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4th Liners Failing Despite Benefit Of Unbelievable Offensive Opportunities

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19 games into the 2021 season, William Carrier and Ryan Reaves have combined for a total of two points while being on the ice for 372 minutes.

The two have a combined -7 rating, have cost the Golden Knights 0.7 points in the standings according to Hockey-Reference.com’s point shares stat, and each post an expected goals share of less than 43% (the team number is over 52%).

To put it politely, they haven’t been good offensively to start the season. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but this should. No player on the Golden Knights has started a higher percentage of shifts in the offensive zone than Ryan Reaves. Reaves has started a massive 57.6% of his shifts in a positive position while his linemate, Carrier, isn’t far behind at 55.3%, good for 4th on the team for forwards.

So, Reaves and Carrier start closer to the opposing goal more often than anyone on the team, yet have failed to score a single goal, have been on the ice for just four goals (three for Carrier), and have allowed seven. They are below 50% shares in every advanced metric including Corsi, Fenwick, shots, expected goals, scoring chances, and high danger chances. In other words, they give up more than they create, by every measurable, despite starting in more advantageous positions than anyone else on the team.

But wait, there’s more! It gets worse… WAY worse, when we look at the seven most important games of the season.

Vegas has played St. Louis, Colorado, and Minnesota a combined seven times in the first 19 games. In those games, Carrier and Reaves have combined to go scoreless and pointless, while registering a -5 rating and allowing three goals while being on the ice for zero goals for. Again, not good.

In those games, the pair started an absurd 81% (Reaves) and 84% (Carrier) of their shifts in the offensive zone. The Golden Knights took 91 defensive zone draws in those seven games, Reaves and/or Carrier were on the ice for six of them. That means one of those two was on the ice for just 7% of defensive draws while they accounted for more than 20% of Vegas’ offensive draws.

I went back and looked for every draw analyze the situation on each of those six draws. On three of them, Reaves was forced to remain on the ice due to an icing call, Carrier joined in one of those three. Another, Carrier was sent out in a 4-on-4 situation with 39 seconds left in the 3rd period of a game Vegas led 3-0. Another, Reaves and Carrier had just hopped on the ice, were out there for eight seconds and there was a stoppage, they stayed on for the subsequent draw. That leaves one draw where Pete DeBoer purposely put Reaves and Carrier on the ice in the defensive zone. One out of 91.

Yet, despite starting more than 90% of their shifts in the offensive or neutral zone, Reaves and Carrier managed to attempt a combined nine shots on goal in more than 60 minutes of ice time a piece and they still put up below 50% numbers in every advanced measure as well.

This to me is asinine.

Pete DeBoer is purposely using his worst offensive players in the most advantageous situations.

Why?

Normally, you’d want to place your best offensive players in these situations in order to give them the most opportunity to score. However, DeBoer is doing the opposite and there’s really only one explanation that makes any sense.

He does not trust Reaves and Carrier can get out of their own zone if they start there.

Just once, in seven important games, did DeBoer purposely place Reaves and Carrier on the ice to take a defensive zone draw. Yet they still managed to allow 20 high-danger chances, 32 scoring chances, and three goals while out there in those games.

It’s clear DeBoer believes they aren’t capable of starting in their own zone so he protects them with massive numbers of offensive and neutral zone starts, and they still can’t outplay the opposition. They are either the worst, or in the bottom five, on the team in every category while being afforded the most positive situations and playing against the weakest competition.

A change is needed. Either in deployment or in personnel.

600 games of Reaves and 200 games of Carrier should be enough to prove they aren’t ever going to be legitimate scoring threats in the NHL. So, if they can’t be leaned on to keep the puck out of their own net, they shouldn’t be in the lineup at all.

If the plan is to give 80% offensive zone starts to fourth liners, it’s time to find some who can score.

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64 Comments

  1. George T

    I agree, it’s time for these two to go. Go away. Their hitting skills have morphed into liabilities and their positioning hurts our team.

