity. The network tended to schedule more games with the league’s more established franchises and most likely from the eastern time zone, with the exception of the Chicago Blackhawks. However, as new media outlets take over, Vegas was identified as a perfect team to present to a potentially new audience. The Golden Knights are a Stanley Cup contender with a loaded roster, and they so happen to play in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s enough intrigue for sports fans unfamiliar with the NHL.

Turner Sports have become the standard in NBA broadcasting having been able to successfully keep an audience for an entire double-header. It’ll be tough to mimic the chemistry and content TNT developed around basketball but they’ll try with familiar faces that are well aware of the Golden Knights roster. Also, Turner split their games up evenly across the league. Vegas will appear four times on TNT in 2021-22, facing off against St. Louis, Dallas, Seattle, and Vancouver. Add in the other eight games on ESPN and the 31st franchise will be given plenty of exposure to the rest of the hockey landscape.

As for the eight contests on ESPN, the Golden Knights will greatly benefit from Worldwide Leader’s global audience. Vegas brings its own unique elements that may even help break in the network known more for dumping hockey rather than covering hockey. Although, ESPN will bring some Vegas flair with their infamously elegant hockey analyst Barry Melrose. The partnership between the entertainment network and a highly competitive team like Vegas should be more than enough for viewers.

Vegas has quickly become a premier NHL team in terms of demand and success, enough to feature 12 times nationally. Of course, fans will get their fill of eastern located games but clearly, the new television partners want to present fresher and more successful teams than the standards of the past decade. As the Golden Knights continue to pile up wins and postseason appearances expect their national television schedule to grow. Hopefully, the networks won’t fall back to the old habits and broadcast the big named organization. It should be reserved for teams like Vegas that will put on a winning show.

Rookie Camp/Games Bold Predictions

We’re finally here, hockey is back. No, it’s not quite regular season game time yet, but players wearing Golden Knights jerseys will be skating around competing both in Rookie Training Camp and then the Rookie Faceoff in Phoenix this weekend.

14 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goalies are set to participate in rookie camp with 21 of them under VGK or HSK contracts. Let’s make some bold predictions about what we’ll see in the next few weeks from these youngsters.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Kaedan Korczak won’t record a single point in the three rookie games but will be VGK’s best defenseman

There have been high hopes for Korczak since the Golden Knights moved up in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft to acquire him. Aided by some amended rules due to COVID, his rise through the ranks since being drafted has been quick, but he’s looked like he belonged every step of the way. He’s a big kid that skates very well for his size and has a multitude in his arsenal of defensive techniques. Be it gap control, body position, a strong stick, physicality, or anything else it takes to be a good defensive defenseman, Korczak has it. The trouble is his game is not really suited to put up points. It’s a bit similar to McNabb’s in that it’s not like he’s afraid to get forward or carry the puck, but his first idea when he does it is not to score, but instead to put the puck on a better offensive player’s stick. This is why coaches will love Korczak, and why he’ll eventually be an NHLer, maybe even this season. But it won’t show up on the scoresheet, which is often what we’re all a little too focused on any time there are two teams on the ice.

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