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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 31)

Bobby Ryan Is A Misfit, Making Him A Golden Misfit Wouldn’t Be As Bad As Most Make It Out To Seem

Fan reaction to trade rumors can range widely, but there always seems to be one constant. The minute someone mentions the name Bobby Ryan the conversation turns sour.

Let’s go back in time. The New Jersey native was drafted #2nd overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. Also known as, the Sidney Crosby draft. Ryan lived up to his potential right away. In his rookie season, the right-handed forward scored 31 goals and was a Calder Trophy finalist. By the time his entry-level contract ran out, Ryan had 131 career points (71 goals, 60 Assists) and 26 Power-Play goals. Altogether, in five full seasons with Anaheim, Ryan scored 30 or more goals four times. The Ducks liked Ryan enough after his third season in the NHL to sign him to a five year, $25.5 million contract, his first massive deal.

Reilly Smith was Florida’s Bobby Ryan. Look how that worked out in Vegas. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After the shortened 2012-13 season, Anaheim moved the then 25-year-old forward to Ottawa for Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a 2014 1st Round pick. At the time, it looked like Ottawa pulled off one heck of a trade. One they liked so much that they offered Ryan $50.75 million over the next seven years.

Fast forward five years later, the once four-time 30 goal-scorer is no longer the hot commodity he was in his first nine seasons in the league. The past two seasons he’s missed 20 games each year, scored just 13 and 11 goals, saw his ice time dip about two minutes per game and didn’t reach 35 points in either year, something he had done in each of the previous eight seasons. Quite simply, the production Ryan has offered has not been worth anything near $7.25 million per year.

So what went wrong?

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History Shows Trading Young Talent For A Current Superstar Isn’t a Bad Move

Trades involving generational players in their primes are rare in the NHL. Over the course of the last 30 years, it’s happened about five times. Yet, with the Draft getting underway tomorrow and free agency on July 1st, Erik Karlsson’s name could be added to that list any moment.

It seems like Theodore might be on his way to Ottawa if McPhee can complete a deal for Karlsson. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When it comes to a unique talent like Karlsson, every GM in the league will show interest. However, most know they either don’t have the assets or the cap space to acquire the 28-year-old superstar defenseman. Ottawa shipped out Mike Hoffman which solved one problem but they took on salary in the deal, further indicating another deal may be on the horizon. At this point, unless Karlsson is demanding a trade they don’t have to move him. Unfortunately for the Senators, he probably is. Ottawa’s front office may continue to force Bobby Ryan’s hefty contract ($7.25M/4 yrs), forcing some teams to stay away. In the Senators eyes, if the deal isn’t right that’s not their problem.

Erik is a franchise player. We felt that there was no franchise deal out there that could satisfy us to make the best hockey deal. -Pierre Dorion at trade deadline

This may be an unpopular look at the Karlsson to Vegas trade rumors because I know how apprehensive Golden Knights fans are about saying goodbye to their favorite players. Hey, I hear ya. After all, I am the founding member of the Shea Theodore fan club, but it is a business, and if the Golden Knights make a move for Karlsson, their probably on to something.

History tells us teams that make the trade for a star player will usually see major dividends, while the players shipped out tend to have mediocre careers.

  • Los Angeles receives: Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley, and Mike Krushelnyski
  • Edmonton receives: Three 1st round picks, Martin Gelinas, Jimmy Carson, and $15 million

I won’t waste your time going over Gretzky’s statistics or influence after he was traded to LA. The Oilers were really only in it for the cash. They knew they would lose the trade no matter what, so the closest thing of value was millions of dollars. That being said, they did get two players in the deal.

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The Potential Impact To The Golden Knights Lines If They Sign John Tavares

Adding depth is the goal of every NHL team in the offseason, adding a superstar would be a bonus for any team, but especially conference champion.

I think you can add depth anywhere in our group, that’s going to be real good. What we want to add character people to our group… we had good leadership, we had great character and we had a good work ethic. -Gallant

Erik Haula: Winger? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The nice part about the Golden Knights roster is they have depth within the system. Instead of repurchasing separate parts like James Neal and or David Perron, Vegas could invest roughly the same amount on a top line center like John Tavares. This would allow Erik Haula to move over to wing alongside Tomas Tatar or Alex Tuch. Tavares would give the Golden Knights two legitimate top NHL lines and Haula could easily repeat 25+ goals mostly focusing on getting the puck in the net.

