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Four Prerequisites For VGK To Win The Pacific Division

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the first time in a long time, the Golden Knights enter the season without a clear picture of exactly where they stand in the Pacific Division. There’s an easy argument to be made they remain among the top contenders but it’s also not hard to point to the offseason as a reason why they may not.

Let’s stay on the positive side today and take a look at what must happen for the Golden Knights to raise their third divisional banner in six years. If Vegas hit every one of these marks, they’ll not only stroll into the playoffs, but they’ll win the Pacific.

Brett Howden, Nic Roy, or someone else with fewer than 100 career points scores 60 points

One of the biggest questions for the Golden Knights this season is depth. While they have a host of NHL-quality players slotted to play in the bottom-six, there aren’t many proven scorers among the lot. Howden and Roy are the clear favorites to take the massive step forward, but names like Paul Cotter, Brendan Brisson, Sakari Manninen, Jonas Rondbjerg, or a few others could make the leap as well.

For the Golden Knights to truly operate as a dominant force in the division, they’ll need an unexpected boom in scoring from someone. It doesn’t matter where in the lineup it happens either. If the player does it on a line with Jack Eichel or Mark Stone, it will leave a more established scorer to bolster the third line. Or, if it happens on a third or fourth line, Vegas will be able to load up their top-six.

The combination of Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Alex Pietrangelo do not miss more than 30 combined games

No team can afford to lose their best players for a significant time, but some are able to withstand it better than others. The Golden Knights are not set up well to stem the tide of any of their biggest offensive guns are missing. Vegas need scoring out of all five of these players and they all will carry huge responsibility defensively against the opposition’s best. If one or more are lost for anything longer than a week here or there, the roster shuffle that will need to take place will leave an already shallow roster with major holes.

VGK are set up a bit better defensively to hold up if Pietrangelo were to go out, but the minute-load he shoulders and his importance in transition offense will be irreplaceable by the likes of Ben Hutton, Kaedan Korczak, or Daniil Miromanov.

The team the Golden Knights bring into camp on paper is certainly good enough to win the division, mainly because of the roles everyone falls into at full health. They’re stocked up the middle, have a strong top-six, boast an eclectic mix of defensemen, and have just enough depth to fill out a full 18-skater roster. They’ll hold up just fine if they miss one or two guys not listed above, but even just a month without any one of their best guys will be costly.

VGK finish in the Top 10 in fewest high-danger chances allowed at 5-on-5

Bruce Cassidy’s “goalie-friendly” system relies on keeping the puck out of the center of the ice and winning to loose pucks in front of the net. During his tenure in Boston, the Bruins were consistently one of the most difficult teams to create high-danger scoring chances against. Last year, and at times during the first three seasons, the Golden Knights failed in this category.

If Cassidy’s defensive system fits in Vegas as well as did in Boston, it will quell the goaltending concerns as at least one of Logan Thomspon, Adin Hill, or Laurent Brossoit will be able to hold down the fort. The scoring woes that have plagued the Golden Knights will be tempered also because it will only take two or three a night to win most games.

The Golden Knights have done it before and they still have many of the players that led the team to a Jenning’s Trophy, but they slipped last year, and getting it back is the only way to returning to the NHL’s elite.

Power play plus penalty kill percentages add up to at least 106%

The final piece comes on special teams. Cassidy is well-known as a wizard on the power play and it’s widely expected that VGK will improve on their 18.4% clip a year ago. The question lies more in the penalty kill though. Vegas finished last year killing penalties at just 77.4%, which was good for 21st best in the NHL.

So, combined, the Golden Knights special teams finished with a percentage of just 95.8%. Only seven teams were worse, and six of them finished among the bottom ten in the overall standings last year. 106% is a lot to ask, but six different teams did it a year ago. All of them had a penalty kill of at least 82% or top ten in the league.

For the Golden Knights to do it, it’s going to take a drastic improvement by both units. If they do, pretty much every other issue the team has will disappear as the dominance on special teams will make up about a goal a night.

So there you have it. Do these four things and the Golden Knights should cruise to a 105+ point season and crush the rest of the field in the Pacific.

Tomorrow, we’ll do the opposite, and explore what must happen for the Golden Knights to miss the playoffs in back-to-back years.


Wing Support Crucial To VGK Success


Four Prerequisites For The Golden Knights to Miss the Playoffs


  1. Roberto

    My exuberance for Sakari Manninen is irrational. He’s been close to a point per game performer the last few years, in the KHL and on international comp ice. I’m going with 40 points for him this year.

    Odd are I’ll be wrong, but I think he’s going to exceed expectations in a big way.

    • If he plays with JE I say 15G 35A.

    • the hockey God

      finnish khl players rarely translate their skill set to NHL

      irrational ? Nope, fact.

    • Rick

      The exuberance over Manninen is odd. He was 38th in scoring in the KHL last season. What is making people think he’s going to make an impression on the NHL? I’m sincerely curious. He has all appearances of AHL filler. The Avs signed Lukas Sedlak who was 7th in scoring and a year younger and we’re all thinking he’ll spend the season in Loveland.

