It’s hot take time. Using our favorite format, we’ll be sharing some of our off-the-wall opinions on how we see the 2023-24 season going for the Golden Knights. At the end of each article, we’ll also share some of our favorites from the SinBin Discord. Ken’s first, Jason tomorrow.
Call me crazy, but Adin Hill will receive more Vezina votes than Linus Ullmark and Ilya Sorokin combined… and still not win the award.
It’s weird that it almost feels like expecting Adin Hill to be good is a hot take. After the insane run he went on in the postseason there’s an expectation of regression from most. However, I don’t have it, at least in the short term. I expect Hill to step right back into the goal and continue doing exactly what he did in his 16 playoff appearances. He’s a perfect fit to tend the VGK goal when the defense is clicking, which I expect it to be for most of the season.
Call me crazy, but VGK’s power play will finish in the Top 10 in the NHL this season.
Power play futility has been a talking point surrounding the Golden Knights for years now and even though it really didn’t get a lot better last year, winning the Cup has diminished its importance. The pressure is off and with it should come a much simpler approach with the man advantage.
Plus, when Mark Stone was in the lineup last year, the power play wasn’t half bad. It operated at 21.9% in the playoffs and seemed to be improving as the run went on. Maybe the craziest part of all of this though is that I don’t expect it to look much different, they’ll just shoot a little more, which will mean more rebounds and more success.
Call me crazy, but Paul Cotter will outscore Ivan Barbashev.
If you listen to our podcast, you’ll already know that I’m about as low on Barbashev as anyone. It’s not that I think he’s a bad player or that he isn’t a good fit for what the Golden Knights need, he definitely is. It’s that his production last year was beyond anything he’s ever done in the past that I’m skeptical he’ll be able to keep it up. In his first 50 playoff games, he’d scored three goals and added six assists. Then, with VGK, Barbashev posted 18 points in 22 playoff games including seven goals on 32 shots (21.9% shooting). Regression seems inevitable, especially if he ever finds himself on a line without Eichel and Marchessault.
As for Cotter, I see him as the Swiss army knife for Bruce Cassidy this year. I fully expect him to make the roster out of camp and start on Opening Night against Seattle. From there, I believe he’ll see time on all four lines playing with all sorts of different players. Ultimately though, I think he’ll settle in on a line with either Stone or Eichel, and from there his scoring will skyrocket.
Call me crazy, but the Golden Knights will break the franchise record for both the longest winning and longest losing streak in a regular season.
Motivation may be a problem this season at different times, it’s just human nature. The longest losing streak in franchise history is five games (remember that horrendous round trip in 2021-22), so breaking that record isn’t even that difficult, especially if you throw in a shootout loss or two.
On the flip side, this team clearly knows how to win, and I truly believe they’ll have the ability to turn it on whenever they feel like it. It wouldn’t shock me if the longest winning streak (which is 10) gets broken quickly after they experience the longest losing streak. If the team is healthy and committed to defending, there’s no other team in the league that can beat them. There will come a point where they decide it’s go time and they’ll smash everyone in their wake for a little while.
We asked members of our Discord community to share some of their bold predictions. Here are some of our favorites.
Call me crazy, but not only does Jack Eichel get PK time, he leads the league in shorthanded goals with 6.
Call me crazy, but Vegas won’t be shutout this season.
Call me crazy, but Pavel Dorofeyev, Brendan Brisson, or Paul Cotter will play their way into the top 6 by the end of the year.
Call me crazy, but Brendan Brisson will not play for VGK on the NHL level.
Call me crazy, but I think Dorofeyev in Vegas will outscore Smith & Barbashev in terms of goals.
Call me crazy, but Reilly Smith will return as a Knight mid-season.
Call me crazy, but Jiri Patera goes 14-6-2 with a .921 SV% and 2.35 GAA for VGK this year.
Call me crazy, but not only will the Knights go back to back but Lehner will win Conn Smythe