    How much third period ice time did these two players get during the comeback win over the Wild?

    There is your answer.

  2. Rob

    Would enjoy a second part for this story that would focus on outlining possible 4th line solutions.

  3. THE hockey GOD

    this 4th line is a “checking line”

    SEND IN THE
    7th nation army

    • Then why are they getting 80%+ offensive zone starts?

      • THE hockey GOD

        what lines have they matched up against on the other team ‘s first/second/third or fourth lines when placed on ice in the o zone?

        • Pretty much always against the other teams 3rd or 4th.

          • THE hockey GOD

            I hear ya…

            The fourth line’s use in o zone appears to a form of crazy strategy.

            It’s called pre-emptive preventive offense, or PEPO

            (like Pepto, the Mel Brook’s character in Life Stinks movie where he agrees to live in Skid Row- which is an actual designated “community” on LA map- for 30 days, and sleeps on cardboard box supply containing Pepto Bismol which gets ingrained on his forehead leading to fellow street bums calling him Pepto. Only applied here the only applicable part is that 4th line stinks in O zone and the only thing on their heads is that shiny, blinding gold bauble on their heads and no Pepto “tatoo” on their foreheads )

            by keeping the other team’s O line off the ice. Because the other team doesn’t want to send their best players out there to get smashed into boards by RR or no. 28.

            Doesn’t help the that 4th line has lacked consistency due to fact that large amount of playing time has been hampered by loss of Nosek.

            I know, why bother even responding……

  4. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Sharks tonight! Kick some ass Revo!!!!!!

    • Snoop Dogg

      Have you heard from them, DOC?

    • DOC (Go Knights Go)

      And HE DID !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Daryl

        Did he really though???? Yeah he finally got into a fight with a nobody (1st NHL fight since 2018 season) and he barely won, and I mean barely. He finally got an assist but was also on the ice when a goal was scored against. Reavo is useless!!!

  5. The narrative last year was this line “set the tone” and were so physical that the next shift following would have great success scoring goals or at least scoring chances.

    Has that changed?

    • Yeah. They are now being used like they are elite offensive line and they are one of the worst offensive lines in the entire league.

  6. Skeeter Thompson

    Rob- Ken literally wrote a huge ass article like 2 weeks ago focused on reasonably priced (and available) trade targets.

    https://sinbin.vegas/looking-forward-to-trade-deadline-targets/

    • In addition to that, I think the best thing they can do is craft a 4th line out of defense-first options. I’d love to see Glass center a 4th line with Roy and Kolesar. Rather than giving the 4th line 80% offensive zone starts, they should be getting 80% defensive zone starts and give more OZS to Stone, Tuch, Karlsson, Marchessault, etc. (You know, the guys who score.)

      • Chase

        With that type of 4th line, who would you have to fill the third line?

        • At the moment, it would have to be guys like Dylan Sikura and/or Danny O’Regan from the AHL right now, but in a perfect world they’d go out and get some players that can help.

  7. Cindy Harrison

    WOW! Great article and insights Ken! I’ve seen Revo shine in the past and love his physicality Hopefully someone points this out and it motivates him! I’ll be paying closer attention tonight against the rival Sharks. Should be a physical game!

  8. DBsurvived

    That is an amazing article. What an eye opener. Makes sense now that when Roy and Kolesar center the 4th line they just don’t seem to do anything. I like watching Kolesar skate with Tuch, they seem to be building some chemistry but I agree that Roy Glass Kolesar would be a good 4th line.

  9. THE hockey GOD

    the play of #14 this season has been understated BIGLY !!!!!

    the best play of all rookies so far

    – just sayin’

  10. Vic

    I agree the 4th line has turned into a liability, and the eyes are much better than Corsi or Fenwick. They can’t seem to make more than one pass to each other, and they seem to lose the puck every time they touch it. Ken, if they move Glass, Roy and Kolesar to line 4, then what does line 3 look like? Tuch and ? and ?. Some of the Henderson boys? I rather see Glass, Tuch and Kolesar on line 3, with Roy, Nosek and someone else on line 4. Glass slowly gaining confidence and it’s do or die for him. His passes would be wasted on line 4, and TOI wouldn’t help.

