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Golden Knights Have What Darryl Sutter Says You Need To Win

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has been around the NHL for a long time. He’s heading into his 22nd season as a head coach, has won multiple Stanley Cups, led four different teams to the playoffs, and posted a winning record with every franchise he’s been with.

The change he’s had on the Flames has been impressive seeing them go from missing the playoffs to posting 111 points last season before being dispatched in the second round by the Edmonton Oilers.

Sutter is an old-school head coach. He believes in many of the long-standing traditions in the game of hockey and his no-nonsense yet almost aloof-sounding attitude makes him one of a kind. There’s no questioning his knowledge of the sport and what it takes to win in today’s game though.

Lucky for us, he’s willing to share exactly what he thinks it takes. In an extended sit-down with Sportsnet’s “The Big Show” Sutter was asked a myriad of questions about the team he currently coaches. Many of them were about his new players and the wild offseason his team just went through, but along the way he mentioned three different aspects of the game he believes a team must have to win the Cup.

Bottom line is we were not good enough at center ice. It showed up in the playoffs. The top teams in this division are three centermen deep and it really exposed us. –Darryl Sutter to Sportsnet’s The Big Show

Sutter was speaking about the importance of his team adding Nazem Kadri to go along with Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund.

Since the addition of Jack Eichel, the Golden Knights are strong down the middle. William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson will likely begin the season as the next two centers, but the option to use Nic Roy or Brett Howden gives the team even more flexibility.

Historically, center has been a bit of a weak spot for Vegas with Karlsson clearly filling the role as the team’s best. With him slotting down to 2nd or even 3rd best, VGK can go toe to toe with just about anyone. Also, the Golden Knights have a nice mix of players including an insanely talented scorer, a lockdown defender, and a speedster.

Next, Sutter pointed to the blue line.

Well, all the top teams have a star defenseman. Just go through the last seven or eight Stanley Cup teams and there’s a stud defenseman that can play half the game and all situations. I think we’re a more balanced type of defense than those teams. –Sutter to Sportsnet’s The Big Show

Hello Alex Pietrangelo.

In fact, Pietrangelo actually is one of the defensemen from the “last seven or eight Stanley Cup teams” and he’s expected to play a major role once again.

Sutter pointed to his team’s depth, which is also a strength for the Golden Knights on the back end. Vegas truly does go six deep in bonafide top-four defensemen, assuming Nic Hague’s contract is figured out before the season starts.

Finally, in somewhat of a summarizing statement, Sutter added the last piece, which is the one where Vegas has some question marks… at least for now.

I’m not old school (in wanting to build up the middle.) That is how you win. Pretty clear. Those are your most important players: your goalie, your four defensemen and your four or five centermen. –Sutter to Sportsnet’s The Big Show

Obviously, if the Golden Knights had a healthy Robin Lehner, they’d fill all of Sutter’s criteria to a tee. Without Lehner, VGK will rely on one of three guys who have never taken the reins as a true #1. That being said, Laurent Brossoit, Logan Thompson, and Adin Hill have all proven at different times that they are capable NHL goalies.

Vegas has a lot to prove to be on par with the Flames in the goaltending department, but the centers are fairly close and VGK clearly has the edge on defense.

One other thing Sutter didn’t mention was something he had in both of his two Stanley Cup wins. Assistant coach John Stevens.

VGK have him now too.


Can VGK Repeat Blue Line Success From The 2020-21 Season?


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  1. Blitz

    I am a big Darryl Sutter fan. The one thing ABSOLUTELY missing from the VGK, that is part of all Sutter teams, is grit and toughness. He demands it! Wikipedia has a section on his coaching style that is a good read, but here is a small portion of it.

    “Sutter’s teams are built in the mold of his career as a player: physical, aggressive, willing to fight and exhibiting strong work ethic. Sutter demands these values from his players and has been willing to bench or trade players that do not meet his expectations. Sutter coached teams have an expectation to be tough and difficult to play against”

    Vegas had grit and physicality in the early years, but like most good things about the early team, they are now gone. Vegas used to punish opponents on the boards. Now if you get one hard check in 3-4 games you are lucky and it is usually Mcnabb’s hip check.

