As the injuries continue to stack up for the Golden Knights, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the similarities to last season. I don’t think it’s necessary to remind anyone of the overall picture of what happened last year, but the specifics certainly tell a story that looks somewhat ominous for this year.
It all starts with the difference in roster construction which gave last year’s team a massive head start when it comes to dealing with injuries.
Both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 teams played their first game of the regular season with a healthy roster totaling $75.2 million. This year, that was missing just William Carrier. Last year, it was missing Carrier, Alex Tuch, Nic Roy, Brett Howden, and Mattias Janmark. Thus, that’s a difference of $8.3 million in injured, but eventually expected to be available, players.
In other words, while the team played opening night last year with five man games lost, they were actually icing the exact same value of healthy roster as this year’s team.
Then, 10 games into the season, the Golden Knights increased their value of injured players when they traded Alex Tuch for Jack Eichel. Once that trade happened, Vegas had between $92-94 million in players either on the ice or on the shelf but expected to play that season. Meanwhile, this year’s team has been between $80-83 million, and unless there’s a significant trade, that number isn’t projected to rise.
38 games into the season last year the team had already amassed 218 man games lost of players not ruled out for the season. This year’s number is just 70. Last year’s team averaged $61 million in the lineup each night through the first 38 games, this year’s team is at $70.4 million.
This year’s team has a slightly better record than last year’s at this point, which based on those numbers is not terribly surprising given their extra $10 million in the lineup each night. However, it’s just three points. This year’s VGK sits at 24-12-2 for 50 points in 38 games while last year’s team was 23-14-1 for 47 points.
The gap in the division is slightly larger now than it was a year ago though. VGK lead the 2nd place team by just two points but .043 points percentage. This year’s team is also clear of the playoff cut line by .102 points percentage. Last year’s team was in 1st by just .012 points percentage and in the playoffs by just .057.
Moving forward is what we are most interested though and that’s where it certainly looks clear that the Golden Knights will need to get a lot healthier to keep up with a team that had 290 man games lost in the final 44 games of the season.
From this point forward, last year’s team went 20-17-7 for 47 points in 44 games. That’s good for a points percentage of .534. They finished the season with 94 points, missing the playoffs by three points.
To get to 97 points, this year’s team would need to amass 47 points in the next 44 games, exactly what last year’s team did.
Over the last 23 games, VGK have gone 11-10-2, a .521 points percentage. They’ve done it with a roster averaging $67.1 million in healthy players. Last season’s team averaged $66.8 million in healthy players available to them in the final 44 games.
As of right now, the Golden Knights are expected to ice a roster worth $52.4 million for tomorrow’s game.
Last year the team played 17 games of the final 44 games with at least $70 million in the lineup, 11 with at least $74 million. If VGK return to full health this season, they’ll ice a roster worth $79 million.
So, the injuries this year are actually more significant because the Golden Knights do not have the luxury of extra salary cap. Last year, if they were missing $20 million, it was much more like missing $10 million. This year if they are missing $20 million in players, they are actually missing $20 million.
The good news is this team has a track record of winning when they are healthy that last year’s team did not boast. In the first 15 games of the season, VGK’s lineup had $79.5 million in healthy players available. In that stretch, they raced out to a points percentage of .867, amassing 26 points in 15 games.
When they were at their healthiest last year, the last 15 games of the year, playing with an average of $73 million in the lineup, they went 8-3-4 (20 points).
It appears the return of Marchessault and Cotter is on the horizon, likely by Thursday. Eichel has been skating on his own which means he shouldn’t be too far out as well. Martinez has not been ruled out for tomorrow despite taking a shot directly off the inside of the foot, likely indicating his return shouldn’t be too far away too. When all four of those players return, VGK’s healthy lineup will be around $73 million. That should be plenty enough to keep them on track for at least the necessary .534 points percentage.
It’s if they can’t get healthy and stay healthy that deja vu becomes a legitimate concern.
**NOTE: Because Laurent Brossoit has not been active on the NHL roster this season, he is not accounted for in any way for this article. To begin the season his salary was included on the Golden Knights’ cap, but it was not added into the figures for this story.**
The part of hockey I don’t like you never know game to game who will still be standing. It’s never our best against you best it’s a diluted product and the only answer hockey has is next man up. There’s never enough scoring and then have 8 starters on the sidelines and expect to put a product on the ice which is fan friendly sorry it’s just doesn’t float my boat. Eichel bitching he never made the playoffs in Buffalo well Jackie boy you among others being out long term really aren’t helping us make the playoffs.
THE hockey GOD
NHL has been diluted, and continues to be so, ever since they expanded from the original six.
Eichel appears to be injury prone and therefore not worth the $$$$ being paid. However. when he is on the ice he is a force. Just isn’t there often enough.
Henderson one – to be anywhere worth 10mil a year and a force he needs to be available and on the ice the majority of the time. Obviously that has not been the case since his arrival. Based on what has been said and more importantly what hasn’t been said l seriously question how long he will be amongst the missing. Leg issues often suggest back problems as nerves are involved. Unfortunately for all those injured at the moment none seem to be available real soon. The team has got their work cut out for them and loosing to a bottom team like the Ducks doesn’t sit well or provide alot of hope. Deja- vu hopefully at the moment doesn’t turn out to be the case down the road.
‘The regular season doesn’t matter.’
… for legitimate Cup contenders.
well then you better hope you’re a legitimate Cup ‘contender’….
So how do you get into the playoffs?
We got no shot as of now. Eichel is the key here, thank God for Mark Stone and Carrier, their money every night. We got a shot if we are completely healthy, let’s hope we can get everyone back.
Another holiday home game against a team we should beat. I really don’t know what to expect today. Hoping for the best. Come on boys!
If we can hang in at .500 the next month, and, get our players back, we will be fine!
Nashville beat Anaheim, and Gibson, 6-1 last night
but I’m sure that Sheldon Rempal?will come to the rescue today…………./ sarc off
The latest nonsense I detect about the Knights is so and so is skating on his own or it looks like so and so is close to returning it’s all bull-shit. The fact is they try to keep the fans into it with the idea were close to being at full strength and the truth is it’s just something they think pacifies the fan base. Were down to Sheldon Rempal starting which tells me not to bet the farm on the Knights today. We’ve turned into an AHL team and that’s a tough sell.
Kevin Lankinen will be reborn today at noon as Pekke Rinne. All 5’10’ 165lbs of Sheldon Rempal, and also Vinny Boombatz will be in the lineup for the VGK today.
Arnold Rothstein is wondering how much to spend on the Preds today at +140.
yep, already they are making Lankinen look like a world beater….and effin useless McNabb hands a goal right to Forsberg
more to come.
Vic, is Vinny Boombatz a REAL GUY???
There is no crying in hockey.
Toughen you bunch of bitch fans.
This is a good team
knights fan in minny
give em hell sorvino