  11. Joe

    It looks to me that Revo is injured, he just doesn’t seem the same and I don’t think its due to natural decline. i believe he has an injury, once he recovers I think his ability to control through his physical play will help out the +/- rating that i agree is poor at the moment. I still like the concept of our fourth line be able to physically dominate in the absence of scoring, but agree that since that is not currently the case, the line should be reformed until Revo is healthy. i don’t know for sure that he has something going on health wise, but it does seem that he is less physical than normal.

  12. I think Reaves is finished. He is slower than he has ever been, seems lost at times, and can’t very often even deliver a body check because he can’t get there in time. His only value seems to be when we play the Sharks and quite frankly he hasn’t been that physical to make a difference here either. I still like Carrier because of his grit and speed. However, if he gets someone new to play with on his line and continues to put up zeros, this will probably be his last stint here to.

    On a positive note, I think Dylan Coghlan looks better very game. He doesn’t panic with the puck, makes good decisions coming out of our zone, and isn’t afraid to join the play in the offensive zone. Our team has been blessed with good young defensemen.

  13. Mike StG

    Ken, Would be nice if they could get Haula back and put him at LW3 with Glass & Tuch. Nosek is useful at 4C but you are right that Carrier and Reaves are ineffective on wing, at least against teams like COL & MIN. It makes sense to play Reaves against heavy teams like STL, but the 4th line just gets run over by faster teams. Played with the current 3rd pair D it’s a recipe for disaster. That combination was horrendous in both MIN games. Maybe put Kolesar & Roy with Nosek on L4? Still a checking line but wingers would at least be a threat to score. BTW – The 4th Period links Haula with Vegas as a potential landing spot.

  14. Daryl

    Something you and I and others have been saying for awhile now. They wasted money on his raise and new contract and are now stuck with him, similar to Holden. So many on here had some not so nice words for use when we talked bad about Reaves. Well, they are eating their own words now.

    And if what you are saying is correct, uts a double edged sword. Not only are we having to use them in offensive zones, we are sacfrafixing scoring chances with our scoring line since they aren’t able to start in the offensive zone

  15. sb

    It’s always been the case, calling them role players/good locker room guys/fan favorites. Names which are strictly an excuse for zero production players. Steve Yzerman once said that “we all can’t be role players. Someone’s gotta score.” Carrier and Reaves have gotten this free ride for too long. Throw in Nosek and Vegas has $4.4 million producing zero points. And it only took a full season and 20 games for many to see what was obvious. If anyone will take them (and that answer is no), move out this waste of $4.4 mill and replace them with Roy, Brown, Jurco/Kolesar for $2.1 mil. Then Vegas will have that $2.3 mil to bring in Haula for Tuch and Glass.

  16. Henderson has some skill. I’ve watched most of their games this year and have been impressed with some players – Jack Dugan comes to mind as he has similarities to Cody Glass. He is a gifted passer, has excellent vision, holds on to the pick for an extra moment to make a smart play. He is a winger and could make some things happen. Quinney looks good as well, Ryan Murphy, etc. Several options there, as well as Krebs of course who is at his minor league team atm.

    And for all the talk about potential backup goalies most folks just talk about Dansk. All you VGK fans should feel good you have another good prospect – Logan Thompson. He has looked excellent and has surpassed Dansk as the #1 goalie for HSK. He is a big body, efficient in his movements and fundamentally sound imo. I’m no expert, but there is warranted hope in some of our youngsters coming up. It would be great to see how Thompson could do on VGK in giving Maf a well deserved rest. We already know to a larger extent what we have in Dansk.