      • Emmanuel

        If he plays 70 plus games on a scoring line sure he can be a 35-50 point player. If he doesn’t make the team, back to Russia. He seems like a passing winger at his NHL top end. Defense will be a problem on the road as I presume (along with PK) he will be targeted for lopsided matchups. There’s no point in him playing on the 3rd or 4th line. A JM/JE/SM line would be interesting and would drop a good F to the 3rd line with PK. Maybe I’m being too optimistic……

    • knights fan in minny

      THat would be great

  2. Emmanuel

    I see Calgary & Edmonton as the only threats to finish above VGK.

    Calgary has a lot of turnover and guys with career years in 21/22 so who knows what’ll happen.

    Edmonton is top heavy, and if you know who gets seriously hurt..

  3. Ken – l believe most know what is necessary to win which you just didn’t list. A TEAM to show up every knight with the winning attitude necessary for your 4 things to happen. If that I’d not the case we will looking at missing the playoff again. Sorry but that is the bottom line regardless if the big buck guys perform or not. Teams win individuals help but are not the be all that end all. There was alot of standing around watching as oppose to making it happen and that must change. Hopefully Cassidy makes sure that takes place. Time will tell. Injuries which are bound to take place are either an excuse or an opportunity – good coaching makes them opportunity.

    • the hockey God

      as we found out last two seasons good coaching has NOTHING to do with preventing injuries.

      • The- Read what it said Moron – it said nothing about good coaching preventing injuries.

        • the hockey God

          ‘as we found out last two seasons good coaching has NOTHING to do with preventing injuries.’ i stand by original statement, coaches have no say on injuries, it is not an opportunity, esp not to guy who is injured. And anyone taking advantage of injury is just plain sick way to think about injuries.

          • THg – you are just plain stupid and will say anything to justify your ignorant statements. Standing by your original statement good coaching has nothing to with preventing injuries (no one said they did) it just confirms you have a reading deficit, and you are a little more than short up stair. Your a sad case unfortunately.

          • the hockey God

            “coaching has nothing to with preventing injuries (no one said they did)”

            i just said it , pay attention

            you know , it’s not all about you
            you you

            have another cookie, my friend

  4. the hockey God

    i see vgk lucky to finish 4th, and the most important KEY is not goalie friendly “system” but goalies who can actually stop the puck and win in OT and SOs. Which is not same as a “system”. If your goalies repeatedly allow soft goals in key , momentum shifting situations, it doesn’t matter if you goalie friendly system still executes, you lose.
    i dont see the skill set on these team to be able to execute a goalie friendly system, but that is an answer to another question. It’s like trying to find Jaws in
    Antarctica sea dangling a popsicle for bait.

    • Their goalies aren’t bad… Adin Hill is at minimum, an average starter and Thompson played really well down the stretch (and he still has potential)

  5. Kenny

    Great opening article by Doc this morning, plus. Surprise local hockey star as guesst speaker! To those handful of true Knights fans here, good luck getting past the noise and try and enjoy the season. See ya!

    • the hockey God

      do c lol

      take your noise elsewhere, doc is a clueless twit with no writing skills

      there will always be noise, deal with it, loser

    • knights fan in minny

      beat it clown kenny

  6. the hockey God

    i think we just need to get fleury back

  7. Too bad we don’t have Like and Dislike buttons here. I’d Dislike damn near every idiotic comment from the so-called Hockey God. LOL

    • the hockey God

      right back at you fuckeye

      head on over to doc’s site where you can join your fellow morons- sleepy, dopey, grumpy, bashful, sneezy, weezy, farty, and dumbo., sleepy joe lyin biden. You’d fit right in

      • Jailbird

        Look, I don’t know what took place between you and this Doc? But it seems obvious to me you are so jealous you cant get into his site and bring your bullshit! Just my honest observation dude!

        • the hockey God

          i am not one always bringing up Doc, but when someone does I will clearly point out he’s shit stinks like every one else. Doc liked to fight with EVERYONE, He trashed sinbin and left in huff, complaining all along.

          hockey is 24/7 site, not a part time site for a part time loser like doc. He is not well liked by long timers on this site.

  8. FG

    Can I parlay all those? It is unlikely any of those will happen. Was that the point of the article? Look forward to tomorrow’s.

  9. Obvious

    Win the division?? Beyond laughable. Delusional.

  10. Jailbird

    Football starts this week, hockey in a month. Best time of the year!

    • the hockey God

      entitlement league has fallen way way way down from a real sport

      • Jailbird

        You talking about football ? The most popular sport in the USA!

        • the hockey God

          baseball in national past time, and NFL popularity has been in downward spiral ever since the entitlement woke thug kneelers took over league. Look what they did to gruden, say no more

          the league sucks big time, run by woke neo fascist thugs who make a mockery of our constitution, our american traditions and values.

          nobody watches the national thug league any more, it’s boring predictable and no one cares about it.

      • Ts


  11. Tim

    As usual not a lot of hockey thoughts just a lot of bitching between THG and everyone else. Haven’t you all figured it out yet THG for what ever reason likes to get in a pissing contest and you all fall right into his trap. I always got along with Doc and I wish I new how to get to his site because Sin Bin although a good idea has turned into everything but a hockey site.

    • the hockey God

      Tim and Doc, always didn’t get a long. Don’t make me dig up some of your more famous spats from the archives.

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