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Author: Jason Pothier Page 2 of 111

Marchessault’s Hat Trick Performance Another Reminder He’s Earned An Extension

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s pretty clear after this past week’s Stanley Cup defending acquisitions, that cap space is shrinking for next season. The Golden Knights have set themselves up for the future with younger weapons under control. Unfortunately, it’ll make for some difficult decisions in the offseason.

On Saturday night the Golden Knights were stuck in a frustrating, late-game tie with the Detroit Red Wings. Vegas’ leading goal scorer, Jonathan Marchessault, lifted the team with his second and third goals of the game in the final 2:44. He completed his third hat trick of the season and sixth of his career. His first-star performance reminded league general managers that Marchessault will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

We’d love him to be a Golden Knight forever. I enjoy coaching him. We have a lot of back and forth. Sometimes it can be contentious, sometimes it’s hugs and kisses, but at the end of the day, he comes to play. He’s scored big goals for this franchise over the years. -Bruce Cassidy

Since 2017-18, Marchessault has scored 185 regular season goals. More than elite snipers like Filip Forsberg, William Nylander, JT Miller and new Golden Knight, Tomas Hertl. All four of those players earn $8 million or more per season, which is likely above the average the Golden Knights are willing to pay Marchessault.

Top Goal Scores Since 2017-18

  • 1st – Auston Matthews: 313
  • 2nd – Leon Draisaitl: 288
  • 3rd – David Pastranak: 282
  • 4th – Alex Ovechkin: 282
  • 5th – Connor McDavid: 281
  • 6th – Nathan MacKinnon: 249
  • *10th – Sebastian Aho: 219
  • *22nd – Sidney Crosby: 200
  • *27th- Jonathan Marchessault: 187
  • *50th – Tomas Hertl: 159
  • *67th – Jack Eichel: 151
  • *70th – William Karlsson: 144
  • *83rd – Mark Stone: 137

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Teams Bidding To Beef Up For Future Postseason Matchup With Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL trade deadline is five days away and like the Golden Knights, teams are eager to improve their rosters before the postseason begins. Certain names have been front and center but as of now, Vegas, nor their adversaries have acquired any impact players with the exception of the Dallas Stars. The Central Division leader traded for in-demand defenseman Chris Tanev late last month. The swap is significant since Tanev is a right-handed defenseman and we all know there’s nothing that’ll catch a coach’s attention more than an available right-handed defenseman.

It’s a huge luxury. When you get a lefty and lefty (on defense), you lose about a third of your ice when you play your off hand. Just offensively, you lose a third of the ice. You get some good looks when you jump into holes because you’re on your off hand. Having two lefties, passing for your partner is a little different spot than when you have a lefty-righty. There is an adjustment for everybody who does that. It is a luxury these days. -Barry Trotz in 2019

Two teams that Vegas defeated in February, Edmonton and Toronto, are now open buyers for a RHD. Right off the break, the Golden Knights ended the Oilers historic 16-game winning streak. In that game, Edmonton dressed three LHD and three RHD. Four of the six were -1 or worse, including their two righties. After that matchup, the Oilers are feverishly targeting an upgraded right-handed defenseman. On Tuesday in Toronto, the Maple Leafs were forced to dress six left-handed defensemen. The Golden Knights forecheck exposed Toronto’s unbalanced blue line pressuring the entire left-handed defensive unit.

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Golden Knights Fend Off Doubt In Toronto As Guentzel Rumors Heat Up

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Until last night the Golden Knights hadn’t been on the right side of a lopsided result (against an NHL team, San Jose doesn’t count) since the All-Star break. Over that period the reigning champions were 3-4-1 and failed to win four of five home games. Yesterday’s offensive outpouring from Vegas wasn’t entirely unexpected but it came at the right time of the season.

Pretty good game for us, to be honest. I still think the leaders and the guys who have been in the league for a while have to step up in this little stretch, especially with Stoney and Jack out. Hopefully today was a turnaround for us. -Ivan Barbashev

When healthy, there’s no question the Golden Knights could put up five against a team as iffy on defense as the Maple Leafs. Doing it on the road, without several key players was reminiscent of last season’s extended results without captain Mark Stone.

Vegas received six goals from five different players, two from depth forwards. Along with their abundance of offense, the Golden Knights sturdy defense frustrated some of hockey’s most lethal weapons. The same formula catapulted Vegas to their first Stanley Cup championship.

They’re good enough to win. If you think you’re good enough to win then you go for it. There’s not a feeling of being easily satisfied. Last year was last year. I do believe they’re one of the teams in and around Jake Guentzel. The Penguins want guys that can help them now. If Pittsburgh is looking for young pros, (Vegas) have that in their organization. I find it very hard that Vegas is not going to take a swing at the biggest player available. – Elliotte Friedman on The Jeff Marek Show

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Golden Knights Have Proven Success Without Stone In Lineup

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On January 12th of last season, Golden Knights captain Mark Stone played in his last regular season game of 2022-23. Vegas’ roster battled through the schedule without their leader and secured the top playoff seed in the Western Conference.

We all know what transpired once the postseason began.

(Courtesy of TNT)

Without Stone in the second half of last season, the captain’s teammates went 23-9-7 to finish out the string of regular season games. It was a bit of a surprise but also a sign of what to expect in the postseason. The Stone-less lineup averaged 3.23 goals per game and allowed only 2.67 per contest. Coach Bruce Cassidy got his entire roster to buy in and finish off the season strong without their heart and soul.

