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Most Intriguing Matchups On The Golden Knights 2018-19 Schedule

This was the last moment the Kings stepped foot in T-Mobile Arena. We’re looking forward to much more of this. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It seems like it’s been forever since Vegas ended their season, and that was after a run to the Cup Final. Imagine what it must feel like for those teams who were eliminated in April. Luckily, we’re only 77 days away from the Golden Knights first game against the Flyers on October 4th. So, while we continue to wait, and wait, and wait, let’s look ahead to a few key matchups.

10/20/18: Ducks at Golden Knights

This is the Golden Knights first Pacific opponent, and it’s the second game of a five-game homestand. Last season by mid-October, Vegas was 6-1-0 and sitting on top of the Pacific standings. Can they get off to another good start? Playing Anaheim will be a good early season measurement for Vegas.

10/30/18: Golden Knight at Nashville

Nashville is expected to be a top Stanley Cup contender again this upcoming season. It’s a great test for the 2018-19 Golden Knights on the road, in a loud environment. Both teams have high expectations, so a late October tilt will be fun for fans to watch. Vegas fans will get to watch the talented Predators at the T-Mobile arena on January 23rd.

11/8/18: Golden Knights at Ottawa

This could be the Erik Karlsson preview game. General Manager George McPhee is known for making early season trades. Possibly, the Ottawa staff will like what they see in person, and accept a swap for E. Karlsson. On his last season before free agency, the Swede will be playing in superstar mode all season. Playing well against Vegas could help get the trade moving. Or, maybe Karlsson will be making his return to Ottawa in a Golden Knights jersey. Or, he’ll be on another team by then and this game will be useless.

11/23/18: Calgary at Golden Knights

It’s the return of the “Real Deal” James Neal. Expect the game to run behind schedule, as Vegas fans will be giving the former Knight multiple ovations before puck drop. Another angle in this game is the new look Flames. Calgary is expected to compete in the Pacific despite all of their new changes. The Flames are trying to compete now, which is why Neal was attractive to Calgary.

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TOMAS NOSEK (F) SIGNS 1 YEAR EXTENSION AT $962,500

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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Forward Lines And D-Pairings Shift Drastically As Seasons Progress

This man was the top line center for the Golden Knights… for nearly a month. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One of the favorite offseason time wasters for fans and media types alike is to project lines for the upcoming season. Where does Paul Stastny fit in? Is Erik Haula a center or a wing? What are the chances of Erik Brannstrom or Zach Whitecloud cracking the lineup out of the camp? They are all legitimate questions, and who am I to stop those debates, but while writing the article on Vadim Shipachyov’s hatred for Vegas I stumbled across a line chart from early in the season last year. It looks quite a bit different from what we saw in the Stanley Cup Final and it might put a bit of pause on some of those line projection discussions.

Last year the Golden Knights were a brand new franchise with a collection of players who had never played together. There were no clear-cut lines or pairings to bank on heading into the year. So, obviously, things are a bit different going into 2018-19, but take a look at the line charts from Game 1 and Game 6 of last season.

Cody Eakin, top line center. Brayden McNabb, scratched for Brad Hunt, Jon Merrill, and Luca Sbisa. William Karlsson and Erik Haula, interchangeable at wing and center. Oscar Lindberg, relied upon center. Shea Theodore, in the AHL.

The point is, things change, and in a hurry. The Golden Knights are almost certainly going to head into 2018-19 with Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and William Karlsson as the top line, but beyond that, almost everything is flexible.

The roster that broke camp and headed to Dallas included eight players that did not play a second in the Stanley Cup Final. Eight out of 23 is 35% of the roster. 35% of the Golden Knights roster at the start of the year was not there at the end.

It wasn’t until Game 8 that the Karlsson line was created. Schmidt wasn’t paired with McNabb until Game 18.

The Golden Knights middle six and all three defensive pairings are far from set in stone. However, when we finally get to camp and we finally get to see what’s on the reigning Jack Adams’ Award winner’s mind, remember what you see then probably isn’t what you’ll be seeing when the games really start to count.

Ok, now go back to projecting your favorite line pairings and D pairings. Here’s what I’m thinking…

Smith-Karlsson-Marchessault
Tatar-Haula-Tuch
Nosek-Stastny-McKenzie
Eakin-Bellemare-Carrier

Schmidt-Holden
Theodore-McNabb
Miller-Engelland

@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A

What are the chances someone in this picture asked a question? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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Fleury’s Idols Proved Success Into Late 30’s Is Not Impossible

If Fleury really is elite, he’ll continue being great well into his 30’s. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

During Golden Knights training camp last season, Marc-Andre Fleury told SinBin.vegas about players that influenced him growing up. The 33-year-old idolized and eventually studied the careers of Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, and Martin Brodeur. All three Hall of Fame goaltenders had wildly successful careers and played well into their thirties. Fleury’s new contract extension suggests the Golden Knights believe he’ll retire a decorated Hall of Fame goaltender like the three above.

When Patrick Roy retired in 2003 at the age of 37, he left the league as the all-time wins leader with 551. At that time, Brodeur was 30 and was far behind. He remarkably retired 11 seasons later at the age of 42, passing Roy by 140 wins. Both goalies were consistently successful throughout their careers and continued to have major success after the age of 33.

Belfour was another outstanding goaltender that got better with age. After the age of 32, Eddie the Eagle posted 30 or more wins in six of his last nine seasons. He led the Stars to back-to-back Cup finals in 1999 and 2000 at the age of 34 and 35. Dallas won their only Stanley Cup in ’99 behind Belfour, who posted a ridiculous 1.67 postseason GAA.

Check out the success Roy, Brodeur and Belfour had after Fleury’s current age. Vegas fans should feel even more confident about their newly extended 33-year-old goaltender.