Understandably, it might be a longshot but look at the Golden Knights forward depth chart with the addition of #91.

Karlsson/Marchessault/Smith= 92 Goals
Tavares/Haula/Tatar= 86 Goals
Eakin/Tuch/Nosek= 33 Goals
Bellemare/Reaves/Carpenter= 19 Goals

The previous line of Haula/Neal/Perron scored 70 goals, and that may have been in a year of overachievement. In the regular season, Haula, Neal, and Perron scored 16 fewer goals than the projected combination of Tavares, Haula, and Tatar.

With Tavares, Gallant would probably try to use the top six evenly. Having two top centers, minute and point distribution could benefit Haula’s statistics. Playing with a center who averages .93 points and .53 assists per game over his career can’t hurt.

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Gallant On Stanley Cup Final Loss, Theodore, Free Agency, In TSN Interview

“When you’re 22-years-old in the Stanley Cup final, or even in the Stanley Cup playoffs you’re going to make mistakes.’ (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before Jack Adams finalist Gerard Gallant celebrated with thousands of fans on Fremont Street, he joined old buddy Chris “Knuckles” Nilan on TSN Montreal.

It was an outstanding year. We battled, we worked hard, and we had an unbelievable regular season. It just carried over to the playoffs. -Gerard Gallant

Nilan asked about coming up short in the finals, and if Washington was able to slow the Golden Knights down.

Our guys weren’t gassed and they weren’t tired, I think Washington made us look tired. They really took it to us, and played a physical brand of hockey. Washington was a better team… Our top line is an outstanding line and they played really well. I gotta give Washington credit, their two top lines played outstanding hockey. Down the middle, Kuznetsov was outstanding, Backstrom was outstanding. They just had more fire power in the final. -Gallant

One of the best exchanges in the interview was about Shea Theodore and his costly giveaways in the Cup finals. Knuckles alerted Gallant he wasn’t calling out the young defenseman but was more interested in how he handled his mistakes after games.

There was no issue with that. The kid made a couple of mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, and that’s what we told the kid. When you’re 22-years-old in the Stanley Cup final, or even in the Stanley Cup playoffs you’re going to make mistakes. That kid made more good plays for us than enough, we’re real happy with him. He just shook it off. -Gallant

Moving on to next season, the TSN host asked the Golden Knights coach about the offseason and building a roster for next season. I’m beginning to think Gallant gets the latest NHL Rumors push notifications on his iPhone. For a guy that doesn’t read box scores or standings, he sure knows who’s available.

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Revisiting Erik Karlsson To Vegas Rumors

Erik Karlsson needs out of Ottawa, this is clear.

No matter what comes out of this really sad situation, the damage is done. Karlsson can’t trust the Senators front office after covering up harassment allegations.

It’s time for the Swede, his wife, and the Senators to move on. Possibly, starting with one of the teams that wanted the Superstar defenseman at the deadline.

Various reasons were reported why the Karlsson flip didn’t happen. In Ottawa, the belief was the Golden Knights wouldn’t take on Sens forward Bobby Ryan’s contract. The once 35 goal scorer has four years left at a whopping $7.25M per season. Ryan scored 30+ in four straight seasons, he’s greatly underachieved since combining for 64 goals in the past four seasons. I understand George McPhee’s hesitations. -Elliotte Friedman

On Karlsson, my sense is the Vegas trade fell apart because of how the purchase price would be adjusted by Bobby Ryan’s inclusion. I’m not 100 per cent sure if it was Ottawa’s ask or Vegas’s offer, but one of the rumblings is that the teams were talking two first-rounders, a high-level prospect and a conditional pick for Karlsson — the condition being whether or not the Golden Knights re-signed him. Whatever the case, it didn’t happen and I can’t imagine Vegas would have been willing to do all that if they were taking Ryan’s contract, too. -Friedman

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Potential Replacements For James Neal, David Perron, And Ryan Reaves

Since George McPhee’s “not everyone will be back” quote there’s been a growing fear that the Golden Knights roster won’t be as strong in Year 2 as it was in the magical Year 1. McPhee noted there are always three or four changes which has the speculation on James Neal, David Perron, Luca Sbisa, and Ryan Reaves running wild.

