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Cassidy’s Early Season Success Is What VGK Needs For 2022-23

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last season the Golden Knights got off to one of the worst starts in franchise history, starting 1-4-0 and then fighting back to 6-6-0 by early November. They quickly turned it around heading into 2022 at 22-12-0, but the cracks from October burst through in the new year and it eventually cost them a spot in the playoffs.

However, under new coach Bruce Cassidy, the Golden Knights should expect a much more rewarding beginning to the 2022-23 season.

Last season the Bruins point percentage was an even .600 on December 1st. In contrast, Pete DeBoer’s beaten-up Vegas team had a .545 points percentage after their opening two months. If Cassidy’s hot start trends continue it could be the difference between the Golden Knights watching or participating for a Stanley Cup

Vegas’ Worst Starts In Team History
2021-22: 12-10-0  .545 Pts%
2018-19: 14-12-1  .547 Pts%

Boston’s Season Starts Under Cassidy
2017-18: 12-8-4  .618 Pts%
2018-19: 14-7-4 .694 Pts%
2019-20: 18-3-5 .872 Pts%
2020-21: 12-5-2  .722 Pts%
2021-22: 12-8-0 .600 Pts%

There’s no need to rehash the value of getting off to a hot start. All but one Western Conference team to qualify for the postseason (LAK) were in better shape than Vegas by December 1st. It’s simple math, quick starts help alleviate the pressure down the stretch. Not to mention it’s not ideal to be chasing teams all season long. It could cause certain Golden Knights to be overused and the need to rely on injured players in the lineup.

WCF Contenders On December 1st, 2021
Calgary 13-4-5 (31 Points) .796 Pts%
Edmonton 16-5-0 (32 Points) .761 Pts%
Minnesota 16-6-1 (33 Points) .733 Pts%
Colorado 11-6-1 (25 Points) .657 Pts%
St. Louis 12-7-3 (27 Points) .656 Pts%
Dallas 11-7-2 (24 Points) .636 Pts%
Nashville 12-9-1 (25 Points) .584 Pts%

For Vegas to get off to a hot start next October they’ll need the help of their entire roster. With the uncertainty of Robin Lehner’s recovery time, the Golden Knights may need strong goaltending from Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit. Without Lehner, the pressure is on the Golden Knights offense to produce on a nightly basis and pray no one is sidelined as they work through the kinks of learning the new systems.

There are several demanding games in the early part of Vegas’ 82-game season. In their first ten games, the Golden Knights will play six postseason contenders. In November, Vegas will play eight of their fourteen games on the road. It’ll be a challenging month to say the least. However, add Cassidy to a healthy lineup and Vegas should have no problem picking up points against most teams they’ll face in October and November.

We can worry about the other four months later.

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10 Comments

  1. Tim

    Jason I agree with your breakdown my only issue is I’ve always believed every game was important. Don’t play that hard early and burn out which I always thought was ludicrous. Every game from game 1 to game 82 is important. Of coarse most will deny that was the general opinion even though we had a flame out in the second half of the year. I’m onboard with Cassidy and I think like Gallant he’s a winner where I never felt that way about DeBoer.

  2. knights fan in minny

    day 1 grab their attention

  3. the hockey God

    vgk was in first place half way through the season, it’s not how you start that is important; it is how you finish.

    These players are not machines, people who expect them to give 110% every day have never played the game; it doesn’t work that way in real world. Example, yesterday an out fielder for the Detroit Tigers made an error. First one in 444 games, it cost them the game by many analysts. Baseball is much like hockey. . Players are human, they play with injuries and sickness, and last year even with covid like symptoms. Some players never recovered from impact of covid.

  4. THE hockey God

    The Golden Knights have also extended qualifying offers to Nic Roy and Keegan Kolesar.

    Brett Howden, Dylan Ferguson and Ben Jones didn’t received offers.
    Quote Tweet
    Jesse Granger
    @JesseGranger_
    · 2h
    I can confirm Nic Hague, Jake Leschyshyn and Brayden Pachal have received their qualifying offers from the Golden Knights.

    Ben Jones will not be receiving a QO and will hit free agency. Dugan did not get one,

    Still waiting to hear on Roy, Kolesar, Howden, Rondbjerg & Ferguson.

    I am surprised Ferguson didn’t get an QO, I thought he was decent enough in organization with very little quality ghoulie depth

    • the hockey God

      nice galdom, best reply of day on that twitter feed ??
      >>>>

      Steven Ellis
      @StevenEllisTHN
      ·
      10h
      Chicago’s lineup next year, basically

      (Reichel) – Toews – Patrick Kane
      (Open) – (Open) – (Open)
      (Open) – (Open) – (Open)
      (Open) – (Open) – (Open)

      (Open) – Jones
      (Open) – (Open)
      (Open) – (Open)

  5. Obvious

    “ Without Lehner, the pressure is on the Golden Knights offense to produce”

    …. Here we go again. Since when has that happened? This year will be different though. Until psycho Lehner mails it in and the cabal who are at the end of their prime or close to it fail to produce and or get injured.

    Fat bastard has put this team in a tough spot that he blames everyone else for

  6. the hockey God

    what one expert in on going series called ‘what went wrong” says about vgk

    There were several key players missing from the lineup for the Golden Knights during the 2021-22 season. They missed big chunks of the year and it doesn’t come as a surprise that Vegas’ offensive struggles, especially when it came to finishing plays, were evident during the club’s second-half downfall. Max Pacioretty was limited to just 39 games, while Mark Stone played in 37 matches. Those are two chasm-sized holes on the top line that would be difficult for any team to overcome. Pacioretty and Stone were the top-two scorers on the team in each of the previous two years. Reilly Smith, who provides secondary scoring, suited up in 56 contests, while blueliner Alec Martinez only played in 26 games and number one netminder Robin Lehner made 44 appearances. Additionally, Jack Eichel dressed in 34 games after he recovered from disk replacement surgery.

    It typically feels like a cop out to blame injuries, but it certainly played a significant factor and the long list of Golden Knights on the sidelines brought on issues with the salary cap. Vegas has played it fairly fast and loose with the cap since coming into the league, while frequently going after high-profile players via trade and free agency. The team has been largely successful, while maintaining a win-now mindset, but it was bound to catch up to them eventually. Vegas may have to get creative this offseason in order to be cap compliant and getting some space for some additional flexibility should be an essential part of the game plan to avoid the problems that arose in 2021-22. Vegas was finally able to move Evgenii Dadonov with a trade to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Shea Weber’s contract. Weber isn’t expected to play again due to injuries. . The trade for Weber, who will end up on LTIR, is a start, but more moves will need to be made over the course of the offseason.

    The penalty kill experienced a far more dramatic drop off than the power play after going from first overall in 2020-21 to 21st in the NHL this past season. Only 12 teams gave up fewer power-play goals against than Vegas, but the Golden Knights were shorthanded a league-low 208 times.

    The organization decided to move on from head coach Peter DeBoer in the offseason and Vegas was able to scoop up former Boston Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy after he was surprisingly let go. DeBoer managed to land on his feet as well with a head coaching job for the Dallas Stars. Cassidy is expected to improve the special teams play of the Golden Knights. Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon said that was a major point of emphasis behind the decision to hire Cassidy.

  7. Jim Naysium

    Cheese! That is all.

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