Part 1 of this article was on Tuesday, now we’re moving on to Part 2 where we are looking at the Golden Knights forward group. Again, we’re looking for the statistic each player is most likely to surpass their career-high in.
Stat: Even-Strength Assists
Career High – 31
Mark Stone is a superstar, there’s really no way around it. He’s been one for a few years too, so hitting career-highs in just about anything won’t be easy. But the one number that jumped off the page was even-strength assists. I’d expect Stone to be pushing 40 assists this year (his career-high in a season is 42), and with VGK’s power play struggles most of them should come at 5-on-5. Plus, he’s awesome at 3-on-3 which could nab him a few more.
Other options: Assists (42), Games Played (80), Shorthanded Goals (1)
Career High – 307
Pacioretty is a high-volume shooter, especially since he’s been in Vegas. It’s not uncommon to look up and see him on the board with five, six, or seven shots in a game. In 2019-20 he amassed his career-high 307 shots in just 71 games. This year, assuming he gets to around 80 games, he could easily be pushing 350. His numbers did pull back a bit last year, which is concerning, but he’s not exactly a guy with a lot of reachable career-high options.
Other options: Faceoffs Won (51), Assists (34), Power Play Goals (10)
Stat: Games Played
Career High – 67
Even if he isn’t actually the #1 center on the Golden Knights, Stephenson fills the role between VGK’s two most important forwards. He should surpass 67 games with ease assuming health.
Other options: TOI (931), PIM (29), Even-Strength Assists (17), Points (35), Hits (52)
Stat: Power Play Assists
Career High – 8
Hear me out. Yes, I know the power play struggled, and no I don’t think it’s going to get too much better. However, the addition of Dadonov will allow for more balanced units, which means wherever Karlsson is, he’ll likely get plenty of opportunities. Even a horrible power play scores about 40 a season and I have to believe Karlsson can be in on a quarter of those.
Other Options: Faceoff Wins (588), Assists (35)
Career High – 60
It’s really slim pickings for Reilly because of how awesome he was in 2017-18. He only played 67 games that year and put up 22 goals, 38 assists, and 60 points, all career-highs. On a contract year, likely playing yet again with a pair of players he’s incredibly familiar with, and not being asked to be the top line all season should bode well for him. 60 is a lot of points, but I think he can do it.
Other options: None
Career High – 30
Like Smith, it’s tough to find something he’s got a great shot at. 31 goals is a lot to ask from Marchessault, but he’s absolutely capable of it. He wasn’t quite at his best last year and still hit 18 in 55 games. Play all 82, as he did in 2017-18, and there’s at least a chance.
Other Options: Shootout Goals (5)
Career High – 34
With Alex Tuch sidelined for half the year (which is why he’s not on this list), Janmark is going to have a significant role on this team. I expect him to thrive no matter where they put him, but I actually expect him to get time up the lineup as they shuffle things around. If he can have a nice run somewhere in the top-six for a week or two, he could shatter this number.
Career High – +10
It’s been a minute since Dadonov was on a good team. In fact, he’s really never been on a team anything like this one. And he absolutely wasn’t last year when he was in Ottawa. Either way, he’s a career -17 player and was -9 last year, but that number almost has to come up by default. There were only two Golden Knights who finished with a negative rating last year and pretty much everyone who had any role inside of the top-nine was at least +10.
Other options: Blocks (42), Defensive Point Shares (1.9)
Stat: All of them
Roy’s career-high in games is 50. His other career-highs are goals (6), assists (9), and points (15), all of which he set last year. He should obliterate all of them with his permanent role on the team.
Stat: Games Played
Career High – 71
The old Will Carrier would have never been projected to play anything close to 60 games, let alone 70 or even 80, but the last few years he’s been much less reckless and much more healthy. The challenge here is staying in the stacked VGK forward lineup. He’ll be pushed by guys like Keegan Kolesar and Brett Howden and will have to be on top of his game to earn a spot in the lineup on a nightly basis.
Other options: PIM (39), Shots (99), TOI (701)
Stat: Power Play Assists
Career High – 3
The main addition to solving VGK’s power play woes is Dadonov, but don’t sleep on Patrick being a factor in a potential turnaround. Patrick’s best skill is his offensive upside and he’s shown the ability to put up points at the NHL level. If he can get himself a role on the power play, even for just a month, he should be able to tally four assists.
Other options: Blocks (26), Games Played (73), Shots (127)