Goal scoring has been a bit of a chore the last few weeks for the Golden Knights. In their last 13 games, they are averaging just under three goals a game, but they’ve racked up seven goals on the power play, three in overtime, two with their goalie pulled and one into an empty net. That leaves just 23 goals in the last 13 games that have been scored under “normal” circumstances, less than two a night.
A big reason for this is the lack of scoring from the blue line. Last night, Dylan Coghlan exploded onto the scene scoring his first, second, and third career goals all in the same night. Amazingly, Coghlan is now tied for the team lead in goals by defenseman. We’re more than 40% of the way through the season, and Coghlan passed Alec Martinez, Nic Hague, Zach Whitecloud, and Alex Pietrangelo, and matched Shea Theodore in goals.
The VGK defense now accounted for 13 of the team’s 73 total goals, or 18%. That number is not too abnormally low across the landscape of the NHL, but for a team built on the shoulders of a strong defensive forward group, they need heavy contributions from the blue line to keep up offensively. It’s something they got last night, but hasn’t been over the past two months.
Theodore hasn’t scored since January 22nd, 15 games ago for him. Pietrangelo has just one goal in that same span. Martinez has one goal all season. Hague’s tallied one in his last 15 games and Whitecloud is goal-less in his last 13.
On the power play, the Golden Knights have yet to get a goal from a single defenseman despite Theodore and Pietrangelo receiving more than 50 minutes of power play time a piece and Martinez nearing the 30 minute mark.
With Pietrangelo likely out for a significant amount of time, it’s going to be up to Theodore to really shoulder the load for the Golden Knights, something he hasn’t been doing recently. In the first seven games of the year, Shea averaged more than four shots per game. In the last 13, he has hit four just twice and has seen his average dip to two per game.
In the last 10 games, Theodore is seeing about 24 minutes of ice time per night, nearly 20 of which has come at even-stength. Vegas has allowed more goals than they’ve scored at even-stength with Theodore on the ice over that span.
Quite simply, the Golden Knights need Theodore’s offense, and they haven’t been gettting it recently. Since his injury, his point production has been cut in half (from a point per game to 0.5 points per game), and defensively he’s making more mistakes than we’ve seen from him since his rookie season.
His role is set to increase even more with Pietrangelo sidelined for the foreseeable future. Theodore’s offense must return or the Golden Knights will continue to struggle to score consistently.