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Continued Reliance On Offense From Defense In New System?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the course of his first few weeks as the head coach of the Golden Knights, Bruce Cassidy has shared quite a bit of information on his preferred systems of play. One of the constants that has come up is his appetite to see the puck on the sticks of the forwards a bit more in the offensive zone.

That’s not to say Cassidy is completely against the low-to-high play the Golden Knights have grown accustomed to using, but it’s not going to be Plan A as it has been for the past few years.

With it comes a fairly large concern due to the point distribution Vegas has seen over the past few seasons under Pete DeBoer.

Last year, Vegas defensemen scored 47 goals or 18% of the total output for the team. They had three players (Pietrangelo, Theodore, Whitecloud) with at least seven goals and saw the blue line generate almost a quarter (24.2%) of all team points.

Offense from defensemen has become a staple of the Golden Knights’ identity and they’ve just hired a head coach that certainly does not operate his offensive system the same way.

In his five full seasons behind the bench in Boston, defensemen never accounted for more than 34 goals in a season, typically amassed between 11-12% of the team’s goal-scoring output, and saw just three players in the last four years combined (McAvoy, Krug, McAvoy) score seven or more goals in a season.

GoalsGoals/Game% of Team GoalsPointsPts/Game% of Team Points
2021-22 VGK470.570.1791672.040.242
2020-21 VGK360.640.1891422.540.275
2019-20 VGK340.480.1521331.870.230
2021-22 BOS310.380.1231411.720.201
2020-21 BOS180.320.1101001.790.223
2019-20 BOS320.460.1411442.060.236
2018-19 BOS310.380.1211551.890.222
2017-18 BOS340.410.1271621.980.223

For a few seasons in Boston, Cassidy had both Krug and McAvoy and yet still the numbers are significantly lower than what we’re used to in Vegas.

However, the newest hire, John Stevens, has a history of high output from his defensemen. Last year his Dallas team was a bit underwhelming but the season as the head coach in Los Angeles and then a few before it have shown similar numbers to the Golden Knights.

GoalsGoals/Game% of Team GoalsPointsPts/Game% of Team Points
2021-22 DAL300.370.1291662.020.260
2017-18 LAK400.490.1681892.300.284
2016-17 LAK370.450.1861551.890.287
2013-14 LAK360.440.1821491.820.277
2011-12 LAK440.540.2341421.730.275

Stevens’s teams consistently had three players with at least seven goals per year (usually Doughty, Martinez, and Muzzin) and he saw about 28% of point production come from the blue line.

Cassidy has vowed to continue pushing for the Golden Knights to be a strong transition team, but expects to see the power play run through the forwards much more than defensemen in 2021-22.

Pietrangelo and Theodore’s production has been crucial to VGK’s success over the past three seasons, especially in the playoffs (Theodore in 2020 and Pietrangelo in 2021). It will be intriguing to see how it all fits together between the dominant blue line duo, Cassidy, and Stevens.


Golden Knights Mount Rushmores


Collaborative Effort Between McPhee And McCrimmon Continues As It Has Since Year 1


  1. THE hockey GOD


    According to Russian news reports, goalie Ivan Fedotov, who signed with Philadelphia in May, was detained in that country on Friday for evading military service. One report said he was transported to a military enlistment office.

    “We’re aware of the reports and are investigating the situation,” Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said in a statement. “We have no further comment at this time.”

    FUCK PUTIN and the Russian orc army

  2. THE hockey GOD


    Websites like CapFriendly and PuckPedia do a lot of this legwork, but teams were officially informed of all overages this week. The cap is $82.5 million, but for some clubs it will be less than that due to performance bonuses.

    Here are those 14 teams, and how much they are affected:

    Vancouver: $1.25 million

    Montreal: $1,132,500

    St. Louis: $1.1 million

    Edmonton: $896,000

    Dallas: $675,000

    Florida and Los Angeles: $637,500

    Philadelphia: $295,000

    Islanders: $245,795

    Chicago: $237,500

    Toronto: $212,500

    Carolina: $112,500

    Washington: $100,000

    Colorado: $25,000

  3. THE hockey GOD

    Logo of the Vegas Golden Knights
    PROJECTED CAP HIT Tooltip : $85,157,143
    PROJECTED LTIR USED Tooltip : $0
    PROJECTED CAP SPACE Tooltip : $0 (-$2,657,143 Tooltip)
    CURRENT CAP SPACE Tooltip : $0
    DEADLINE CAP SPACE Tooltip : $0
    TODAYS CAP HIT Tooltip : $85,157,143
    ROSTER SIZE: 16/23
    CONTRACTS: 37/50
    RESERVE LIST: 46/90
    GENERAL MANAGER: Kelly McCrimmon
    HEAD COACH: Bruce Cassidy

    source Cap Friendly

  4. JockEnvy

    Went away and came back and it’s the same clown clogging up these comment sections. I bet his mom makes the best pizza rolls.

  5. LouDog777

    THG – The “PROJECTED LTIR USED Tooltip” literally makes no sense. The entire reason to bring on Weber’s contract was to put him on LTIR to be able to sign some of our RFA/FA’s. Unless we flipped the contract already . . .

    • Lou Dog777,

      There is a common misconception on this website LTIR doesn’t help during the regular season teams still can only play with a $82.5 million roster it adds no value. The reason we picked up the LTIR was to save sending a second or third round pick in the Dadonov trade.

  6. Emmanuel

    The cap is WAY more complicated than it should be.

  7. Tim

    These Russian hockey players are probably scared shitless to go home with the hammer ready to come down on them. Play hockey in North America or go home and get drafted in the army to defend Mother Russia.

  8. Tim,

    Defend mother Russia? I think you meant to say invade the Ukraine and destroy every living thing in it..

    • Tim

      VGK, Mother Russia has been pushing the envelope for a long time. I’ll tell you my personal experience with Mother Russia. I was stationed in Germany when JFK was assassinated and the word was there Russians killed him needless to say we went on high alert. They were half right Oswald did spend time in Russia so we were close to getting into some shit but fortunately it all calmed down. For most of you this is history you weren’t even born yet but for me it was the real deal.

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