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How Often Are Golden Knights Forwards On The Ice For Goals Against

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Following season one, the Golden Knights front office made the rash decision to completely blow up their second line. That meant letting both David Perron and James Neal walk out the door, while shifting Erik Haula to the wing (for a few games while everyone was healthy).

The reasoning behind this from George McPhee was defensive inefficiency. McPhee claimed they were “dead last for second lines in the league” in goals against per 60.

The line of Perron, Haula, and Neal allowed 3.03 goals per 60 minutes of time on ice when playing together. It was the highest on the team by half a goal. This year, 3.03 would have actually been just fine for the Golden Knights. (All stats are at even strength)

LineTOIGAGA/60
71/81/19840:43402.85
26/67/61156:4972.67
26/67/89226:52174.50
21/67/89197:4392.73
21/92/40118:3484.05
21/73/8971:0600.00
41/28/75363:58101.65

To compare, here’s the same table from last season.

LineTOIGAGA/60
71/81/19722:34241.99
56/57/18554:37283.03
21/89/13261:10112.53
41/92/28152:1251.97

The most alarming number on the chart is the first line’s number. It went up by nearly a full goal per 60 minutes and it was only 0.18 away from the line McPhee decided was so bad defensively that he had to destroy it.

The dominant line of Stastny, Stone, and Pacioretty wasn’t all that much better either. You are probably thinking, “yeah, but they scored way more.” Nope. With all three on the ice together, they allowed seven while scoring nine.

Look at the “fourth” line though. They got even better this year going with Reaves and Carrier together. Also, the line of Eakin, Pirri, and Tuch never conceded in over 70 minutes of time on ice together.

However, these numbers can be a bit misleading at times as not all goals are scored with full lines on the ice. So, let’s break it down by individual forward. Remember, these are even strength numbers only.

PlayerTOIGAGA/60
Pacioretty939:07523.32
Hyka166:0693.25
Marchessault1266:19673.17
Nosek703:51373.15
Karlsson1221:18643.14
Carr58:0733.10
Carpenter758:28383.01
Stastny748:46352.80
Zykov110:1652.72
Smith1057:16472.67
Tuch1053:49452.56
Pirri386:58152.33
Bellemare791:21302.27
Eakin1008:04372.20
Carrier532:04182.03
Stone270:0792.00
Haula211:1071.99
Reaves810:31261.92

Here’s what it looked like for Perron, Haula, and Neal a year ago.

PlayerTOIGAGA/60
Haula1098:01663.61
Neal1041:49603.46
Perron1052:46573.25

So, as a line, there were worse options, but individually, only Max Pacioretty was worse than Perron, Haula, or Neal.

Don’t expect the complete destruction of any line this offseason as we saw a year ago. But, these are stats the Golden Knights clearly value, which might mean good things for Reaves, Bellemare, Eakin, Haula, and a few others, and maybe not the best for Pacioretty.

**Stats for this article were compiled using NaturalStatTrick.com**

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8 Comments

  1. Brian

    Are those GA/60 all 5 on 5, or are short handed included?

      • Brian

        Well, Max has just GOT to go then…… !!

        Seriously, great analysis. Love the Reaves and Carrier numbers . Will be interesting to see how long it takes Turk to split up 71/81/19. He’s got an awful lot of tools to work with this coming season. And 21 is good.

  2. Rob Sibley

    Interesting numbers for the Eakin/Pirri/Tuch line. So, of course, we’re going to get rid of Pirri (because GG doesn’t trust him to play D, despite these numbers) and do our best to get rid of Eakin (salary dump). Seriously? Also, I wouldn’t be so quick to blow up our fourth line despite all the offensive talent we’re supposed to have next season. Just my $.02. Thanks for the analysis, Ken!

  3. Mikemess

    You should also look at the zone starts to make this argument. Typically teams hide their bad defenders by giving them offensive zone faceoffs.

  4. Dman

    what is not factored in though is the strength of the opposition line. iow, of course the VGK 4th line played against the opponent’s 4th line, so they were not facing Ovechkin and Crosby, but instead they faced a soft diet of scoring threats like Dowd and Aston-Reese etc.

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