4 for 43.
It’s a number that has been on the mind of every Golden Knight, every coach, and every member of the front office through the offseason and into the new year.
The Golden Knights were shutout on the power play against the Montreal Canadiens (0 for 15) contributing to an NHL worst 9.3% power play in the 2021 playoffs. In fact, it was actually the worst conversion percentage of any team to play at least 17 playoff games since power play stats started being kept in 1977-78.
It must improve.
As a group we all have to be better, individual players, the coaches, the additions, all those things. I think the fresh start will help. I really believe the power play, like the penalty kill, is a real confidence-based piece of your game. When it starts to snowball the wrong way, everything goes in. I think we fell into that last year. -Pete DeBoer
DeBoer’s hope is that the offseason will go a long way towards a reset on a unit that played an integral part in the Golden Knights’ demise.
It was really average during the regular season and obviously it was well below average during the playoffs. So I think the break, the reset, the additions, the challenge of everybody being better, it’s going to be better. -DeBoer
He’s not relying on just time to heal the wound though.
We’re looking at everything. What you do in the summer is you look at what didn’t work, you look at the best teams, what they are doing. I got a chance to spend some time with Bruce Cassidy at the Olympic meetings. Boston’s had one of the top power plays in the last five or six years. Every time you have conversations like that you come up with ideas that maybe can help you. -DeBoer
A change in tactics would be a welcome addition to the VGK power play. Last season it became incredibly stale and increasingly predictable as the postseason wore on. They tried shifting personnel throughout the year, and even during the Montreal series, but nothing ever seemed to work.
For the first time since Training Camp began the Golden Knights worked on their power play Friday, but they did it behind closed doors leaving the mystery of how much change is being implemented to the future.
It’s definitely a focus, I mean it has to be on the top of our priority list and I’m very confident that we are going to get it in a good place. -DeBoer
Evgenii Dadonov, Nolan Patrick, and Peyton Krebs can certainly have a say in turning things around in 2021-22, but more importantly, the VGK coaches have to follow through on their commitment to new ideas.
The power play needs more movement, they need to take more risks, and they need to have more options to keep the killers and the goalies guessing.
The Golden Knights have plenty of talented enough players to get the job done, they just have to be given the answers to the tactical questions modern-day penalty kills ask.
Last year they didn’t have them, this year they must, otherwise, that snowball will reappear and it’ll be even bigger than it’s ever been before.
“This too shall pass” is a plan that normally would sit well with pretty much anyone who has seen the volatility of NHL special teams. But in 2021, amidst a pandemic that’s been going on for 18 months, there’s just something about the idea of waiting it out that leaves all of us with a bit of apprehension.
A true strategy change is what is needed. It sounds like it’s in the plans as well. Now it’s all about implementation and execution, and quickly, because no one in Vegas likes snowballs.