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Former DeBoer Captain: VGK’s “Great Transition Game” Creates Problems For Opponents

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Dallas Star center Joe Pavelski served four-plus seasons as Pete DeBoer’s captain. Both had great success from 2015-2019, making the postseason each season together, including a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2016. So, it’s fair to say Pavelski knows his former coach well on and off the ice. This week the Wisconsin native explained what type of team the Golden Knights were.

They’re a team that if you give them two-thirds of the ice, they’ve got a great transition game. They take off and you saw that. They go at times and make plays. -Joe Pavelski, Stars center

During their time together in San Jose, DeBoer and Pavelski won 59.6% percent of their games. The former Sharks captain averaged 31 goals per season including 38 on the power play. In Vegas, DeBoer’s top offensive forwards Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault have been as dangerous as Pavelski was in San Jose. Since becoming a Star, Pavelski has faced his former boss eight times, seven of which were postseason contests. Without reminding fans of the Stars success in the 2020 Western Conference Final, after Wednesday it’s clear Dallas is comfortable rolling out the same blueprint that eliminated Vegas in the bubble.

Against the Stars in the 2020 WCF, the Golden Knights averaged 36 shots per game but lost four times by exactly one goal. Although Vegas won 5-4 there were similarities on Wednesday night. DeBoer’s squad outshot Dallas 45-23 and trailed for most of the game. At this point, we can assume it’ll be tight 60 minutes every time these two meet.

You can’t take things for granted. We spent quite a bit too much time in the d-zone. They were around the net. -Joe Pavelski, Stars center

It wasn’t just the forwards that flourished under DeBoer in San Jose. Check out sharpshooting defenseman Brent Burns’ numbers from 2015-2019. Burns averaged 75 points per season under DeBoer. Several Golden Knights defenseman are seeing an increase in opportunities because of the team’s extended pressure in the opponents’ zone. DeBoer’s active blue line created a dangerous dual-threat offense that other teams have had trouble with in the regular season.

As a 16-year veteran, Pavelski found success playing with and against DeBoer’s game plan. It’s possible his knowledge of being on a transition team in San Jose aids his current club against Vegas. Either way, the former Sharks captain rightly describes and understands why the Golden Knights are a deep threat. The one unfortunate aspect of the Pavelski-DeBoer connection is that they’re both chasing a championship. Each has appeared twice but neither has been sized for a ring. It’s possible with Jack Eichel in the mix, DeBoer’s quick rush/shot suppression strategy works in the postseason, and they’ll probably need to eliminate Pavelski’s Stars along the way.

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43 Comments

  1. THE hockey GOD

    PDB haters heads are now exploding, wait for it.

    • Blitz

      Lies! My head is not now exploding. It dun exploded off already, back in January 2020. The article was kind of a no-op anyway. Everyone knows Pavelski is happier the heck out of SJ and away from Peter’s inappropriate touching.

      So if PEA-TEAR (Griffin) and gang miss the playoffs, this year, what happens? Go.

      • THE hockey GOD

        @ blitz, inappropriate touching and sniffing, you tawking aboot JoeFlation ???

        “So if PEA-TEAR (Griffin) and gang miss the playoffs, this year, what happens? Go.”

        VGK gets in NHL LOTTO for a CHaNCe at no. 1draft pick selection, there is supposed to be next coming of WAYNE GRETZKI waiting in wings at the no. 1 slot. But they CAN NOT AFFORD TO SIGN HIM, because, well the socialists running the league say you can not afford to spend too much money to get good players. Unlike private sector.

        • Blitz

          There are definitely different levels of inappropriate touching. There is the King #FJB sniff and touch and then there is the low level closet/locker room kind #FPBD.

          So if we miss the playoffs we get in the lotto for the #1 pick. Sweet! Think of what we could lose in a trade for him. Top prospects are for those silly winners. “Prospects, we don’t need no stinking prospects.”

          My question was more in terms of PDB. If we we miss the playoffs, and I hope we don’t, but we are still bouncing off the cut line with several teams in the mix. What happens to Peter? Keep him? Write the season off as ‘injuries’, forget the PP was an issue, etc? Fire him? Find someone else that would like to centerpiece Eichel in their scheme?

          We are 1/3 of the way thru the season, no panic, just a hypothetical question. You clearly love the Peter 🙂 and he has clearly “grown” on you, so I want to know if your breaking point is this year or next or never. Is Peter’s system only lacking another high end cap crushing guy to get it there?

      • THE hockey GOD

        @ blitz.

        PDB haters really can’t stand the following “During their time together in San Jose, DeBoer and Pavelski won 59.6% percent of their games.” Their heads are really exploding below, some of them are even in denial ! And that means their heads are in the river Nile, face down, blubbering about ! Please someone one , anyone, hurry up, cover up their shorts, their legs are dangling in the air !! IT’s down right obscene !!

