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College Football Metrics Point Vegas To The Playoffs

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Each year NFL and NCAA football experts publicly predict the fate of every franchise or program in the country. Many have made a living off their accuracy. I’m an enormous college football fan and found Phil Steele to be an incredibly knowledgeable analyst. Steele’s must-read annual season preview is jam-packed with valuable information. Historically, he’s been successful in forecasting whether teams will improve or decline from their previous season. Steele and his fellow prognosticators like to use certain formulas to lead them to their conclusions.

Some ways to project a team’s rise or fall is through certain factors, even unlucky factors. These can be costly turnovers, execution breakdowns, and yep, even injuries apply. For fun let’s use Steele’s formula to predict if the Golden Knights will improve next season.

The Turnover Battle

One fumble or interception can critically change a football game. Obviously, we cannot compare the severity of football turnovers to a giveaway in hockey. Sure, a giveaway (GvA) can lead to a scoring opportunity but NHL players aren’t benched for surrendering a puck to make a line change.

Last season Vegas turned the puck over 8.20 times per game. They were 16th in the league with a total of 681 giveaways in 2021-22. A stark difference from the previous season.

VGK Giveaways Per Game (NHL Rank)
2021-22: 8.20 GvA (16th)
2020-21: 5.51 GvA (2nd)
2019-20: 8.19 GvA (8th)
2018-17: 8.60 GvA (10th)
2017-18: 8.93 GvA (15th)

Although Vegas turned the puck over at a higher rate than half the league, it wasn’t a drastic change from franchise averages. In fact, the organization’s best team had more giveaways than last season’s non-playoff lineup. Overall, the Golden Knights are 10th in the league for the least amount of giveaways since 2017. That alone suggests improvement to Vegas’ puck protection problems.

Tight Game Outcomes

Another metric to project improvement is a club’s record in one-score games. The college football galaxy usually balances itself out and teams that lose close games go on to win more of them the following season. The same can happen in hockey, or at least with the Golden Knights. Last season Vegas lost the seventh most one-goal games and won the 12th most one-goal games. Roughly 30% of VGK’s season was decided by one score. Since 2017, the Golden Knights are fifth in the NHL with 89 one-goal victories. Historically, Vegas has won the majority of tight games. That should reappear.

Lost Players

It doesn’t matter which sport, unexpected injuries will topple any team. The Golden Knights had never been as depleted as they were last year. Injuries to Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, Alec Martinez, and others gutted the roster and were a huge reason for the team missing the playoffs. We should anticipate injuries but it’s safe to say it won’t be like last season. Based on their five-year history, Vegas fans can expect a healthier lineup in 2022-23.


No matter what formula you use or how ridiculous the exercise was to get the conclusion, all signs point towards the postseason for the Golden Knights. Fans should expect exciting and successful hockey. Vegas should have better outcomes in tight games and fewer injured players. If all comes to fruition, the Golden Knights will most certainly compete for a top seed in the Pacific Division. They may struggle to score but Vegas is talented enough to make a run. With a healthy Martinez, Smith, and Stone the Golden Knights are a much more intimidating team. It’s just too bad they can’t sign some of the blue-chip prospects from Alabama or Georgia.


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  1. They SHOULD make the playoffs and once youre in anything can happen. Roster wise they are a better playoffs team.

  2. Unfortunately, the Golden Knights won’t make the playoffs for at least 5 years. The team is in disarray, before any continuity can be established, the stars of the present stars team will be in their last years. So the only hope is future draft choices and that takes time. The Knights are in no position to compete against teams like Edmonton, Colorado, or Winnipeg to say the least.

    • Nick


    • THE hockey GOD

      welcome to jungle NED BRAND

      everyone here is entitled to an opinion, no matter what.

      Just don’t get on my bad side. Have a donut, see my post below.

  3. Ken

    No one can make a statement like yours Ned and take you seriously ! I personally think the Knights will have a good chance to make playoffs this year!

    • THE hockey GOD

      i expect the new coach Herr Cassidy, to light a fire on this team, and for them to rebound.

      Whether it’s good enough is another question.

      Will have players on IR at start of season, But it’s not the start that counts, it is how you finish. As we learned last season.


  4. Pete

    It does seem like every time they turned the puck over it turned into a goal for the other team. I think eliminating that would make a world of difference. They don’t have a MAF or the same type of goalie in net to bail them out after bad turnovers like that first year team did.

  5. Hope springs eternal – they are a weaker than ever and are just hopeful the bottom doesn’t fall out. Reality is they are in deep do do with way to many dollars tied up in three less than totally health (Injury prone) players that could be sidelined at any time. They have depleted their less than great scoring opportunities (players) and don’t have any replacement in the pipe line that l can see. Actually a sad state at the present time.

  6. THE hockey GOD


    Iconic Southern California doughnut shop Randy’s Donuts is expanding to Las Vegas this month.