    Go Knights!

  17. A Fan

    Reaves has definitely not looked the same this year, but Carrier is worth every penny of his avg $1.4M/yr. While he is no scorer, he gets ahold of pucks and takes them to the net with his speed. He just needs someone there who he can get the puck to who can score. He draws many penalties, and hits hard and often. If you don’t think that has an effect on players, just ask some players. Every player value isn’t always in a stat. Ken is so into stats that he came up with a stat for the exact minute/second a goal is scored…he must have been really bored that day. Carrier needs some new bodies around him and he’ll be just fine.

  18. Congratulation Ken l hope this article opens the eyes of the Revo supporters who are simply blinded by whatever. Not sure Carrier isn’t better than what’s happened maybe being on the ice with Revo is the problem he us as strong as Revo and twice the skater with speed.

  19. FG

    Ken, you are right on. Another aspect is who they can pair with defensively. Put them with the third pair and they are a train wreck in their own zone and hold your breath. I was at the Minnesota game Wednesday and after a few shifts of that, it seemed they were primarily with Pietro and Shea. So are best defensive pair has to shelter the fourth line? That makes no sense.

    But let’s look at objective data. Let’s use Dom Luszczyszyn’s (theathletic.com) Game Score Value Added (GSVA).

    Cody Glass 0.19
    Nicolas Roy -0.06
    Keegan Kolesar -0.18
    William Carrier -0.39
    Tomas Nosek -0.41
    Ryan Reaves -0.61 (eighth worst forward in the league)
    In fact, the three current starters on the fourth line are ranked in the bottom 32 of the entire NHL.

    The team’s worst player is Dylan Coghlan at -0.81 (fifth worst defenseman in the league).

    VGK supposedly has a crackerjack analytics department. It is easy to see where the team can improve.

  20. Jake

    Gosh, I hope the opposition doesn’t read this article!

  21. Tim

    I’d like to give a shout out to Nick Holden. My daughter is a reading specialist at a certain grade school in town and asked Nick Holden if he would zoom the class and read them a story. He agreed and yesterday he too the time to read a children’s book to the school. The children book was about the Golden Knights and it was a huge success. My daughter e-mailed me the zoom and he was the nicest sweetest guy and all the teachers and kids just loved him.

    • Amy

      He’s such a great person on and off the ice! And he pointed to my daughter and her friend at warmups and flipped pucks over the glass for each of them (before covid of course). He has two loyal fans for life! Always a smile for everyone.

  22. Tim

    Just listened to Pete DeBoer pregame and it looks like McNabb and Lehner are both close to coming back thats good news.

    • Daryl

      Good news for who? MAF has been stellar and all we need is more controversy bringing Lehner back. And the young defense have been playing really well together, no need to bring back McNabb to turn the puck over and to give the other team multiple PP a game

  23. If someone thought Reaves “kicked some ass” last night, then basically getting a draw with a no-name player (and a draw in his last few fights) is setting the ass-kicking bar real low. Go back and look at film of Bob Probert or Joey Kocur and alike. They kicked ass! Reaves smiles a lot because he makes a lot of money for playing below average hockey. I really liked when we got him and he gave the team a lift, but no more.

  24. Miri

    Not withstanding Ken’s presentation, I’m not as inclined to be as hard on the fourth line is Ken is in this article. We’ll see how things play out as the season continues. I also try to keep in mind the description of the fourth line as the ones “that keep the flies off the honey,” referring to the fact that some of the Knights stars are less likely to be on the receiving end of ultra-bruising treatment, when teams know that the Knights are capable of returning the bruisings.

    In the meantime, would appreciate if Ken could follow up at some point with an analysis of how Reeves and Carrier have performed, both offensively and defensively, with the different centers they have played with.

