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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 1 of 276

Nic Roy Told To “Be Ready For Everything” In Terms Of His Role Under Bruce Cassidy

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Any time a new coach enters the fold roles are bound to change. It can mean different things for different players as the new coach implements his systems and figures out how each of the pieces fit together.

For the recently rich re-signed Nic Roy his role is likely to change while very much staying the same as a year ago.

It’s a little early to say but it could be really anything as of right now. -Nic Roy

Last year, Roy played all over the Golden Knights’ lineup for Pete DeBoer. From playing as a center for Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault to playing on Jack Eichel’s right wing to centering a fourth line of Jonas Rondbjerg and Mattias Janmark, Roy did it all.

Along the way, he potted 15 goals and 24 assists helping earn him a hefty raise and a long-term contract to stay with Bruce Cassidy and the Golden Knights through 2026-27.

Roy’s versatility is one of his best strengths but it also has him heading into Training Camp without a true home in the lineup.

(Cassidy) told me to be ready for everything. If he needs me at winger that could be something that happens. Or he might need me in a more defensive role on the third line or a more offensive role on the second line or something like that. -Roy

It’s not out of the question to suspect Roy could start as high as the first line as a winger. With Cassidy expecting to break up the Misfit Line of Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith, it’s likely one of the two wingers heads up to play with Eichel, leaving the other side potentially open for Roy. Or maybe Roy slots in as a second line center in Karlsson’s place among the Misfits. Or he could find himself on a fourth line in a lineup utilizing Eichel, Karlsson, Stephenson, and Roy all as centers.

It truly is possible for Roy to land anywhere in the 12 spots among the Opening Night starting lineup.

It’ll be up to Roy to turn his role of Swiss army knife into something more concrete. Depending on where he starts, succeeding in that place will solidify his position in the lineup. Last year, while the numbers were solid, Roy never quite took hold of any of the roles he was placed in, which led to him playing on 23 different line combinations.

Cassidy will take his best shot at creating the perfect lineup on October 11th when the Golden Knights head to Crypto.com Arena. For Roy, wherever he slots into that lineup, he’ll have to prove he’s the best (insert role here) player the Golden Knights have. If he does, he has a chance to fill that role for the next five years.

Ken’s Answers To The Athletic’s Fan Confidence Survey

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year The Athletic does a fan survey to learn more about the confidence of the fan base in different areas of the organization. The results of this year’s survey were published today and we highly recommend you read Jesse Granger’s article accompanying the results before you read the rest of this. Trust me, it’ll all make more sense if you do (and you’ll get to see the results, which I’m purposely not sharing here so you click that link).

Now, it’s time for my answers to the questions Jesse posed to the fan base.

With Vegas missing the playoffs for the first time, what is your confidence level in the direction of the organization? (5 being the highest level of confidence)

Ken’s Answer – 2

Despite the fact that it scares the crap out of me to think about, I really think the Golden Knights are headed for a pretty hefty rebuild that will start sometime between December of this year and the end of next season. The reason why I go with a 2 instead of a 1 here is that the roster is still good enough right now to make some noise. It’s going to take A LOT to go right (including health, unexpected players stepping forward, fortunate playoff matchups, etc) but I do see a path for this team to win the Cup this year, and I’m predicting them to make the playoffs. So, I can’t in good faith give them a 1, even though the “direction” is clearly heading in the wrong way from where it was a few years ago.

What do you expect out of the Golden Knights this coming season?

Ken’s Answer – First-round exit

If the Golden Knights stay healthy the entire season, I think they’ll win the division. I don’t see that happening though. In fact, I’d guess they are more likely to be closer to last season than they are 100% healthy, which is terrifying. Thus, my projection is that VGK will finish in 3rd or in a wild card spot. If it’s a WC, they are almost certainly going out in the 1st round. If they do get into 3rd, I could see them squeaking through a round.

What is your overall confidence level in Kelly McCrimmon and George McPhee? (5 being the highest level of confidence)

Ken’s Answer – 1

For years every time I’ve begun to criticize the front office I had to remind myself these are the same people that built the team from the Expansion Draft. However, over the course of the past few summers, the front office has made a point of saying (both outright publicly and via their moves) that they found that team to be a fluke. So, I’m having a harder and harder time giving them credit for it as they continue to retool rosters that are getting worse and worse.

It’s important to note that all I care about is winning the Cup. I don’t want playoff berths, I don’t care how many rounds you win, I just want to win the Cup. I’ve completely lost faith that this front office knows how to do it. McPhee is 0 for 21 and McCrimmon is 0 for 5. It’s harsh, I know, but I’d be lying if I put any other number than 1.

Do you agree with the decisions to fire Pete DeBoer and hire Bruce Cassidy?

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NIC ROY SIGNS 5-YEAR EXTENSION AT $3 MILLION AAV

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Kolesar Contract Works For Everyone Involved

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With a few days to spare before the scheduled arbitration hearing, Keegan Kolesar agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $1.4 million per year. It’s a length and a price that fits perfectly for everyone involved, including the cap-strapped Golden Knights.

