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DeBoer Hopeful Center-less Power Play Unit Won’t Become An Issue

The Golden Knights had just one power play in their first game, but those two minutes were the perfect illustration of the challenge facing the coaching staff in creating their power play units this season.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With two elite power play quarterbacks on the team, the Golden Knights knew they needed to find a way to ice two units both stocked with scoring talent.

The first looks like a normal dominant #1 power play unit. Alex Pietrangelo is the lone defenseman with Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, and PP wunderkind Cody Glass. It’s the kind of stuff that gives opposing teams’ penalty kill nightmares.

It’s the second unit where things get interesting. Shea Theodore plays alongside Alec Martinez with a trio of forwards including Alex Tuch, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith. It has the potential to be a great unit, but for one issue, there’s no one to take the draws.

Well, I don’t know if we’re comfortable (not having a center on the unit). It’s not the optimum situation obviously. Right now we’re trying to put our two best units together. We love the feel of the two units when they get the puck and get set up so we’re willing to give up a little in the faceoff department to get started. -Pete DeBoer

On that single power play last night, the concern came to the forefront immediately. After a strong 45 seconds by the first unit including a few shot attempts from Pietrangelo, the second group came out for an offensive zone faceoff. Tuch lost the draw and the Ducks quickly cleared the zone. The Golden Knights took a bit of time trying to re-enter the zone, never fully did on three tries, and an offside call forced another draw outside of the zone.

At that moment, with 30 seconds left on the PP clock, the Golden Knights flipped right back to the first unit.

It was an area of emphasis for us in the offseason and adding Pietrangelo definitely gave us the option of having two elite quarterbacks, two units, rather than a 1A and 1B. It’s critical, especially the deeper you go in the playoffs and the better the opponent those little details, the special teams, faceoffs, separate the teams at that point. -DeBoer

The Golden Knights have two bonafide #1 units, but without a reliable option to win faceoffs, it’s likely they will be forced into situations similar to the one they faced last night where they have to default back to the first unit on any draw.

In practice today, the second unit was moving the puck around with ease, even scoring one of the nicest tic-tac-toe goals you’ll ever see. So, clearly, when they have the puck, they have a real chance to be dangerous. But, how long will DeBoer put up with it if they don’t?

We’re hopeful the faceoff situation, guys will dig in, guys will help each other, some guys will become better at it and it won’t become an issue but it’s something that if we can’t get fixed with the personnel we have we might have to look at some different options. -Deboer

Maximizing the power play talents of both Theodore and Pietrangelo will be crucial in the long-term success of the Golden Knights this season.

There’s reason to believe these units could offer just that, but there’s also reason for concern that they won’t.

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30 Comments

  1. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    It’s only ONE game! They will figure this out. In my opinion, right now, it’s really a non-issue. This happened on ONE PP, in ONE game. An over reaction, I think!

    • So you just completely ignore DeBoer’s comments on it?

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        Yea, he said, like I said, they will work it out! Crap Ken, it’s one game, come on dude!

        • So… You just completely ignore DeBoer’s comments? (The article may never have been written had he not said what he said about it. At the very least it’s a different type of article.)

      • I am concerned about center position on the knights in general. One thing knights have never emphasized is an elite center. William Karlson is amazing but he is not the kind of guy you can’t take your eyes off when he has the puck. I see it hard to get the cup without one dominant center or two dynamic guys. I see MacKinnon, Ryan O’reilly, Logan Couture, Braden Point, tyler Seguin all in that upper level dominant thst knights don’t have …..of course, crosby , matthews McDavid,Tavares ….

  2. Daryl

    I think I would rather have Theo on the #1 PP Unit instead of Petra. And the problem with the #2 Unit is the same problem they will have with their regular lines which is the same problem most of us have stated since the end of last year

  3. Donald Rehrer Jr

    We will see how this works or doesn’t in a few more games, one game is not enough to critique the PP.

    • Who critiqued? This is an article showing what they are planning on doing, why they are doing it, and what to look for in the next few games.

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        Saying: “but there’s also reason for concern that they won’t”. Is that not a critique, or just said to start something negative, already? Not sure which. You sound kind of defensive today Kenny. You ok there? 😉

  4. Paul T

    Nice article! I’m excited to see how this pans out. Those are some awesome PP lines, hopefully it looks as good on ice as it does on paper.

  5. FG

    Wondering what you thought about the position of Cody Glass on the first unit. He seemed to be in front of the net, yet if my memory serves me, his highlight PP passing was from beneath the goal line.

    • I actually like Glass pretty much anywhere on the PP. I just hope they show multiple looks to teams. Rotate guys into different spots as the PP goes on. I think they’ll do just that and I think that unit will thrive.

  6. Tim

    An interesting thought when it came to face-offs Paul Stansty was our best now it’s a problem. If you watched the World Juniors you noticed Payton Krebs took most of the face-offs for Canada. Now the pro’s are a whole different game but could he develop into a good pro face-off candidate?

  7. Michael Johnson

    Nick Roy was good in the AHL, better even than Cody Glass. Who don’t they try him at PP2 center.

  8. Gary Potter

    Ken, thanks. You make it much easier to understand.

  9. Robert Bailey

    I would like to see the second unit with Stephenson or Roy replacing Martinez. Theo is used to being the lone defensemen . That would give you somebody to take draws.

    • Daryl

      A lot of teams only use one defenseman on the first line and two on the 2nd mainly because in the drop off from FO%. I think is even more true for VGK since they aren’t using a Center on that Unit. I wish they would switch Petra and Theo though

  10. Marsh Munroe

    Sorry.Debooor still not firing me or vgk up. Just cant get used to him behind bench. No emotion.
    Just my opinion. MM

    • LOL

      Good thing he doesn’t ever have to worry about you playing for him….

      • Daryl

        No, but he had a group of guys that do play for him and we have yet to see him motivate those guys

    • DOC (Go Knights Go)

      Better get used to it.. He’s here to stay and I’m glad for it. Shock at first when he became coach, but that’s been a year now. He looks good behind our bench!

      • Daryl

        Yeah he looks good behind the bench… standing there with no emotions, not making changes or adjustments, and making early excuses for an early post season exit.

  11. Frankly Ken I am surprised you respond to some of the comments – you obviously can tell they don’t or can’t read so continually asking if they do seems rather a waste of your time. You could get everyone in a uproar next by discussing the Elite Walrus flopping around like a fish out of water – certainly not the most agile individual.

  12. Hi Daryl- guess you watched the game and saw the same thing. Certainly not as agile as flower.

  13. Marsh Munroe

    I did not start it but size is Robin best trait. The goals the other night were very easy for Ducks. Hopefully Debooor start MAF tonight and he plays well. Please watch head coaches on other teams how they interact with there team.

    • Marsh – size is a deterrent when your on your knees and can’t get up or around. Those two goals the Ducks got demonstrated that in spades.

  14. David

    Flip Karlsson and Tuch, problem solved.
    Should be that way anyway to keep the second line together.
    Stone is decent on draws as well so each unit will have a backup for faceoffs (Stone/Marchy).

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