    • Daryl

      That is what the 4th line USED to be for… and I’m all for bringing it back as cheap shots have increased with lack of enforcement. And no those aren’t my words, they are words from some of the top play makers in the NHL. Almost every NHL superstar has said the like having an enforcer type player on their team and that they do make a difference.

      BUT, this 4th line doesn’t even do that. Carrier goes all out with his hits and I love it, but Reaves can’t even get solid hits on anyone anymore. He almost lost h is last fight and the one before that I gave a draw. Plus, several players have taken cheap shots from other teams with no retaliation (Stone). If this 4th line is going to send a message, they need to go out and send it. Right now, they are just wasting hockey space.

  25. Contact Tracer

    Useless Reaves just plain sucks and the sooner he goes the better. A mouth, a self promoter, a proven anti-American kneeler. IMO he is dragging Carrier down with his shitty play. I feel sorry for ol’ Wilbur.

    Bring Gallant back and dump the proven anti-American kneeler Lehner too … then you have a team to love.

    • VGK

      Nothing is wrong with DeBoer, so why would they get rid of him. Get over it already. Many fans love the Golden Knights regardless of Lehner kneeling. Get over that too

      • Daryl

        And the kneeling by Lehner and Reaves also turned a lot of people off…. who are you to tell someone else to get over anything. It was a BS moved based off lies, but hey, those moves got Reaves a raise and contract extension that continue to cost VGK every game!!!

        • VGK

          There was no mention of Reaves at all in the first comment. He had a problem with Lehner for expressing himself. IDK what lies you are talking about.

          • Daryl

            I have a problem with either taking a knee at a sporting event while on the clock. Contrary to what most think, they do not have a legal right to do what they want, they are not protected by any Amendments. As for the lies, that goes to the numbers they use to push their agenda on everyone else.

            This is something that I will never just get over.

        • Contact Tracer

          Spot on Daryl!

  26. VGK

    Nothing is wrong with Deboer. Get over it already. Many people already love the Golden Knights regardless of Lehner kneeling or not.

    • Contact Tracer

      How dare you tell what I need to do or think VGK. It’s called opinion, grow a pair and deal with it.

      DeClown is a proven loser, over and over again. Lehner is a joke …. confusingly over-rated. Reaves is just pathetic, period.

      For two foreign players to kneel on foreign soil during the USA national anthem is truly disgusting. For me an unforgivable act and I could care less what anyone thinks about that.

      The sooner these guys are gone the better, IMO.

      I love Will Carrier though. He doesn’t deserve to be paired with Reaves.

      • VGK

        Oh yeah Deboer, 44-15-5 since taking over the coaching job in Vegas seems like a loser to me… He could be undefeated and you’d still think he sucks.

        Lehner is definitely not over rated… GAA 1.99, Save % .917, 4 SO in the the playoff last year. You probably blame him for our scoring drought too, but now you are just hating on him cause he knees.
        It’s funny you say “ It’s called opinion, grow a pair and deal with it,” yet when these two express their opinions you’re hating big time. So why don’t you just grow a pair and deal with it.

        • Daryl

          I do put a lot of blame on Lehner for the loss last year. It’s not about his stats it’s about the extremely soft goals he let him. VGK played two bad teams to start off last year which really helped his stats in the playoffs. Low scoring for VGK was definately a huge reason for losing also but those soft goals were just unacceptable.

          As for the kneeling, how is it ok for someone from another country to kneel for the the NA? How is that okay for any American? Then players choose to stand for the Canadian NA. Seriously? I don’t care either of their skewed opinions, but politics should stay out of sports. The players get paid, some over paid, to play the game and that is what they should concentrate on doing. If they want to post on social media their thoughts then go right ahead, but once you are on the ice it should all be about hockey

        • Daryl

          What is PDB record against winning teams? It’s easy to have a great record when most of your games are at home and against ANA, ARI, SJS, and LAK

  27. VGK

    Oh yeah Deboer, 44-15-5 since taking over the coaching job in Vegas seems like a loser to me… He could be undefeated and you’d still think he sucks.