To understand why, it starts with setting aside any preconceived notions one may have of Kolesar’s game, the chief among them being his inability to score. There’s no denying the fact that Kolesar could have doubled his goal output last season had he been more clinical around the goal. But the fact remains, even still, he scored seven goals and posted 17 assists in 77 games, and did it while shooting well under the league average at 7.4%.

If he can improve his shooting even a bit, just to around 10%, we’re counting his goals using both hands and a few toes. But even if he can’t, five to seven goals for a player in Kolesar’s role is perfectly acceptable.

That’s because there’s more to Kolesar’s game than putting the puck in the back of the net. He led the team in hits last season, dishing out 246, nearly 100 more than every other Golden Knight. He’s one of the better forecheckers on the team while also being defensively responsible. He logged the 6th most penalty kill minutes among forwards, and with Mattias Janmark leaving that number could go up. And he even filled in on the power play, scoring a goal in just 35:42 of man-advantage time.

Plus, despite my personal feelings for the role of enforcer, Kolesar fought nine times last season, accounting for literally half of the team’s total number. If you have to have a guy like that on the roster, which it seems the Golden Knights remain committed to, he might as well be able to score a few goals, chip in 20+ assists, and play in all situations.

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VGK’s Untrustworthy Nature Will Catch Up Eventually Says Allan Walsh

(Photo tweeted by Allan Walsh, Marc-Andre Fleury’s agent)

One of the common themes swirling around the Golden Knights for the past few seasons is the concept of loyalty. Actually, in VGK’s case, it’s a lack of loyalty, but you get the point.

In an unabashed quest to improve the team at all costs, the Golden Knights have had to make some difficult decisions along the way. It’s easy to applaud them for the gusto missing from many front offices around the league, but the bubbling undertone of crossing the unwritten line between hockey business and the mistreatment of people is becoming unmistakable.

Vegas treats you great until they don’t. They’ve gone from the team of opportunity, the ‘golden misfits’ or whatever, to the ‘evil empire.’ I think as long as they win they’ll avoid problems, but if they have a losing season, watch out. –Anonymous NHL agent to The Athletic

Unfortunately, the Golden Knights stopped winning last year and a not-so-anonymous agent thinks it could start to bite them moving forward.

In Vegas, no player is safe. Several players have made the comment now that no player is safe. At any time the rug can be pulled out from under you and if it’ll happen to Marc-Andre Fleury, trust me it can happen to anybody. Some players are going to ultimately decide to play in that environment and don’t care but other players are going to value being in a place where there is a sense of loyalty and stability and appreciation that goes both ways. –Allan Walsh on Agent Provocateur Podcast

Now that the Golden Knights have officially rid themselves of all Walsh clients, he’s not holding back on sharing his feelings publicly about the way Vegas operates.

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – August 3rd, 2022

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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Four Golden Knights To Play In World Junior Championships This Month

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Eight months ago the first few games of the 2022 edition of the World Junior Championships were played. However, due to a rash of positive COVID tests, multiple teams were forced to forfeit. It became clear fairly quickly that the sanctity of the tournament was jeopardized by the forfeitures, so the IIHF quickly moved to postpone the tournament to a later date.

Because the event has an age limit on it, there weren’t a lot of options on when the hockey’s international governing body could reschedule the tournament. So, we find ourselves here in August preparing for a tournament that typically kicks off the day after Christmas.

All games that were played in December have been wiped from the record books and Russia has been banned from the tournament due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. That leaves the tournament with 10 participating nations, with all games to be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, from August 9th to the 20th.

Lukas Cormier (Canada), Matyas Sapovaliv (Czechia), Jakub Demek (Slovakia), and Carl Lindbom (Sweden) are the four Golden Knights who will participate in this summer’s event.

Cormier, the smooth-skating offensive-minded defenseman, will likely play a key role for a Canadian team with eight drafted defensemen including #1 overall pick in 2021, Owen Power. Cormier’s prowess on the power play should see him getting significant special teams time. The biggest question mark will be where he lands on the depth chart at even-strength. Is he a top-four guy or does he play a sheltered role on the third pair?

Sapovaliv came into camp with a cloud above his skating. It was clear on the ice that he’s not the fastest player, but overall the skating did not slow him down in the scrimmages. His forechecking was elite for the group on the ice and he made a lot more plays than the scouting reports suggested he would. He’ll probably be used in a defensive role in this tournament, likely playing 3rd or 4th line minutes with penalty killing duties.

Demek did not attend Dev Camp which was likely to make sure he was fully healthy for this tournament. He’s one of just seven drafted players on the Slovakian team, including Juraj Slafkovsky, this year’s #1 overall pick. Hopefully, Demek gets a chance to play with Slafkovsky either on a line or on the power play. If he does, it should give a bit more of a glimpse into where he is compared to a player who is probably going to make his NHL debut in October.