Sportsnet reported earlier this season that James Neal was looking for a long-term deal commanding upwards of $7M per season.

It’s mildly surprising that he hasn’t re-signed in Las Vegas because he would like to stay there. He’s one of the team leaders. It still could get done. –USA Today

Remember when this happened? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s hard to believe the organization would give a massive contract to a player over the age of 30, but would they on a player who’s 29?

Potential Replacement:

James Van Riemsdyk
29 Years-old
2017-18 Stats: 36 Goals (11 PPG), 18 Assists, 14:54 ATOI
Career Stats: 201 Goals, 393 Points, 0.33 Goals Per Game, 0.65 Points Per Game
Contract Speculation: 7 Years, $6M+ AAV

Neal has 62 more career goals and is one year and 243 days older than van Riemsdyk. Both wingers have comparable career statistics, and the age difference isn’t wide. The Golden Knights know what they’re getting with Neal; 20+ goals, second-line minutes, plays with edge. It’s an unknown if van Riemsdyk can repeat his success in Vegas.

I could see Neal being offered a high-cost, short-term contract, but the question remains if we would be willing to sign it. It’s likely his last chance at a long-term deal. One thing is for sure, if the Golden Knights offer JVR a contract, it’s a sign they’re content moving on from Neal.

Van Riemsdyk was integral to the Leafs’ potent first power-play unit but was otherwise seeing third-line minutes. On another squad — Carolina? Vegas? New York? New Jersey? San Jose? — he’d be a top-six fixture again. -Sportsnet

He’s said all the right things about coming back, but it’s going to take a discount to make it actually happen. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

David Perron is a player many fans fell in love with. His silky hands, his beautiful passing, his pestering ways, how can you not love him? With Perron, the feeling is mutual. He loves it in Vegas, he loves his teammates, and he’d love to stay here. Or at least so he says to Vegas media.

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The Differing In-Season Contract Negotiations Of Perron And Marchessault

Perron confirmed there were contract talks, but nothing ever materialized during the season. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Coming into this season, David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault were both unaware of their futures. The two friends, both with expiring contracts had been sick of the NHL nomad life. While both were hoping to sign extensions with Vegas, only one was able to agree to terms.

It’s nothing you really think of. In the season you’re just trying to think about hockey. When you start talking that doesn’t mean it necessarily will happen. I was happy to get it over with this season. -Jonathan Marchessault

As the new year approached, many wondered if the Golden Knights would trade Marchessault if they couldn’t sign him to a contract in season. The 27-year-old admitted that he was a little concerned as well.

Yeah it’s always on your head a little bit. I told my agent at some point, if there’s nothing we should think of then I don’t necessarily want to talk about it. I just wanted to focus on my game and see what that brings us. -Marchessault

On January 3rd, the Golden Knights announced they had extended #81 on a six-year, $30M contract. The midseason agreement boosted Marchessault’s confidence.

I think so. You never know what happens, injuries, slumps. I think it definitely helped me. -Marchessault

On the flip side, Perron’s agent and the Vegas brass couldn’t come to an agreement during the regular season. If that remains the case on July 1st, Perron will be free to sign with any team. 

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Return To Scoring First/Playing With Lead Imperative For Golden Knights

The Golden Knights scored first in both home games in the series, they need to do it again. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Golden Knights score first they’ve been almost impossible to beat in the postseason. Their record is an astounding 11-2 when netting the game’s first goal. In the Stanley Cup Final, they’ve scored the opening goal just twice, which is one of the reasons why Vegas is facing elimination tonight.

It’s very important. I feel like we’ve been trailing this entire series. We had a lot of chances last game to be able to get that goal ahead and I think we just have to bear down and get that first goal. That means a lot to our structure of play. -Reilly Smith

Smith’s linemate laid it out even simpler.