    Lehner is definitely not over rated… GAA 1.99, Save % .917, 4 SO in the the playoff last year. You probably blame him for our scoring drought too, but now you are just hating on him cause he knees.
    It’s funny you say “ It’s called opinion, grow a pair and deal with it,” yet when these two express their opinions you’re hating big time. So why don’t you just grow a pair and deal with it.

    • Contact Tracer

      How old are you? By your tude I’d bet sub-30. If you’re older oh brother 😉

      You seem the type that tells other people how to spend their money. Ignoramus.

      Deboer has had alot of talent before and never got er done pard.

      As I said get rid of three lumps of crap and you have a great hockey club.

      And uh vgk, pard …. grow a pair or least them them fall down and hang…..

      • Mike K.

        The same can be said about Gallant. He had a great team in front of him, but could not get it done multiple time. Yet you still want to bring him back. Such a joke and a hypocrite.

        • Daryl

          Exactly how did Gallant have a great team in front of him…. He had a team made up mostly of 2nd,3rd and 4th liners. He had a team that was predicted to finish dead last. Nobody thought Gallant could do what he did with the players he had. Curious how much hockey knowledge you really have??? Talk about being a joke!

          • Mike K

            Maybe year 1. Year 2 they improved their roster. Year 3 even more so. Yet he under performed which is what led to his termination. Deboer was working with the same team as Galant did in year 3 and they performed much better.

        • Daryl

          Yes VGK had improved roster but they weren’t a great team. And look at year 3, MAF was WAY overused but the biggest issue was his performance after his father passed away. MAF started playing a lot better tge 2 weeks leading up to Gallant firing. I believe they won 6 in a row before losing several games which led to his firing. And what exactly did PDB do with that great team? VGK had 2 very good goalies at that point so neither was going over worked. He played 2 bad playoff teams then lost to another bad playoff team. PDB made no adjustments the entire playoffs which lead to them losing. PDB continued to ay Lehner even though he wasn’t looking good

          This year VGK has a losing record against teams with a winning record. VGK plays in the weakest Division and a majority of their games thus far have been against the 3 lowest teams in the division and most of them have been at home.

          PDB has had some really really good teams in the past and has always choked. He will do it again here

          • Mike K.

            Gallant made no adjustment year 2 playoffs. That is why the sharks came back and won when we were up 3-1 in the series. Btw, goaltending wasn’t the problem last year. Goalies shouldn’t have to shut out every game. Also this year versus winning teams VGK is 9-5-1.

        • Daryl

          VGK lost last year because PDB didn’t make any adjustments the entire playoffs. And I said lack or scoring was an issue so we’re the very easy saves that Lehner let in game after game. He was just as responsible for those losses as the players who could t score for VGK.

          I’ll have to look up where you got VGK record against winning teams b/c that’s not the record I came up with. Maybe you can list those teams for me.

          As for Lehner this year he is MIA and wasting valuable cap space. It’s a good thing management wasn’t able to rid itself of MAF

        • Daryl

          Mike,
          I went back thru the schedule, VGK is 4-5 against trams with a winning record. A loss In OT is still a loss so a team like LAK who 11-8-6 still has a losing record of 11-14.

          VGK was also lucky to play a COL team who was without 5 starters and hadn’t played in 2 weeks

  28. Daryl I totally agree with you on th playoffs last year. Lehner let in seemingly a soft goal every game to get warmed up, just like he’s done this year. When each game is decided by one goal, those softies were the difference. We all know MAF doesn’t give up many soft ones. If you are gonna beat Fleury it’s gonna be earned with a great play and great shot 95% of the time. I think we would have played for the cup of we played the right goalie and not giving up the softies. Would we have beat tampa bay in the final? Who knows but the knights deserved a chance to see…

    • Daryl

      Agreed… I’m not claiming VGK wins the Cup with MAF, but I do believe we get at least on series closer

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