January 14, 2023 to April 13, 2023 – Games Without Stone

  • Record: 23-9-7 (53 Points)
  • Points Percentage: .679
  • Goals Scored: 126
  • Goals Allowed: 104
  • Games with 4 or More Goals Scored: 20
  • Games with 5 or More Goals Scored: 9
  • Winning Streak of 4 Games or More: 3
  • Record vs. Playoff Teams: 12-6-4 (26 Points)
  • Shots Per Game: 30.5
  • Games Scoring First Goal: 22
  • Blocks Per Game: 17.74

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NHL Network Sweet On Two VGK Forwards

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Wednesday, the NHL Network affectionally announced their appreciation for under-the-radar players across the league. While they’re well-loved in Las Vegas, the league’s television outlet highlighted two beloved Golden Knights forwards on Valentine’s Day.

Likely a favorite Valentine for most Golden Knights fans, Jonathan Marchessault is proving yet again how valuable he is to his team. The 2023 Conn Smythe winner leads Vegas in goals, offensive point shares, and total point shares and is third in shooting percentage. Through 53 games, Marchessault continues to be the Golden Knights’ most lethal shot and has found success on multiple juggled lines. At the age of 33, the unrestricted free agent is on pace for a career-high in goals, even strength goals, and points. His numbers indicate a bump in pay contract extension should be in the works.

Former NHL’er Dave Reid gushed on Wednesday over Marchessault’s team-leading statistics and his infectious emotions on and off the ice. There’s no doubt, the television analyst is an admirer of Mark Stone and his passion as well. Between the two, Vegas has no shortage of motivators in their lineup. It’s no surprise both are on pace for career years.

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Second Half Schedule Allows Vegas To Enter The Playoffs Well Rested

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since January 27th, the Golden Knights have had 16 days off and suited up for only six periods of game action. It may not seem like much, but it allows for the reigning champions to heal, prepare, and most importantly rest up for their final 30 regular season games and their perennial deep postseason run.

The Golden Knights have played 156 games since October 11th, 2022, so any extra days off should be taken advantage of.

We haven’t (rested players) other than maybe late in the year. Would I do it in the middle of January? Probably not. First of all, players don’t want to come out of the lineup even when they’re hurt, so there’s dealing with that part of it. -Bruce Cassidy, September 2023

It goes without saying, playing an extended amount of hockey is what every fan and player dreams of when a new season begins. However, a deep run can interrupt a reigning champion’s repeat attempt.

When the Avalanche were eliminated in seven games to the Seattle Kraken last year, it was their 191st game played since October of 2021. Their short summer full of celebrating in ’22 was anything but that ten months later. With the spacing out of VGK’s final 30 contests, it’s possible rest can keep them off the golf course until mid-June.

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Vegas Unfazed By Delusional Oilers Hype

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Edmonton Oilers’ historic streak came to a close on Tuesday in a typical, and most predictable fashion, by losing to the Golden Knights. The same team that ended Edmonton’s playoff dreams and sent them into an offseason and then early season, spiral spoiled their chance at becoming NHL immortals.

Since December 21st, the two Pacific contenders were heading in different directions. In that timeframe, the Golden Knights lost first-place to the Vancouver Canucks and the Oilers leapfrogged several teams in the division. However, all of that came to a halting crash on Tuesday after the better team came out on top.

It’s always a tough game in this building, we were expecting that. Disappointing, but we move on. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, and you forget sometimes how bad you hate losing. It’s a good reminder. -Connor McDavid, EDM captain

For the umpteenth time, Vegas proved to be more well-rounded. Just like in the 2023 postseason, the reigning champions are better coached, defend and protect the net better, and have an overall better lineup than the Oilers. Sure, there are no players in VGK’s lineup that match skills with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid or Leon Draiaitl but the comparison ends there. While the Golden Knights possess a Stanley Cup-winning roster, the Oilers are a two-man motor that perennially over-exhausts.

We’re back in the hunt, and we’re not content by any means. I think we worked hard to get ourselves into this position, but we lost tonight to a team in our division that we played a lot over the last couple years. It’s gonna leave a bad taste in our mouths. -Darnell Nurse, EDM defenseman

This summer I hammered the Oiler’s inflated confidence heading into the 2023-24 season. Some of it may have come from the exaggerated expectations by dozens of Canadian hockey analysts but Edmonton’s optimism was completely shattered 12 games in. Now that Edmonton has bounced back and is projected to qualify for the playoffs, their sole focus should be directed toward Vegas. To win the Western Conference, the Oilers will most likely have to face the Golden Knights. Going off past history, Vegas will likely prevail on the big stage in under seven games. Tuesday’s poorly designated ESPN+ matchup was just a sample.

Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse had a realistic reaction to their first loss in 46 days. On the other hand, Nurse’s captain hasn’t accepted that the Golden Knights are the more complete team. Likely, for a second straight season.

There’s a lot of things we’ve got to do, there’s a lot of things they’ve got to do to get to that situation. Obviously, we’d love to play Vegas in a playoff series again. Makes for great hockey. -McDavid

When asked who the Oilers current rivals were, McDavid veered away from his notorious robotic responses. A geographical rival is one thing but choosing the LA Kings over the reigning champions is puzzling and almost impossible to take seriously.

Good question. For me, it’s Calgary, then L.A., right now. I’d say those two. -McDavid

Has McDavid turned into the most delusional superstar in sports?

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