Lindbom was solid in the goal during Camp, which was an improvement over his performance in the rookie games in Phoenix. There are three goalies on Team Sweden, both of which were selected much earlier in the Draft than Lindbom. Jesper Wallstedt was picked 20th overall in 2021 while Calle Clang went 77th in 2020. If Lindbom plays over these two, it will be a strong statement. If he doesn’t, while disappointing, not much should be made of it at this point.

Pacioretty On Laid Back Atmosphere In Las Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you’re looking for critical stories on the Golden Knights, there aren’t many places beyond this site to find them.

Between the adolescent nature of the Las Vegas professional sports media scene to the simple fact that there wasn’t much to criticize for the first few years the Golden Knights were here, the overall vibe locally on the city’s first major pro team is generally positive.

In turn, helped along by the fact that the team owns and operates the TV and radio broadcasts, and will go to great lengths to find the positive in even the direst of situations, the fan base strongly leans towards optimism as well.

One former Golden Knight wonders if that cushy environment could actually work against the team in some ways.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When I first got (to Vegas) it was weird that there was like no accountability. And I’m not talking about in the team I’m talking about like ever, you couldn’t feel pressure coming off anyone else, from the coach to the management. There was a relief when I got there but then I found myself being like I’ve got to reel this in and hold myself to a higher standard which I had always done but maybe I got away from it when I had everyone else holding me accountable (in Montreal). –Max Pacioretty on Raw Knuckles Podcast

When Pacioretty first arrived in Las Vegas, he couldn’t wait to shed the responsibilities that come with being the captain of an Original Six team. For months he spoke about how much easier it was coming to the rink without the weight of unreasonable expectations that come from Canadian media.

But then, after four full seasons in Vegas, and admitted growth in himself as a person, he feels quite differently about the situation.

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Max Pacioretty Speaks Glowingly About Pete DeBoer

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the Golden Knights head into season six with their third different head coach, the two previous will each stand behind an NHL bench vying for the same prize neither they nor Vegas have yet to secure.

Gerard Gallant will attempt to build on a magical playoff run that had the New York Rangers within two wins of the Stanley Cup Final. While Pete DeBoer will take over the team that has ended the Golden Knights’ season two of the last three years in the Dallas Stars.

When Gallant was let go in the middle of Vegas’ third season, players were not shy to talk about how much he will be missed and the shock of seeing him let go. But for DeBoer, being relieved of his duties a few weeks into the offseason, public comment from Golden Knights players on his departure have been sparing.

That was until a now former Golden Knight spoke glowingly about him in a recent podcast episode.

Pete DeBoer, probably the best coach I’ve had to date in terms of getting the best of me. He said “I always notice on the scoresheet when you have a bad first period or a bad couple shifts that you have like five or six hits. We don’t need you running around like an idiot. Your job is to score goals and create offense.” It was so relieving to hear because it was so ingrained in me that if you aren’t scoring you have to make a name for yourself. But it’s like don’t run yourself out of position when it’s your job to create offense. –Max Pacioretty on Raw Knuckles Podcast

Pacioretty said DeBoer’s meticulous system was a big reason why the Golden Knights were constantly in the mix to win the Cup.

He’s a very good coach. Systematically I don’t think there’s anybody in the league like him. You knew exactly where to be in all areas of the ice. Our D-zone structure was flawless. The second he came in there was no confusion, you knew exactly where to be at all times. –Pacioretty on Raw Knuckles Podcast

DeBoer will take that “flawless” structure to Dallas while Bruce Cassidy will attempt to instill his own virtues on the Golden Knights moving forward.

No one is denying that the Golden Knights are in good hands under Cassidy, but the string of positive remarks about the previous two coaches would have anyone wondering if coaching has ever been the issue in Vegas.

Allan Walsh: Carolina Intentionally Exposed Vegas’ Cap Mismanagement

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan for… nothing.

Well, technically it was for “future considerations,” but if you’ve ever seen what comes of those, “nothing” is basically synonymous.

The Golden Knights spun it as a cap maneuver that helped them re-sign Reilly Smith and will eventually allow them to bring back Nic Roy, Nic Hague, and Keegan Kolesar, but the hockey world viewed it much differently.

For the third (fourth? fifth? I’m honestly losing track) time in the past two years the Golden Knights were being laughed at for an embarrassing move that seemed unfathomable for a Cup contender. From Marc-Andre Fleury to either Evgenii Dadonov trade to the Robin Lehner injury saga to this, hockey nation has not been short on ammo to use to rip Vegas.

Now we find out, the Carolina Hurricanes did it on purpose. Or so says agent Allan Walsh.

There were several other GMs around the league that mentioned to me that they thought the way the trade was structured was intentional on Carolina’s part. That there was a little bit of a message being delivered here. Could it have been a 7th round pick or a 6th round pick? I think Carolina intentionally said “nuh uh we’ll do this but we’re going to make it future considerations” because it kind of embarrassed Vegas to have to do that. And in many ways it exposed their cap mismanagement. –Allan Walsh on Agent Provocateur Podcast

Walsh continued.

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