It’s finally here… tomorrow.
The preseason is over and the Golden Knights are ready to embark on their fifth NHL season. Expectations are understandably very high both from a team perspective and for a multitude of individuals.
Here are 10 predictions for the upcoming season. We’ll start with the milder five.
The Golden Knights will be the only Pacific Division team to reach 100 points
There are a few other teams in the division who I expect to be a little bit better, but the full 82-game schedule will really show the weakness of the Pacific. The division will struggle mightily against the Eastern Conference and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see both Western Conference wild cards come from the Central.
Max Pacioretty will lead the team in goals for a third straight year
While I expect a number of Golden Knights to take a step forward in some of their goal-scoring numbers, the 35-40 you can basically slot Pacioretty in for is just too many to expect any other Golden Knight to reach. Maybe Jonathan Marchessault or Evgenii Dadonov can hit 30, or maybe this is an up year for pending UFA Reilly Smith, or maybe even we see the return of William Karlsson’s goal-scoring prowess. But, no matter which one happens, I still can’t see them getting past Pacioretty.
Three Golden Knights will represent Vegas as the city hosts the All Star Game
It’s tough to get three All Stars on the same team, because it basically means only one other team in the division can have multiple players from the same roster. But, the host city has had at least three players each of the last five seasons, and the Golden Knights have enough star power to keep that streak alive.
The Golden Knights will make a trade on March 21st, 2022
This is the mildest of all of the mild predictions as the Golden Knights have yet to sit out a Trade Deadline and their President of Hockey Operations only stood pat twice in 17 seasons in Washington. The Golden Knights will almost certainly be in a position to make another postseason run and they’ll be looking to add even more scoring to a roster that has gone cold in back-to-back playoffs. I wouldn’t expect it to be any sort of blockbuster, but something will happen, it always does.
The Seattle Kraken will not reach 109 points, they will not win the division, and they will not reach the Stanley Cup Final
Personally, I don’t get the jealousy many VGK fans (and employees) have over the NHL’s newest team. While this prediction will come true, even if it doesn’t, nothing the Kraken can or will do will change the way you think about 2017-18.
Ok, now on to the bold predictions. If I hit even one of these five I’m taking myself out for Steak El Chico at Chef Marc’s Trattoria.
Alex Pietrangelo will finish as a Norris finalist but will not win the award
It took some time for Pietrangelo to truly settle in with the Golden Knights, but since his Game 1 turnover against the Wild, he’s been the best player on the Vegas roster (and it hasn’t even been close). As the postseason went on we saw more and more of the impact he can have offensively and training camp and preseason seem to have taken that to another level. His activity in the offensive zone has been game-changing for the VGK attack and it will turn into loads of points that will catch voters’ attention.
Evgenii Dadonov will fail to reach 15 goals on the season
The Golden Knights are paying a hefty price to hand the keys to the 3rd line to Dadonov and I’m afraid it’s going to backfire. The VGK 3rd line has always been a collection of spare parts and I expect that to continue this season. When the top-six needs a replacement, they pull from the 3rd line. When a player on the 3rd line isn’t performing, he goes to the 4th line or is scratched. There just never seems to be any continuity for those who play on the 3rd line and it will affect Dadonov’s consistency. I’m not even sure if it’ll be his fault, but it’s not going to look good for him or the front office if this does indeed come true.
Robin Lehner will lead the NHL in Goals Against Average and Shutouts
There’s been a lot of discussion about the goaltender position in Vegas for the past few years and it’ll stop this year. Lehner has been handed the job as the starter for the first time in a long time in his career and he’s going to run with it. No, he’ll never make people forget about Marc-Andre Fleury, but he’s going to dominate in the Golden Knights net because he’s a great goalie and the VGK system is set up to make great goalies succeed. I stopped short of saying he’ll win the Vezina, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least (in fact, I’d highly recommend placing a bet on it at your nearest William Hill Sportsbook, the odds are way too high).
The Golden Knights will win 10 straight games for the second consecutive season
Heading into the 2020-21 season the longest win streak in team history was eight, but then thanks to a Pacific-only schedule Vegas rattled off 10 straight last year. That streak seems a little hollow to me because of the competition and the back-to-back games against the same opponent, but they’ll cement the 10 game number this season by doing it again, this time beating more than five different opponents along the way. Let’s just go for it… It’ll happen from March 3rd to March 19th.
