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ESPN Questions VGK’s Future After Standing Pat In Offseason

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights entered the All-Star break with the fifth best record in the Western Conference and sit in second place in the Pacific Division. Considering their obstacles the reigning Stanley Cup champions should feel good about where they stand through 50 games. However, the worldwide leader in sports has doubts that Vegas’ roster is built to repeat.

Vegas failed to add or change much in the offseason following its Stanley Cup victory. Now, standing pat looks like a questionable call. The Golden Knights have fizzled following a hot start, with predictable problems piling up for a team susceptible to fatigue. This is when a lack of fresh legs can become one major regret. –Kristen Shilton on ESPN.com

The Golden Knights were indeed relatively quiet in the offseason. They took care of their unsigned players and added outside depth to the organization. Michael Amadio, Ivan Barbashev, Adin Hill, Brett Howden, and others were offered summertime extensions. No NHL players of significance were signed off the open market. It’s unfair to grade any of the Golden Knights acquisitions at the moment due to injuries, juggled lineups, and on-the-fly chemistry.

The front office did make news by trading original misfit Reilly Smith to Pittsburgh for some cap relief. Overall, their offseason transactions weren’t notable enough to make ESPN’s bottom scroll but they were the necessary decisions coming off a championship run. Since the blueprint was to repeat with the same weapons, the organization didn’t need to look too far.

ESPN’s argument for fresh legs has some credence to it though. Right now Vegas could use healthy, impactful, and lesser worn-down players in their lineup instead of a slew of Silver Knights. Local fans have enjoyed seeing the pipeline grow but Vegas is a championship team built around veterans.

It’s reasonable for the Golden Knights to feel comfortable running out the same lineup to start the year. Their plan might have included a retool at the March deadline if needed. It’s looking like they will. A deadline option could be a way to get fresh legs and outside impact in the lineup.

(Sean) Monahan has enormous respect around the league for how much he’s come back from. This was a guy who a couple of years ago, people were thinking is he going to be able to continue playing. Not only is he playing, he’s thriving. –Elliotte Friedman on Hocey Night In Canada

Some names that are circulating are Anaheim’s Adam Henrique, Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel, and the aforementioned Sean Monahan. Is Vegas in desperate need of any of them? Likely not, but an extra weapon for a deep playoff run could boost up a tired team attempting to repeat as league champions.

Are the folks at ESPN right to question Vegas’ offseason inactivity? On the surface, sure. However, Vegas is still in a position of power. They’re looking like they’ll land in a desired playoff spot and will hopefully be fully healthy. And we all know how magical it can be when the Golden Knights have their full lineup.

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25 Comments

  1. NAM

    I thought it back then and I still think it. Trading Smith changed the dynamic of this team. When this team was making the cup run it was all about the elite defensive system to crush teams. Offense came from this. From day one this year this team has looked different, even when healthy. A recent shift has put them more focused on what they were, but not the same. Anyway, people keep saying the team didn’t change, but in reality it lost it’s best defensive winger IMO and long time team leader. I don’t know the stats and only using my shit memory, but Eichel being out of the lineup hasn’t really been *that* detrimental to winning. They won without Stone last year, but when Smith is out it has been bad. Smith was out when they missed the playoffs.

    In summary I think they still can win etc, but this team looks different to me. Even when healthy, early season, it was different, before fatigue. I say Smith. It’s just an opinion.

    • Emmanuel

      You are correct, they need a Smith type player, the original has lost his passing ability it seems.

  2. ThG

    woke broke ESPN (with likes of Emily ‘kaplan’ a know nothing) has no credibility. Loser network
    right up
    there with
    genocide joe, the dementia fool and current pResident of the WHY.

    worst resident in last fifty years, just passed jimmy crack corn carter as lowest
    polling one in history of modern poll taking

    can November come any sooner ?

  3. Steve

    I no longer have any real faith in ESPN hockey coverage, a short while back on an injury report by team for the league, Their list for Vegas, who had 9 player out, including many key players from the Cup Championship, included only a third string Goalie from the Silver Knights, not even listing the goalie, Hill, who’s injury was the reason the Silver Knight goalie was with the team.

  4. Emmanuel

    Obviously the missing piece would be Guentzel, a G scoring LW, but its gonna cost us.

  5. knights fan in minny

    who cares what espn says

    • JB

      Exactly! ESPN is just more talking heads trying to get some clicks. We are not tired but injured. IF we get all our boys back, there is no reason we can’t make a run in the playoffs. Period!

    • Gilligan

      Kelly McCrimmon is the GM in the league. I’m sure that’s because he checks daily for ESPN’s recommendations.

  6. Rick Schoen

    The Knights still could use a real gunner to add to their scoring. They could also use a back-up goalie to park in Henderson.

  7. JB

    I have confidence management will do what is right. Something or nothing. I trust them.

  8. JB

    Big write up in the Sun part of the paper this morning,about Pavo. Seems he may have the edge over Cotter to stick in lineup when we get all our players back? This should make Pete happy!

    • niggles

      YOU have a mental disorder … All your crying about libtards makes absolutely no difference in the world. But you gotta let it out. So go ahead…keep crying!

  9. Henderson Knights

    Vancouver, Colorado, Boston, Edm, are all talking about adding top players at the deadline.

    The Vgk are built on trades.

    JACK EICHEL, Captain MARK STONE, ADIN HILL all acquired in trades.

    Chandler Stephenson, Ivan Barbashev, Nicolas Roy, Alec Martinez, all acquired in trades.

    and Petro signed as a free agent.

    You can bet that they won’t stand pat this year either.

  10. TS

    Well, some progress here….a certain cookoo poster’s exhaustive political ” cut- and- paste” garbage is ” NOT Available” any longer!! THANK YOU, HOCKEY GODS!!

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