    According to a news release, Randy’s Doughnuts, which has been featured in countless movies and television shows as one of Los Angeles’ most known landmarks, will open its first Las Vegas Valley location on Aug. 16.

    The new Randy’s Doughnuts in Las Vegas is located at 2170 S. Rainbow Boulevard.

    In celebration of opening day, the eatery said it will celebrate its first Las Vegas location by sharing a free raised glazed donut with all guests from 6 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

    • Who cares – are you on their payroll or director of marketing? Honestly THg have you nothing better to do with your time than post all this crap. Explain to me what this kind of garbage has to do with VGK hockey.

      • THE hockey GOD

        ”””yummmmm Doughnuts” – Homer Simpson

        What kind of idiot does not like doughnuts ?

        Have a cookie, instead.

    • Pete

      I drive by that spot on my way to work every day….excited for them to open up

  7. Hate to pin it on one (or two) guys, but……. Eichel needs to show up this year and earn his $10 million salary – especially in the goal scoring department. Lehner needs to be far more consistent.

    That and if we can stay healthy, we make the playoffs 😉

    • THE hockey GOD

      would you be happy if no. 9 had 10 goals and 60 assists ?

  8. Blitz

    I guess I will just have to appreciate the fan optimism. I don’t have it with the current situation. They got rid of Patches, Dadonov, and Janmark and replaced them with nothing. The team has *almost* zero great shooters and has zero snipers. The team got a year older and injuries/fall-off will happen. Is Stone 100%? Can they get another top 6 forward to complete the 1st two lines? Will they gel under the new coach or how long will that take? Goalie chaos for sure. Can any one emerge out of the pipeline and earn at least a middle 6 spot? The team also has almost zero grit. I could probably keep going, but I want to wrap up.

    Moral is, I am a realistic sports fan. I praise when it’s deserved otherwise I call it as I see it, good or bad. To have a successful season this year I think the VGK need something to happen that is surprising. Maybe that is incredible health or a rising new star (or two) emerge. Goaltender(s) putting the team on their back. Otherwise we are just top heavy, cap bound, injury prone, will have trouble scoring, and no question some kind of goalie controversy.

    All that said. I’ll watch +90% of the games this year and I would love to be surprised! In all honesty, that is why I watch sports.

    • THE hockey GOD

      @ Blitz
      “badges? badges ? we don’t need no Freaking badges”

    • Mike StG


      My objection to your characterizations of the goal-scoring and injury situations are as follows:

      1) Eichel played games after a year and a half not playing due to the neck injury and surgery. And then playing on a new team with their best forwards for the most part on IR or LTIR – or, no consistent linemates or chemistry. Effectively IMO it was pretty much a lost season for him, when you add the broken thumb from March on. So when you (and others) say they didn’t replace Patch’s goals, why don’t you see Eichel as filling that gap and being the replacement for Max’s 30g (assuming Max could actually play most of the season w/o injury)? Everyone talks about what they “lost” without acknowledging what they’ll gain – in this case, the goals & points Eichel will add.

      2) So they traded Dadonov, but no one will skate in his place? They will only have a C and 1 winger on Line 3? What about the goals the player who will take his place will score? You DO realize that most of Dad’s 20 goals came after the trade reversal and several of those goals were assisted by Eichel, right? One of the reasons Dado was better late season is precisely because he played with Eichel, which should be similar for Jack’s future linemates.

      3) So they lost Janmark. Okay, so no one will skate in his place either? Just an empty roster spot? I don’t see how losing his 9 goals is so hard to replace. Carrier scored 9 goals last yr, and he’s no offensive dynamo.

      4) Besides the likelihood of Karlsson’s goal production increasing considerably in Cassidy’s system, Howden’s potential for improvement, and Marchie’s likely increase in goals assuming he plays on Jack’s wing, Vegas isn’t necessarily done with off-season moves yet. They could end up with Kessel or Stastny, both easily good for 20g.

      5) As far as injury-prone: most of last year’s injuries were related to blocked shots – Whitecloud, Karlsson, Max (2), Eichel. And this was part of PDB’s system – skaters needed to block shots, which is NOT Cassidy’s preference. The only real injuries that you could relate to either age or physical susceptibility to injury were Stone and Max (core injury late season). Max is now gone and Stone’s back surgery will hopefully allow him to return to form. Marty’s skate blade injury was a freak accident. And we don’t know the cause or nature of injuries to Hague and Smith (knee). To suggest that we can expect chronic, recurring injuries is just being pessimistic. I would expect to see fewer foot and hand fractures from blocked shots this year.

      I’m not saying they’re currently in a better place than they were last year, but if they sign either Stastny or Kessel I’d consider them easily be as good or better offensively.

  9. Vic

    Thanks Blitz. You summed things up perfectly.

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