The power play will finish top-10 in the NHL in the regular season and fail to convert at 15% in the playoffs
The power play is going to be a topic of conversation to start the regular season and it’ll inevitably return when the Golden Knights make their fifth playoff run. It’s obvious that it can’t be worse than last year, but with the additions of Patrick, Dadonov, and eventually Krebs, plus Pietrangelo settling in, I have no doubt it’ll get better. Where my concern lies though is what it will look like when a team is given multiple games to key in on it. It doesn’t appear like the Golden Knights are planning on throwing in any wrinkles to how it operates. It’ll be the same entry patterns, same set-up, and same focal points on where the puck needs to go to score goals. During the regular season, the talent will win out and they’ll hit at a much higher rate than Golden Knights fans are used to, but once the playoffs roll around, it’s going to be a headache again.
Ok, now it’s time for you to share yours. Give me your best mild and best bold predictions in the comments below.
I’m still in the camp saying the Power play is not effectively utilizing Dadonov. Dadonov should be on the second power play in the center for one timers from the sides or the net. He’s on the pp with patches and they literally aren’t using Dadonov at all, basically making it 4 on 4 with an extra man instead of 5 on 4.
THE hockey GOD
The use of power play way back drop pass to enter the zone is useless and counter productive in my opinion. Why do I say that ? Because it takes one player completely out of the play, making it essentially a four and four situation. You have one player with puck coming up ice, then somewhere in between the two blue line, the player turns, and sometimes completely stops and turns around, passing backward. This player is now useless.
I prefer a soccer like play in which players weave and turn with the puck, still keeping their momentum. Then spring a player, or two into the offensive zone. With all five players enter the zone with speed.
I see Boris Badanov taking some time to come up to speed with the team. You have two possibilities. Either you catch lightning in bottle and then it fizzes out. Which has happened to almost half of the Vegas new comers. Or they take awhile to adjust, like 67 and 7. But what do I know ? Every player is different.
I agree, I hate the set up and utilization of players. We have good enough puck handlers not to need a drop pass, it is so predictable for the other teams PK. PP needs to go from 1-3-1/Umbrella to Overload and just keep puck control with players with good shots in the slot. Our PP is embarrassing, more chances for the PK than our Power Play.
THE hockey GOD
“Ok, now on to the bold predictions. If I hit even one of these five I’m taking myself out for Steak El Chico at Chef Marc’s Trattoria”
I think ‘the’ Groucho got a hold of menu because El Chico is now listed by Pork Chop, unless this is one of those secret side menu dishes ? Why not go right down the block to the Golden Steer and get a real steak ? Ambience is nice.
THE hockey GOD
I predict Miramonov , or however you spell his name, will be on the Golden Knight’s roster sometime during the regular season and play more than ten games during the regular season.
As a bonus, he will play during the playoffs.
I predict Coghlin will not have a very good year. But I am hoping he has a break through season.
And Doc just wet his pants upon reading this article, and now needs to have his depends changed.
We finally agree on something.
Miromanov! Which I think is the correct spelling.
I like him a helluva lot more than I do Pietro and his big ass contract.
A new all-time idiotic comment by Mister Serial Poster! Prefers Miromanov who has never played an NHL game to Pietrangelo who is one of the best all around defensemen in the NHL, captained a team to a Stanley Cup, and was clearly VGK’s best player in last year’s playoffs. By all means, let’s get rid of Pietrangelo, call up Miromanov, use the extra cap money to bring back Original Golden Knights only, and celebrate as we sink to the bottom of the standings! What would it take to move you to another city where you could actually root for a team instead of posting negative and baffling VGK takes 25 times per day every day?
I said I like him a helluva lot more than Petro, that’s right – I said it. Petro has a massive contract and with the exception of a game or two late in the playoffs has not earned it. Overpaid and has definitely not been worth the investment.
I stand by my comment. This team is getting older, more expensive and worse, not better.
Hell, VGK FO and these players can shut me up when they take this team to another Cup Final. Until then, we all have a right to express.
There are some positives, but they are all individual based, not team oriented, and the responsibility and accountability for that lies with the Coach.
If you want some positives, here are the players who have stood out in preseason:
That’s about it for the players who have impressed so far.
If Dadonov scores 20 goals, the Knights win the Presidents Trophy.
