It’s no secret, the Golden Knights are getting very little offense from there defense. Overall, the low production from their blue line could be a concern going forward. Sure, power play specialist Colin Miller appears ready to return to the lineup but even with him it may not be enough.
I think sometimes we’re complicated things too much. My job and Millsey’s and Schmitty’s, the guys that are back there, we have to do a better job controlling it. Instead of setting up a play and try and seam it, we just have to get pucks through. -Shea Theodore
At first glance, 97 combined points from the Golden Knights defense doesn’t look that bad, but when you look around the league it’s a very low total.
Points from Vegas defenseman in 2018-19
Theodore 21 Points (5 Goals, 16 Assists)
Miller 17 Points (2 Goals, 15 Assists)
Schmidt 16 Points (4 Goals, 12 Assists)
Holden 13 Points (3 Goals, 10 Assists)
McNabb 12 Points (1 Goal, 11 Assists)
Hunt 7 Points (2 Goals, 5 Assists)
Engelland 6 Points (1 Goals, 5 Assists)
Merrill 5 Points (1 Goal, 4 Assists)
97 Total Points from VGK defenseman
19 Goals, 78 Assists
In just the Pacific Division alone, defensemen are putting up Norris trophy type numbers.
Top 5 Defensemen in Points
Brent Burns SJ: 52 Points(9 Goals, 43 Assists)
Mark Giordano CAL: 48 Points(9 Goals, 38 Assists)
Morgan Reilly TOR: 47 Points(13 Goals, 34 Assists)
Erik Karlsson SJ: 43 Points(3 Goals, 40 Assists)
John Carlson WAS: 43 Points(6 Goals, 37 Assists)
Up in San Jose, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson’s combined offense is roughly the same as the entire Vegas defensive unit. Calgary’s captain Mark Giordano has been heavily involved all season, and on pace for a career-high offensively. When you go through the rest of the contenders in the Western Conference, Vegas has the lowest threat from the blue line.
San Jose: 143 Points (Goals, Assists)
Nashville: 125 (Goals, Assists)
Calgary: 116 Points (Goals, Assists)
Winnipeg: 104 Points (Goals, Assists)
San Jose and Nashville are loaded with blue line scoring, what’s new right? Predators have even been down one of their weapons PK Subban to injury. Like Vegas with Miller, Winnipeg’s blue line lumber, Dustin Byfuglien has also played limited games this season. So, you have to wonder if the Jets are searching for defensive help for the postseason.
Thinking out loud, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been rumored to be on the market. As we know, Winnipeg and St. Louis have made deals in the past. Heck, maybe they’ll be a good old fashioned bidding war at the deadline.
Now, Vegas certainly feels comfortable with their defensive unit shutting down opponents. But it’s tough to rely on them to pick up a big goal, or even a point on the power play, which are both essential in the playoffs. The Golden Knights defense scored 11 of the 57 goals by Vegas in the postseason. Oh, and 4 of 12 power play goals in the playoffs.
Last year, our strong suit was the simplicity of the power play. We were getting those bounded and greasy goals around the net. We have to get back to that for sure. -Shea Theodore
VGK PP Points vs West Contender PP Points
VGK: 4 PP Goals, 17 Assists
San Jose: 8 PP Goals (Burns 5, Karlsson 2), 32 Assists(Burns 15, Kansas 15)
Nashville: 4 Goals, 19 Assists
Calgary: 2 Goals, 18 Assists (Giordano 14 Assists)
Winnipeg: 5 PP Goals, 28 Assists
George McPhee could become anxious around the February trade deadline if his defense doesn’t begin to produce. I suspect he may address third line scoring, but maybe an offensive defenseman is the answer.
Let’s be clear, I’m no GM, but I know a guy… And he would activate a young, highly-rated scoring defenseman playing in the AHL that rhymes with Derik Crammstrom.