        • Daryl

          And I bet you a majority of those wins are in their own division…. which has been the weakest of all for a decade!!!

  2. Tim

    Pavelski you mean the guy from San Jose that the Knights beat like a drum under Gallant? Bill Foley and I are the same age and time is running out and that cup is slipping away right in front of his eyes. Don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning and there are some changes.

    • Tim – there needs to be sooner rather than later

      • Pistol Pete

        VGK recovered from a 1-4 start deep injuries. Of course there are issues, PP ongoing, the PK recently and goaltenders who are not hot right now. When healthy they’re a decent to very good team depending on the streak they are on at the time. Rose-colored glasses pal? Not exactly.

        Performance and consistency is fickle in pro sports. EDM is slumping and WTF happened to the Islanders and the great coach Trotz?

        • Pistol Pete

          Senators beat Lightning 4-0. Does TBL suck now?

          • Daryl

            Beating any team on any day doesn’t resemble who either team is…. you know that. The worst team in the NHL can beat the best team, it happens. Some teams also match up very well against others. And I agree VGK has had a lot of injuries, but so have other teams. So you can’t always use that as an excuse.

          • Pistol Pete

            And biker, what about Mike StG’s point that VGK fielded three waiver claims against PHI, no 1C? To that I would add that Hart was exceptional—had be been more like recent VGK goaltending, VGK would have won the game. Not excuses just reality. Why is a 3-4 game win streak good for any team? Because you lose one in a row fairly often no matter how good you are is why.

        • Tim

          Don’t you think our PP is a little more then on going. Lets see 8-66 this year add 0-16 in the Montreal series for a grand total of 8-84 with 2 PP against Arizona a AHL team and I think that’s a little more then on going. If you think your going to beat good teams without a decent PP your delusional. Yes you are wearing Rose Colored Glasses.

          • I never said the PP is not bad, that it doesn’t need to be fixed, that a Cup can be won with it as is. It definitely needs to improve.

  3. Daryl

    No need for PDB haters’ heads to explode…. nothing in this article proves or says anything. PDB took over SJS and led them to the SC. What did he do in his first full year with SJS? They lost in the very first round. Mind you, just making the playoffs is not very hard to do in the Pacific. The next year they basically got destroyed by VGK. Let’s not forget the Burns had +/- that wasn’t very good either

    PDB did the similar with FLA, took over and had a great first year then went downhill. He took over NJD and had a great first year then downhill. We’ll see what happens here in VGK but so far he is following suit. He had a great full first year and so far it’s been a letdown.

    As for Burns, it was too much work to determine his points under PDB exactly, but he averaged 70pts during the year time frame PDB was the coach during the regular season.

    Can anyone name the last team to win the Cup when their defenseman led the team in shots???

  4. George L.

    The five minute major was a crime against humanity.

  5. Pistol Pete

    Flames and Oilers both lost…again.

  6. Their last 4 games:

    Flames 0-4
    Oilers 0-4
    Knights 3-1

    Who is the better team at the moment despite the loss to PHI?

    P. S. I count ARI as a legimate “win” due to the 7-1 margin.

  7. Tim

    What I don’t understand is since Pete DeBoer arrived which will be two years in January and since his arrival our PP has been awful. I’m sure management realize how much harder it is to win without a P@P. On the other hand Pete DeBoer has one of the best regular season records since he’s been here. He has also won some big playoff series and in the end he laid an egg in the Dallas and Montreal series so what to do? Lets face it his personality and demeanor can’t compare to Gerard Gallant who was a players coach. Another big issue is he was the coach of the hated Sharks who by one of the worse calls put us out of the tournament. Fast forward to today and you see the Rangers success this year in a tough New York market and in Vegas DeBoer gets a pass. To summarize what I’ve said is Pete DeBoer just isn’t a Vegas kind of guy even with his good win loss percentage. I just can’t see management wasting another year when they know eventually the lack of PP will be there doom again.

    • Pistol Pete

      You can score PP goals and lose the game—in those cases the PP has no consequence. Sometime losing teams have a decent PP %. Of course you want an effective PP and will win more games by having one. VGK needs a better PP and has had some good runs of them under DeBoer. VGK needs a consistent PP. I too am at a loss to understand why it can’t be addressed.

      I even tweeted Jack hoping he is already thinking about the underperforming PP. I suggested he may be able to help the strategy for it before he’s actually playing. Would not surprise me if he’s talked with some of the team about it.

      • Tim

        Pistol Pete, Please tell me when a PP didn’t help you win a game. PP has no consequence in winning or at least put you in a better position to win a game. No offense but are you out of your fucking mind!!!!