(Not that non-SC Champion banners matter, but after just experiencing best season in NHL history without a banner, I’ll take a few more.)
THE hockey GOD
PHI claims Patrick Brown off waivers.
Brown should have been on team, dumb move by VGK.
What am I missing here ?? Why wasn’t he on roster in first place ?
WOW!!!!!! That sucks! I saw he was on waivers and thought why wouldn’t some one pick him up. He is good enough to play alot of 4th lines and has deep playoff experience etc. Mind blowing.
absolutely right…especially with all the 4th liners out…Carrier, Howden, and Roy are all out tomorrow
they could have really used Brownie, and he is a dependable playoff guy too
really dumb move to lose him
ThG – More dumbass VGK FO fuck ups.
You are going to take yourself to Steak El Chico dinner if Dadonov fails to get 15 goals? You are a sadistic fan. LOL
I can get on board with most of the predictions. The one I just don’t get is Lehner. For over a year now people keep saying he is a really good goalie and for over a year now I just don’t see it. Not even trying to be a dick, I just don’t see it. It doesn’t pass the eye test for me. From Roy, Brodeur, Belfour, Lundqvist, Luongo, Fleury, Price to Vasilevskiy all great goalies, different styles, and all pass the eye test no question. Lehner just doesn’t for me. Massive guy and is positionally sound which is good, slow glove, stays down forever, if out of position can’t recover, lifts his pads to shift weight and gets scored upon under his pads. For games that he does play well in usually comes after a 1st period softie then he starts locking down. I don’t think Lehner can make up for bad (or lapses in) defensive play in front of him where guys like Fleury can. Maybe VGK will compensate by not starting slow or be quicker to recognize the lethargic play and fix it. Do or die, sink or swim kind of thing I guess.
Anyway, I am so willing to be proved wrong, but I just don’t see what others are telling me I should see. A lighter Lehner may help the flopping fish situation or may help the out of position recovery. So maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
This is the best in depth analysis of Lehner’s goalie skills (lack thereof) that I have seen to date. Good job Blitz.
I completely agree. 25 games into the season we will all be missing Fleury; we will be watching Brodeur or others getting more net time, and there will be serious questions about whether Lehner and McCrimmon will be around for another year. Leaner is at his best, and average goalie and he isn’t going to be able to step-up into the #1 net minder position. I hope I am totally wrong, but time will tell.
Brodeur getting more playing time? Damn bro….you got one helluva imagination lol. Lemme guess…Gretzky gunna score on him on a beautiful one timer set up by Orr! Muahahahhahahahaahah
The name is Brossoit………LOL
THE hockey GOD
Mattias Janmark was unavailable for practice on Monday because of COVID-19 protocol.
not a good start for this season.
Fat chance that the clubhouse lawyer will lead the league in anything but Tweets
Brossoit looks more ready to start the season than he does.
5 Kraken players are out tomorrow on Covid protocol
Calle Jarnkrok, Marcus Johansson, Jared McCann, Jamie Oleksiak and Joonas Donskoi are all out
Wow, usually Ken is at least close to being in sync with me on the team. Not this year.
Ken is failing to see the rot behind the curtain. The malaise setting in from an organization’s sole focus on hockey as a “business”. That’s not how this organization was born. The Golden Knights gave birth to a team of Misfit Warriors and a Valiant Coach that took Vegas and the team to a Stanley Cup final.
Several years have gone by and the large majority of that core group is now gone and replaced by the “Business End” of hockey operations.
Maybe Ken has been sleeping during the preseason? Could be. How could he possibly miss the total lack of inspiration, lack of unity, lack of motivation, and the complete disjointed approach to getting this team ready?
Game 1 is now upon us and we have even more questions than answers than we did before the start of preseason. Lehner has been completely inconsistent and appears to be more focused on mental and health activism than hockey.
While Nolan Patrick looked good, I remain completely unimpressed with the rest of the players looking to contribute on lines 3 and 4. Coghlan doesn’t appear quite ready to make the transition on defense either.
Look, I hate to be Mr. Negativity, but I am simply not getting the positive vibes going into this year.
– VGK will definitely make the playoffs.
– VGK will not win the division.
– VGK will be knocked out in the 1st or 2nd round.
– Lehner will be replaced by Brossoit by mid-January if not sooner.
– Smith will lead or challenge for the lead for goals scored.