    • Blitz, my feelings, too. The Knights have been soft last couple years.( since PDB arrived). I feel when we lost Reaves, we lost “that guy”..the one who hit hard and often, pressuring others, making them wary of us. And it has seemed like Mcnabb was the only guy hard-checking, without Reaves around….NOT the same threat. We need an intimidator. We need to regain that respect we had earlier!

  2. THE hockey GOD

    clamoring for no. 1 center
    no. 1 center
    no. 1 center

    have left VGK stretched thin at other critical positions.

    Let’s see how Cassidy fills the gaps, maybe should change team name to gumby. For those too young, gumby is rubber like character that stretches from here to there when needed, or some cases when forced to do so. The Vegas Gumbies. I can of like the sound of that.

    Btw did you all see the retro sweaters ? Someone said they look like the old vancouver canucks rainbow on black. Translation: they suck.

  3. Henderson One

    The culture of this team has been “Country Club”. No toughness, just do enough to get by. Hopefully Coach Cassidy can put some spine in this team.

    • I see I am not the only one who recognizes the Country Club mentality and culture. Just do enough to get by – same as watching what’s happening versus making it happen. I am not sure Cassidy has the talent on this club to change that but for a couple of players and that is not enough. I guess time will tell but I am less than optimistic it will happen. Unfortunately, this goes along with the lack of net presents woefully short of.

    • THE hockey GOD

      country club atmosphere ?? ROFLMAO, more like General Hospital. Boy you people are off by miles, as usual.


      • That has something to do with when they go out of their way to sign the injury prone, nut jobs who land up securing their retirement package. Keep ROFLYAO in your case it may shake some sense into that empty head of yours. I doubt it but it might be worth.a try –

        • THE hockey GOD

          NHL has injuries it’s a physical game, deal with it. Has nothing to do with silly country club comment.

  4. JV

    Stephenson has surpassed Karlsson and should be 2C. His next contract will reflect that. Yes they are very strong down the middle, but you need wings that can finish. Unfortunately the team is short one or two of those.
    Hague is not a bona-fide Top 4 defenseman. Doesn’t use his size effectively….which would drive Sutter completely insane BTW, and takes too many tripping and interference penalties due to lack of foot speed that finds him out of position. His contract should reflect a bottom pair dman. Hope he worked on his skating during the off season.

  5. Tyler Durden

    This team has nothing that Sutters LA Kings do 2012 and 2014 had.
    They would’ve steamrolled VGK with the 2012 and frustrated them like they did when they came from behind in the 2014 pre cup final rounds.
    To suggest this team has that is a joke.

    • Emmanuel

      Not sure that style would translate to today’s NHL. Built in the mold of those Devils Cup winners.

      • Blitz

        There may be some partial truth to the make up of that team, this is a copy cat league, but really NJ were masters of the trap and smothering hockey through the neutral zone. The trap was neutered (thank baby jesus) by the removal of the two-line pass rule.

        • THE hockey GOD

          even though it’s “nuetered” , the game is still boring and 80% of games are completely unwatchable. Ty pantyhose Bettman.

        • True, but even (most) of the F were great checkers & they had an elite blueline and that G! That’s why so many fanbases think they have contenders cause they have 4-6 scoring F & an Off D-man, they’re kidding themselves its all about D in the playoffs. I actually prefer that mid 90’s style of play.

  6. THE hockey GOD


    Jesse Granger
    Reminder of VGK rookie camp schedule this week:

    Thu: Practice at CNA (10 am)

    After team heads to SJ for Rookie Face-off Tournament

    Fri: vs Arizona (4:30 pm)
    Sat: vs Los Angeles (2 pm)
    Sun: Practice in SJ (9 am)
    Mon: vs Anaheim (12:30 pm)

  7. JV

    What’s up with Sonny Milano still sitting out there? Invite the guy on a PTO. With proper deployment, maybe sheltered O- zone starts, he should be able to replace Dadanov’s production for a lot less money. He has to be desperate at this point.

    • Blitz

      Yeah either something going on with him that we don’t know or he wants a fortune etc. The ducks have lots of cap and don’t want to resign him. Just feels like there is something a miss with this guy. Seems odd this late in the off season.

  8. Obvious

    Just what sutter wants. Top 2 players who are 1 hit away from career ending injuries and a crack head psycho in net

    Just what he wants for teams in his division

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