I think we need to play with a lead. We’re a good team when we play in the lead. -Jonathan Marchessault

The Golden Knights were 34-5-2 in the regular season when they took the games first lead.

Yeah it’s been important all postseason, for all teams. It’s going to be a fight to get that lead. We’re a really good, dangerous team when we get the first goal. Get the crowd into it and go from there. -Erik Haula

Taking a lead, protecting it, and winning playoff games was a winning formula for the Golden Knights, until this series. Leading up to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, in 16 postseason games the Golden Knights lead for 162:43. Since then, they’ve lead for just 9:29 minutes, and have trailed for 123:18 minutes.

They’re doing a good job. They’re scoring at opportune times as well. Their power play’s sparks the team. It’s important for us to score that first goal and play with that lead. That’s what our mindset is for the next game. -Smith

Having a good first ten minutes is really important. Washington is a team that when they have a lead, they play to shut down and play really good defense. We’ll try and get the lead early on. -Alex Tuch

The Golden Knights seemed confident Game 5 will be a different outcome than the last three games. It begins with the Vegas top line and top players.

They’re a tough team to play against. They wait in the middle and let you make mistakes. We have to put pucks behind them, and let them make the mistakes. -Marchessault

Going by the numbers, scoring first will greatly help the Golden Knights chances to extend the Cup Final. The series isn’t over if Washington jumps on the scoreboard first, but it puts immediate pressure on Vegas to answer. It doesn’t matter which Golden Knight scores, just as long as it’s the opening goal.

The Ugly Numbers Behind 3-1

The hole is deep, but the opponent has blown leads like this before. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Here’s the bad news, it hasn’t happened in 76 years. Here’s the good news, it has been done. In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs were trailing the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Toronto went to win four straight games to hoist the Cup.

The silver lining, the Golden Knights will only have to win three straight.

I think at home’s our best games for sure throughout the playoffs that crowd will be getting us going for sure and we’ll be ready. -Alex Tuch

The Golden Knights have played with confidence all season, and now it’s time to dive deep down and find that assurance. It’s been a successful “one game at a time” mentality for Vegas. It’s really one game at a time right now, and there’s no room for error.

To win three games in a row is tough in this league, but at the start of the season, if you told anyone in this locker room, ‘If you win three games in a row, you win the Stanley Cup,’ I think everyone would be excited about that opportunity. -Reilly Smith

Since 1942, only that one Maple Leafs team has won the Stanley Cup series trailing 3-1. Only the 2006 Philadelphia Flyers and the 1987 Oilers pushed the series to a seventh game. So it’s possible to force a Game 7, but the odds are stacked against Vegas.

That being said, as rare as it is in the Final, teams coming back from 3-1 in the playoffs is not horribly uncommon.

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Vegas’ 2nd Line Not Producing On Either End Of The Ice

There hasn’t been enough of this lately. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Heading into Game 3, Erik Haula, James Neal, and David Perron had been fairly flat in the Stanley Cup Final. Then Game 3 happened, and second line struggle has turned to second line disaster.

We have to put pucks in, you have a little bit of time, you think you can make a play, have some room to skate, and then it gets clogged up pretty quick. For us, we have to simplify. It’s something we talked about. But I just think we’re just not there. We’re a second late on pucks. Or support. We’ll fix it. -James Neal

In 180 minutes of hockey, the trio has a combined three points (1 goal, 2 assists), just 10 shots on goal, seven shots blocked, seven missed shots, and a whopping -9 rating. All three are under 45%, they’ve allowed 12 high dangers chances while creating just three, and worst of all, they were on the ice for all three goals in Game 3.

It’s big, obviously the matchups. We did a really good job getting lines out there when we needed to. -Jay Beagle, Washington forward

It was glaringly obvious that the second line was having trouble creating any real threat. Neal’s laser of a goal in Game 2 is the line’s only goal, and it took an incredible individual effort rather than team play to score it. Plus, even that lost its luster after Don Cherry pointed out Neal’s shot was slightly deflected off Washington’s Michal Kempny’s stick.

They’ve had their moments, and yeah, we know they’re going to get chances. The more we can keep them off the scoreboard and frustrate them as much as possible. -John Carlson, Washington defenseman

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