– Nolan Patrick will lead the team for PP points (goals & assists).
– Krebs will gain some valuable NHL experience but won’t be a factor this season.
Marc Andre Fleury, Ryan Reaves and Coach Gallant will have the last laugh.
Are you shitting me? They let Brownie walk?
Nothing this front office does surprises me anymore.
So someone explain to me the Brown waiver thing. I get that if you are on waivers someone can claim you etc, but my question is why was HE on waivers? What value did that provide? I assume it has something to do with sending him back to Henderson. He came up and went down a few times last year without waivers (I think anyway). So why do it this time? Why is it different? Must be something to do with the salary cap? Or is he on a different contract? Like he is an NHL contract and they want him on a AHL contract? Anyway, I am missing something here. Anybody out there that can knowledge me?
THE hockey GOD
it was down to kolesar or carrier; someone had to go. So they put brown on waivers. From what I understand. Brown is 29 years old too.
Easy choice for me. You keep Brown and have Kolesar and Carrier flip a coin as to who goes. Neither can put the puck in the net, but Kolesar has more upside.
But, no….VGK FO fucks up royally again.
So why aren’t you VGK’s GM? Hmmm, let’s see. Your “easy choice” is a 29 year old player with 3 (count ’em) career points, over a 26 year old player with 54 career points (who brings toughness and checking) and a 24 year old player with 12 career points. (who brings toughness and has upside). Patrick Brown is the very definition of an NHL/AHL tweener (and an aging one at that) who will always be a replacement level player. To scourge the VGK front office (again) for making that decision is ludicrous. Ah, but you see, you are so pre-programmed to automatically hate anything that our front office does that you will attack it (with at least 25 posts per day) out of hand. I am 100% sure if it was Carrier or Kolesar that got waived & picked up by someone else, you would have flipped out about that too. Someday it will be revealed that McPhee & McCrimmon brutally gang-raped your family when you were a kid and that Lehner & Pietrangelo watched it all happen and refused to testify, but until then, your posts just seem moronic and totally one-sided to any intelligent objective reader (which unfortunately, there aren’t too many of on this website these days).
Actually, no. I would rank Kolesar higher in terms of long term upside than Carrier, but neither of these players have proven that they are anything but 4th liners. Brown, on the other hand would have much more scoring potential on the 3rd line than either one of them.
Your responses are just a bit over the top. As a fan we want to see the team front office make good decisions and not lie to us or the players. I think this FO deserves what I give. Like I said, maybe this is the year that Stone, Stephenson and Pacioretty gel and become true first line threats worthy of a cup run. We shall see.
Once a player is in the league long enough (roughly 5 years) if a team wants to place them in the minor leagues they must clear waivers. It’s a mechanism that benefits players as it allows a player like Brown who is good enough to play in the NHL to do so rather than be buried in the minors because he’s on a good team. Last year he was placed on waivers on January 10th (the same day on the NHL calendar as this season) and he cleared on the 11th. Then, because of COVID he bounced between the taxi squad and the NHL team. Last season no one took him, this season they did. Not much VGK could have done.
Sure Ken. They could have made some room for Patrick on the 4th line. There’s plenty of under performing talent there. IMO Patrick was better than both Kolesar and Carrier.
Thanks Ken for the explanation. I forgot about the taxi squad situation.
I agree with THG and the Russians…rarely send the puck backwards.
Answers to Ken’s predictions….Group A – N, Y, N, Y, Y. Group B -N, Y, N, N, N.
I predict the fans will be impatient early and hostile later in the year.
The growing weakness is the lack of players on every line (of course a few exceptions) who can win battles, dig the puck out with grit, and set people up. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.
I think Patrick and Kolesar will do well winning battles…..
THE hockey GOD
I think the fans will remain drunk, stupid, and happy for most of the year. Led around by the media hype by their noses by every twinge of a fleeting rumor dangled in front of them. As long as the kids are kept on their medication jumping around like mexican jumping beans and the jumbotron with it’s flying balloon drone zeros in on fans. As well as the clown drowning all cloud noise on PA system yelling”clap your hands” to the tune of rowdy, insensitive women hating “rap music” (I use term “music” lightly); there will be happy faces. Why? Because they are paying for the highest ticket in NHL history, and until the prices start going down and joeflation gets things under control, how can they complain ?
