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32nd In Penalties Drawn, DeBoer Explains Why And What Must Change To Improve It

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the Golden Knights the biggest cause for consternation this season has been their inability to score on the power play. However, there’s something directly related to scoring power play goals that the Golden Knights are actually worse at; that’s drawing them.

Vegas currently sits in dead last in the NHL with just 60 penalties drawn in 21 games. That comes out to an average of 2.84 penalties drawn per game. Every other team draws at least three per game.

We’ve got to draw some more penalties, that’s been an issue here for a long time. For the amount of time we have the puck when we are playing well we should draw more and that’s on us to attack those holes a little harder. -Pete DeBoer

Since 2017-18 when the Golden Knights came into the league, only five teams have drawn fewer penalties. VGK have sat in the bottom 10 in the league three of their four completed seasons, and have never drawn more than 3.6 in a season.

As a group I just think using our speed and our size to put teams in uncomfortable situations more. That’s a mindset we’ve got to get better at. -DeBoer

The good news for the Golden Knights is that they aren’t a highly penalized team themselves. Despite being near the bottom of the league in drawing penalties, only once have they finished the season taking more penalties than drawing them, and it wasn’t that far off at -18.

This season though is heading for their worst yet. VGK have taken 73 penalties while just drawing 60. That puts them on pace to finish the season around -50 in net penalties. The last time the NHL played a full 82-game season, in 2018-19, the Anaheim Ducks were the only team that eclipsed 50 in that category. In fact, since 2012-13, only three teams have finished above 50, the Ducks twice and Columbus in 2014-15.

DeBoer believes it’s fixable though, and in a couple times discussing the topic he did not mention refereeing a single time. He puts the blame on his players, not the guys with the whistles.

We have multiple opportunities a game where we have defensemen flatfooted or there’s a hole that we can attack and this group is getting a little better at it but we have to attack those situations more and put teams in bad spots with our speed. We tend to look at the hole and then look for a play instead of racing through it. -DeBoer

Of course, health has been an issue for the Golden Knights this season, which is a major contributor to any negative stats against Vegas. Playing without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Shea Theodore for extended periods of time will obviously have an effect on penalty generation. As the team starts to get people back, DeBoer is hopeful things will pick back up.

We haven’t had the puck much this year because of our health. As we have the puck more and those guys who score and attack those areas come back into the lineup, I’m sure we’re going to draw more. Even then, I think we need to find another level than we have here in that area. -DeBoer


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  1. LVsc

    “We tend to look at the hole and then look for a play instead of racing through it.” -DeBoer

    He is being way too soft in that statement.
    What he really means, but cannot say publicly, is that he has a team full of PERIMETER PLAYERS….players who don’t have the grit, aggressive drive and desire to attack the net, instead they turn back at the side boards, and then turn over the puck for a break in the other direction when they try to FORCE a cross ice fancy pass.

    They not only don’t draw penalties, but they also give breakaways and odd man rushes to the opponent when they do this.

    • THE hockey GOD

      next time use the whole quote, quit cherry picking, if you look at whole quote you come up with something completely different

      try again, your post did not hit the mark.

      • Daryl

        But he is 100% correct on assessment. We have basically nobody to go inside and play physical. We try to use our speed but are easily bumped off the puck. They don’t play physical enough to draw penalties

  2. Tim

    Interesting comment I heard today about the Knights and that was ordinary. I thought about it and I’ve been looking for the right word to describe my feelings on the Knights and there it was ordinary. I couldn’t explain my lack of enthusiasm and it was starring me right in the face ordinary. At least I’m not the only one that has clarified the feeling of people outside of Vegas that we are ordinary not a special team anymore. I think a lot of Vegas fans are getting the same vibes were ok but ok doesn’t win championships.

    • duuuuhdurrr

      You do realize they traded for extraordinary and he cant play cause he’s healing. it’s like they knew that the oilers would eventually be a problem.

    • THE hockey GOD

      “magical”??!?!? roflmao

      vgk was never special

      or extraordinary.

  3. dumb

    You do realize they traded for extraordinary and he cant play cause he’s healing. it’s like they knew that the oilers would eventually be a problem.

  4. Not sure why they are concerned about drawing penalties – seems like a non-issue since they have a s— power play – no PP actually at all.

    • Daryl

      Exactly… Who cares if you can’t draw penalties if you can’t score when you do… I know, I know, they haven’t gotten enough practice yet. It’s only been 2 years that just isn’t enough time

  5. Vic

    Easy one….Missing the speed with the injuries, the lineup has been full of AHL players, prior hitting and grit missing since some players have moved on and finally less crashing the net like Tuch and Carrier used to do for example. However, with some key pieces returning lately, maybe the refs can open their eyes a bit more.

    • Daryl

      I think they officiating has been very fair and even. And you can’t blame it on the speed when vhk had the same issues last year with a fully healthy team. Other teams around the league are also missing key players and they arent having the same issues

      • THE hockey GOD

        reffing is not issue, I agree. Maybe in one game it was questionable. But for most part fair, due to fact that they have Toronto to back them up in tough to see situations.

  6. Gdarrel

    It’s like a bowler who keeps missing the strike zone , been bowling 20 years and still cannot manage to get a 200 score, he should quit bowling, if you score one goal in ten games you shouldn’t be playing hockey , try horseshoes or something

  7. Vic

    Not saying it’s the refs, just saying as key pieces return, they may be blowing the whistles more as the VGK plays up to potential. Maybe professor Ken can come up with a list of players who used to draw the most penalties? Are they still with the team, or are they gone?

    • THE hockey GOD

      i think the bigger issue is players taking dumb penalties, especially in the ozone.

  8. phantom major

    they MUST win these 2 games vs Anaheim and Arizona to stay afloat in the standings.

    The other Pacific Div teams are doing better than expected, and the Western Conf teams are winning over Eastern teams

    Calgary is playing Daryl Sutter defensive hockey, and have given up only 43 goals, compared to 64 given up by Vgk…..and they have gotten 5 pts for losing games in OT, and that is why they are 7 points ahead of Vgk.

    Vgk MUST drastically tighten up the defensive system and emphasis or they are going to be in a bad spot when the Olympics end.

  9. Tim

    The PP just going back to the Montreal series until now has to be the worse in the NHL. Tonight we play the Ducks and if John Gibson is on his game we’ll be in trouble again another 40 shot performance and maybe two goals. Hopefully Lehner doesn’t give up 3 goals or more because we’ll go down like the Titanic.

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