  8. Galdom

    Pacioretty – Eichel – Stone
    Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith
    Roy – Stephenson – Amadio
    Carrier – Patrick – Kolesar

    Hague – Pietrangelo
    Martinez – Theodore
    McNabb – Whitecloud
    Coughlan

    Lehner
    Brossoit

    If completely healthy (big if) this could be the roster submitted to the NHL on the eve of the playoffs. It is cap compliant, 81.304167 million. Remember, once the playoffs start you can go over the cap and add the likes of Cotter, Rondbjerg, Leschyshyn, Hutton and Howden. I have traded Dadonov and Janmark for absolutely zero roster players in return, salary dumps for perhaps a mid round pick. The lines I have listed are purely just for shits and giggles, players listed are for the purpose of being cap compliant. Howden and Hutton would be subject to waivers in this scenario. I didn’t want to have seven defencemen but I don’t want to expose Coughlan to waivers. There is something aboutt Amadio that I like and I don’t want to place him on waivers. You could choose to protect Howden and place Amadio on waivers but Howden makes an additional 135,000 and all of the sudden you are not cap compliant.

    This is just an exercise for fun. If a player is on injured reserve then this becomes less complicated.

    There is a fear / belief that it may be too difficult to move the Dadonov contract. I have thought this way as well but I am starting to change my mind. When it comes down to it its likely that teams will have injuries and would relish the chance to add a forward on pace to score 20 goals. I think teams will have there own needs and concerns to worry about rather then trying to hold Vegas over a barrel. It won’t be easy. Maybe we get a 3rd round pick. Maybe teams will want us to retain salary which would be a non-starter and pointless. Maybe we will have to add a sweetner like a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Somehow we get it done. WE MUST KEEP REILLY SMITH FOR THIS YEAR’S PLAYOFF RUN.

  9. Pistol Pete

    Nice work Galdum—appreciate the effort!

  10. Tim

    I don’t get this Nolan Patrick love of coarse we all hope he works out but a reality check says he’s played to games for us and off he goes to IR. Same problems he had in Philly seem to be reoccurring here. I’d put Carrier on the third line with Roy and Stephenson he’s a much better player then Amadio. Fourth line who cares.

    • Pistol Pete

      Tim, 4th line important. First year they rolled four lines 2nd to 3rd line quality all. That depth was a big advantage. Turned out the first line and second lines matched up adequately to most any opponent—3rd and 4th were gravy as they outmatched most they played. That team also wanted badly to win for Vegas because of the tragedy. It was truly a special situation. Gallant did a brilliant job deploying that 23 man roster. Unfortunately production began to fall the next season on and Gallant did not seem to have all the answers.

      • Tim

        Pistol Pete, Again your just talking to talk by this I mean, Gallant’s 4th line was Nosek who they never should have let go not only the fourth line center, or forward but also excellent on the PK. Belamare, and Reeves or Carrier. Now do you think this stumble bum line you have has any comparison to that line. That line would eat your lines lunch.

        • Pistol Pete

          You’re right Tim, that was a stronger 4th than currently. Carrier still here though. I am at the game. Carrier is such a good skater, fleet for a guy his size. DeBoer et. al. have their reasons for keeping Kolesar. Know it’s hard to understand. Lehner due to have a hot night! Roy could end up 4C when Eichel is in . That will be a stronger 4th.

  11. Pistol Pete

    Tim et. al.

    Us Kolesar doubters might be interested to see in terms of career pts/game that Kolesar heads this group.

    Kolesar .3 pts/game
    Nosek .25 pts/game
    Carrier .22 pts/game
    Bellemare .19 pts/game

    • John W

      Pistol- a bit of a fallacy on Kolesar’s stats, in that he has logged lots of time with the upper lines due to injury. The vast majority of his points are secondary assists while playing with far better talent.

      The eye test is that Kolesar leads the team in offensive zone TO’s and missed open nets.

  12. Galdom

    It will be hard to replace the quartet (Bellemare, Reaves, Nosek, Carrier) that played those 4th line minutes but like Pistol Pete said, Carrier is still here. Nic Roy it’s probably better than any of those guys and he may be a fourth liner when everyone is healthy.

    Carrier – Roy – Kolesar could be a decent fourth line. No issue with that.

    • Pistol Pete

      Interesting though how DeBoer continues to deploy Kolesar when he could Howden for example. I doubt he doesn’t know all we do.

      • John W

        Kolesar has lowest shooting % on the team at 2.6%.

        Just saying. I can name 6-8 guys in the organization that in my opinion should play ahead of 55, led by Howden and Rondjberg

  13. I am interested in someone who played and understands the power play, offering their opinion as to what we are doing wrong and how to fix it comon smart boys? I have watched most of the pp desasters over the last two years . I see some improvment in the last 4 games and im not sure if its the players or the coach or both that has finnally adjusted. It seemed to me in the past we got into position and passed the puck back and forth to players who are static never in position to shoot, recently we are moving with the puck to force the defenders to readjust and thus if executed quickly it opens up some quality shooting opertunities. We might be onto something so lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. This next road trip will tell the tale

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