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MARC-ANDRE FLEURY (G) SIGNS 3 YEAR EXTENSION AT $7M AAV

Vadim Shipachyov Describes His Time In Vegas “Like A Terrible Dream”

The only player to ever retire as a Golden Knight is back in the news dropping bombs on the Vegas coaching staff, his agent, and even the city of Las Vegas. Vadim Shipachyov did an interview with Sports-Express.ru which touched on a myriad of topics surrounding his time in Vegas including how and why it all came to an end.

Note: The interview was conducted and printed in Russian so the translations are a bit rough.

I forgot everything that happened last season, like a terrible dream. -Vadim Shipachyov

Shipachyov signed with the Golden Knights on May 4th, more than a month prior to the Expansion Draft. When Vegas’ roster was set, Shipachyov’s two-year $9 million contract had the KHL import as the highest paid center on the team. When he arrived in Vegas, a few weeks before training camp, he was expected to be the Golden Knights’ top line center, and when camp got underway, the eventual Jack Adams winner slotted him on a line with Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith.

In a lose lose situation, the Golden Knights somehow won. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Shipachyov remained on that line through most of the preseason but was left off the Golden Knights opening day roster in Dallas. At the time it was described as a numbers move. Shipachyov was waiver exempt, so he could be sent to the AHL without the possibility of being picked up by another team, which allowed McPhee to protect players like Griffin Reinhart, Jason Garrison, and Calvin Pickard. Shipachyov did not report to the AHL, but McPhee said the team was okay with it. Then, Marchessault and Erik Haula were both injured in the same game. Both were placed on the IR and two NHL roster spots were open. McPhee recalled Shipachyov (and Alex Tuch) and he was played as the center of the third line with Tuch and Brendan Leipsic. Shipachyov played in three games, saw the ice for a total of 32 minutes, and scored one goal. When Marchessault returned from injury, McPhee chose to keep Tuch rather than Shipachyov, and this time Shipachyov was expected to report to the AHL.

He did… for one practice. Then he left and was formally suspended by the team. McPhee allowed his agent to seek out a trade but no agreement was found. Shipachyov then “voluntarily” retired, effectively ending his contract and taking his salary off the Golden Knights books. Shipachyov returned to Russia to his former team, SKA St. Petersburg. By the time the KHL season closed, Shipachyov had fallen out of the starting lineup and was a healthy scratch on the Olympic Athletes of Russia team that won the gold medal. He was not offered a contract by SKA St. Petersburg and will play this season with a lesser team in Dynamo Moscow. “Terrible dream” probably puts it politely.

Yes, a lot of things were written about me. I do not even want to understand it. There was too much untruth. -Shipachyov

Another portion of the Shipachyov “terrible dream” was a mishap at the time he originally signed with the Golden Knights. On May 4th, his contract was announced and he was introduced as a Golden Knight. On May 6th, the contract was voided by the NHL and had to be re-submitted. Reports as to why were that the contract included a “no move” or “no trade” clause that Shipachyov was not eligible for. In other words, Shipachyov and his agent were focused on one thing, making sure Vadim played in the NHL. When he was sent to the AHL, and told he had to report, he less than pleased.

Let’s say I did not know for sure that if you come in the first year, you can send him to the AHL for an indefinite period. Do you know how they explained to me? Like, go to the AHL, where you will earn even more than in the NHL since the contract is one-sided, and the escrow does not need to be paid. I did not understand this because I did not go to the NHL for money. I’m not interested in playing in the AHL. -Shipachyov

It is correct, playing in the AHL on a contract like Shipachyov’s would indeed have earned him more money, but that’s not what he wanted. He wanted to play in the NHL.

When I played three matches, I thought that in the future it will be better. I was ready to be on the ice for ten minutes, in the third or fourth lines. I did not see anything terrible in this. I understood very well that I still needed to get used to the NHL, to adapt. Still, I’ve never played in such a league. And if I were given this time, then I would be used to it. It is clear that in North America the game is played with more power and less space. But I felt I was progressing. -Shipachyov

Gallant and/or McPhee disagreed. However, Shipachyov doesn’t believe he was ever told the truth.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #116: Haula, Center Or Not

It’s finally come time to discuss what the Golden Knights depth chart might look like in 2018-19. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Cody Eakin or Erik Haula as the final center?
  • Tomas Nosek: The Wildcard
  • How the Golden Knights forwards could possibly lineup
  • What’s the plan if it’s not Erik Karlsson?
  • Jobs before journalism

And much more…

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

itunes                 stitcher-icon-100x100                 

William Hill Releases Golden Knights Season Point Total Prop

T-Mobile Arena is going to feel a bit different for opening night puck drop this year. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A year ago the Golden Knights were slated to be the worst team in the NHL. Sportsbooks all over town listed them as high as 500:1 to win the Cup before the season and William Hill had the season point total in 2017-18 set at a measly 69 points.

Then the Golden Knights went out and racked up 109 regular season points, won the Pacific Division, and won 13 playoff games en route to a Western Conference Championship.

Needless to say, expectations have changed a bit heading into 2018-19. Recently, William Hill listed the season point total prop for the Golden Knights at a whopping 94.5 points. Plus, they’ve listed a few other betting options.

Flyers @ Golden Knights – October 4th
Flyers +155
Golden Knights -175

Flyers +1.5 (puckline) -200
Golden Knights -1.5 (puckline) +175

Over 6 goals +100
Under 6 goals -130

Golden Knights to win Western Conference
Yes +400
No -500

Golden Knights to win Stanley Cup
Yes +850
No -1450

And they say hockey is in the offseason. Not at the betting window, and never at SinBin.vegas.

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