After Wednesday’s loss to the St. Louis Blues, Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said his team needed to find a way to score three goals per night. Averaging 3+ goals per game almost guarantees an NHL team, and specifically the Golden Knights, a victory or at worse an overtime loss.
In 2020-21, the Golden Knights were 35-2-1 when they scored three or more goals in a game. Also, ten games ended in an overtime period or shootouts capturing at least one point.
So let’s pretend the Golden Knights will be without their weapons for 20 games. It could be more, hopefully less, but the length of time Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone are on the shelf won’t matter for this exercise.
The idea here is to try and add up averages to see if it’s actually possible for this lineup as currently constructed to reach three goals consistently.
Thanks to DeBoer, he solved the first part of the equation for us.
"We've got to find 3 goals a night some way some how." -DeBoer
Says he knows the Misfit Line will get one a night and they have to figure out where the other two are coming from.
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) October 21, 2021
We can all agree the Misfit line will need to average a goal per game. If not, scoring three will be next to impossible. +1
So where can Vegas find some emergency offense?
Dadonov – Stephenson – Roy
Chandler Stephenson has been an unsung hero since his arrival. With Vegas he’s averaged 0.35 points per game, 0.15 more than he averaged in Washington. Obviously, Stephenson is at his best in between Pacioretty and Stone but now he has to produce without his stout linemates. If the 27-year-old can use his speed up ice he should create opportunities for Evgenii Dadonov and Nic Roy. A few good offensive rushes a game and the current second line should be a factor each night.
Stephenson can facilitate but he’ll need Dadonov at his best to impact the scoresheet. In 2018-19, the Russian winger was close to a point per game player. He ended the season with 28 goals and 17 power play points. If Dadonov can revive those numbers DeBoer would confidently call on the Stephenson line when the Misfits needed some rest. Roy’s speed and size should complement his mates and may benefit by his opponents focusing on others. Based on career bests, the second line trio is a 0.65 goals/points per game line. Matching their nightly averages is highly ambitious but in the absence of Pacioretty and Stone 0.65 per game would be an enormous boost for the ailing Golden Knights. +0.65
*1 + 0.65 = 1.65 Potential Goals Per Game*
Krebs – Patrick – Kolesar
It’s time we start calling the present third trio as the Wild Card line. As long as they are together, it’s impossible to handicap a line of three inexperienced kids. Nolan Patrick and Peyton Krebs are former first-round picks, and Keegan Kolesar was selected in the third. Chances are they are a year away from their talent breakout and becoming a true problem for opponents.
Although it’s a small sample size all three players share similar points per game averages. When breaking down their production, the Wild Card line could create 0.30 goals/points per game. However, that number could be way low due to the limited ice time and chances. Optimistically, the third line can grind out 0.35-0.40 goals per game. For now, let’s give them .35. Even if they shuffle the middle-six, there should be a goal per game there to be had. +0.35
*1 + 0.65 + 0.35 = 2 Potential Goals Per Game*
Now, let’s dig deeper and find another goal.
Howden – Janmark/Leschyshyn – Carrier
Sure, there are some uncertainties with the bottom line and realistically VGK’s coach won’t have high expectations on a nightly basis. Which forces DeBoer to look elsewhere for one more red light. +0.10
*1 + 0.65 + 0.35 + 0.10 = 2.10 Potential Goals Per Game*
Before getting into contributions from the defense and special teams, this fuzzy math is starting to look like it’s a real possibility Vegas can squeak out three a night. Especially, when Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore are hovering the blue line waiting for the puck. Adding together their averages, we can expect 24 goals over an 82 game schedule. The remaining four defenseman have their hands full defending so it’s unrealistic to expect much more. +0.34
*1 + 0.65 + 0.35 + 0.10 + 0.34 = 2.44 Potential Goals Per Game*
The Golden Knights power play is a continuous work in progress. If the players and coaches finally figure it out DeBoer won’t be sweating out a third goal. But… if it keeps going the way it has been, it’s only going to serve as a negative. +???
1 + 0.65 + 0.35 + 0.10 + 0.34 + ??? = 2.44 Potential Goals Per Game
Of course DeBoer would rather three guaranteed goals but maybe his team won’t need them every night. When goaltender Robin Lehner is sharp in net he can lead the Golden Knights to a handful of tight 2-1 or 1-0 games. Lehner may end up being the most valuable player during Pacioretty and Stone’s time off.
Final Sum: 2.44 Goals For Per Game
The final tally certainly shouldn’t be written in stone but the conclusion to this exercise is scoring three goals per contest will be a challenge for the current Golden Knights lineup.
Let’s hope everything my high school algebra teacher Mr. Mooney taught was incorrect and Vegas ends up recording 3.5 per game.