I’ve said this before and I see more posters are leaning this way the team is no longer our team it’s corporate America. The feeling good about our players and feeling connected is in the wind. I’ll still be a fan but I can see myself rooting for the Rangers, Blackhawks, Blues, and Bruins when we play them. We’ve got beloved Misfits on all those teams and it wouldn’t break my heart if they beat us. How fast the mighty have fallen. My wife feels the same way we win fine we lose oh well it’s just not the same. This preseason didn’t show me a lot and our final two tuneups were an embarrassment. The Kraken with a good goalie wouldn’t surprise me if they came in and beat us. Once the fans start booing again then as they say they’ve lost the house.
THE hockey GOD
I wouldn’t be surprised if the seattle crack head kradens come ahead of
the VGK. But with covid still out there wrecking havoc anything can happen.
If VGK do fall behind they will blame it on covid, injuries , and salary cap.
Arnold (not the I vill be bach, Arnold)
I agree that Petra will be mentioned but I don’t think he will be near the top. Overall, I think Martinez played better, including the playoffs, than any other VGK player. Petra looked good offensively but made several defensive mistakes and too many TOs or getting knocked off the puck.
I completely disagree with your assessment of RL. Now that COVID is “over” and teams are back to their regular schedule, the competition for VGK will only get harder. He might be near the top in those categories but I don’t think he leads in them.
I think VGK will lose one game (game 8 or 9) of that stretch and miss out on the 10 consecutive wins.
VGK PP will continue to struggle during the regular season and only get worse come playoff time.
Two more predictions.
1. Patrick Brown will have more points this season than Brett Howden.
2. The entire third line will have less than 82 points on 5v5, and Dadonov will be known as Tatar 2.0.
Lehner will have a save percentage of below 0.900!
Why? I think he is a great guy and a great goalie BUT the footsteps of Flower are simply that big that NOBODY can fill them. Ask Murray…..
I am more concerned about his awkwardness in goal leading to so many soft goals. Once he’s flopped it’s like watching a beached whale. He isn’t very mobile laterally either.
Out of all of the VGK FO moves, this one was the worst followed by the firing of Gallant. Sure, I think Fleury had another year or two left in him, but moving him doesn’t beat these two moves out.
Mid-January, if not sooner.
THE hockey GOD
@RS wiggy biscuit beached whale !! LOL
People think just because RL lost weight he automatically becomes nimble, faster, and more agile. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way, at least not enough to make it noticeable or make a difference
Dadonov on the third line making 5 million for two years some would question why? He may turn out to play well or he may be Tatar #2 as someone above mentioned. I liked Patrick Brown always hustling but he wasn’t in the plans so at least he’ll have a chance to play in Philly. You have to figure the coaches watch these players every day and know there strong and weak points so who they keep and who they don’t is in there hands. Game one tonight should be interesting.
THE hockey GOD
wings let Bobby Ryan walk, maybe VGK pick up this veteran forward if they have cap space ??
Interesting, Bobby Ryan has 14 yrs experience and 866 games under his belt. His production has been down but take a look at who he has played for.
I am thinking he’s got to be better than Carrier, right?
THE hockey GOD
yes but he’s a 15 foot player, and his plus minus is not the best there ever was
Bobby Ryan brings experience, but not much else. I agree. There’s no room on the current roster for him.
The Real Arnold !
The latest news on COVID is throwing me a curve on tonight’s game.
For me, it is now a toss up with so many Kraken likely out. Therefore, I have changed my prediction from a Kraken win to a VGK win 4 to 3. Pray we don’t go to a shoot out!
Things to watch:
1. How many soft goals will Lehner allow?
2. Will Lehner do a beached whale impression this evening?
3. How many power play goals will VGK get?
4. How many giveaways?
5. How many breakaways, 1 or 2 on none?
6. Will the VGK be guilty of a too many men penalty tonight?
7. My prediction of VGK Stars (1) Smith, (2) Patrick, (3) Karlsson
8. Will the top line score any goals at all?
9. Will Theodore and Carrier be active?
10. Will Whitecloud take another dumb penalty at a critical juncture?
Tune in tomorrow for the results.
I actually think VGK scores a PP goal tonight… then all the these others will come on and say how we overreacted and the PP will be fine. I do think we get a too many men penalty. RL will let in 2 bad goals but some on here will make an excuse for him. VGK will give up at least 2 breakaways. Patches scores first goal of season for VGK