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Ken’s Answers To The Athletic’s Fan Confidence Survey

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year The Athletic does a fan survey to learn more about the confidence of the fan base in different areas of the organization. The results of this year’s survey were published today and we highly recommend you read Jesse Granger’s article accompanying the results before you read the rest of this. Trust me, it’ll all make more sense if you do (and you’ll get to see the results, which I’m purposely not sharing here so you click that link).

Now, it’s time for my answers to the questions Jesse posed to the fan base.

With Vegas missing the playoffs for the first time, what is your confidence level in the direction of the organization? (5 being the highest level of confidence)

Ken’s Answer – 2

Despite the fact that it scares the crap out of me to think about, I really think the Golden Knights are headed for a pretty hefty rebuild that will start sometime between December of this year and the end of next season. The reason why I go with a 2 instead of a 1 here is that the roster is still good enough right now to make some noise. It’s going to take A LOT to go right (including health, unexpected players stepping forward, fortunate playoff matchups, etc) but I do see a path for this team to win the Cup this year, and I’m predicting them to make the playoffs. So, I can’t in good faith give them a 1, even though the “direction” is clearly heading in the wrong way from where it was a few years ago.

What do you expect out of the Golden Knights this coming season?

Ken’s Answer – First-round exit

If the Golden Knights stay healthy the entire season, I think they’ll win the division. I don’t see that happening though. In fact, I’d guess they are more likely to be closer to last season than they are 100% healthy, which is terrifying. Thus, my projection is that VGK will finish in 3rd or in a wild card spot. If it’s a WC, they are almost certainly going out in the 1st round. If they do get into 3rd, I could see them squeaking through a round.

What is your overall confidence level in Kelly McCrimmon and George McPhee? (5 being the highest level of confidence)

Ken’s Answer – 1

For years every time I’ve begun to criticize the front office I had to remind myself these are the same people that built the team from the Expansion Draft. However, over the course of the past few summers, the front office has made a point of saying (both outright publicly and via their moves) that they found that team to be a fluke. So, I’m having a harder and harder time giving them credit for it as they continue to retool rosters that are getting worse and worse.

It’s important to note that all I care about is winning the Cup. I don’t want playoff berths, I don’t care how many rounds you win, I just want to win the Cup. I’ve completely lost faith that this front office knows how to do it. McPhee is 0 for 21 and McCrimmon is 0 for 5. It’s harsh, I know, but I’d be lying if I put any other number than 1.

Do you agree with the decisions to fire Pete DeBoer and hire Bruce Cassidy?

Ken’s Answer – Disagree

This was a tough one to answer because I’d prefer to say I’m neutral instead of picking a side. But, Granger’s answers forced me to agree or disagree, so I’m going with disagree. The main reason is that I do not believe Pete DeBoer should have ever gotten fired. So, while I like Cassidy and think he’ll do a good job, the move should have never been made in the first place, therefore I can’t truly agree with it.

What is your confidence level that Cassidy will improve Vegas’ power play? (5 being the highest level of confidence)

Ken’s Answer – 3

By the numbers, I expect it to improve because how could it not? But I don’t see this suddenly becoming a dangerous power play. In the end, the power play is about the players making great plays and though I do see Cassidy giving them more answers, I just can’t see a group that has struggled for years suddenly turning it around with their best PP weapon suiting up for the Carolina Hurricanes.

What is your biggest concern with the current roster?

Ken’s Answer – Forwards

It comes down to one word. Depth. There isn’t anywhere close to enough and that’s with everyone healthy (which they probably won’t be at many different points). I’m majorly concerned about what the bottom-six looks like on a nightly basis and I’ve long been a believer that the NHL is a worst-player league. The team with the best worst player wins more often than not. VGK will be fighting an uphill battle in that category against any above-average team.

What is your confidence level in Robin Lehner as the starting goalie for the Golden Knights? (5 being the highest level of confidence)

Ken’s Answer – 4

Robin Lehner is good, very good actually. He’s not quite a Top 5 goalie in the NHL, but he’s certainly above average. The injuries severely hindered his play last season and as long as those don’t continue he’ll be perfectly fine (this answer might be a 5 if you could guarantee me health). It’s going to be up to the skaters to determine how his season will go. If the team plays great in front of him, he’ll put up monster numbers and prove the critics wrong. If the team continues to give up 15 high-danger chances a game, his numbers will be poor and fan base will have a field day. Life of a goalie, I guess.

What are your expectations for Eichel in his first full season in Vegas?

Ken’s Answer – More than 90 points

I’m projecting Eichel to land on 93 points and lead the team by a wide margin. I’m not expecting Cassidy to be able to fix some of the defensive issues that have plagued Eichel throughout his career though. He’ll wow you consistently and the numbers will be record-setting for VGK, but the overall impact will be far less than most expect because of his defensive shortcomings.

Now that Vegas has made the necessary moves to get under the salary cap, do you agree with the move to trade for Eichel?

Ken’s Answer – No

I wish “Hell No” was an option. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again and I’ll probably be saying it over and over for the next decade: Eichel will break every offensive record in the VGK books and that trade will still be the worst move in franchise history. The Golden Knights simply were not in a place to make the trade and they did it anyway. Now, they’ll pay the price, which, like Eichel, they also can’t afford.

Other answers I’m not revealing the questions to in further hopes that you read the original article

Ken’s Answers – Brett Howden, Jonathan Marchessault, Jake Leschyshyn, Same Amount

**If you aren’t subcribed to The Athletic, you are being a sports fan wrong. Jesse’s content on VGK alone is worth the price of admission and if you are a fan of any other team or any other sport it’s the best bargain out there.**

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31 Comments

  1. Richie-Rich

    I give management a -1!!

    I am sure no one is surprised especially ThG

  2. Ken – your answers suggest you have been reading my posts which many don’t agree with but that is the prerogative. This team is weaker than ever and while you are optimistic, they have a shot at the Cup that is wishful thinking. Not sure how you gave Lehner a pass, but I can tell you without any reservation if they are depended on him to be their saving grace, they will need more than luck and a great defense in front of him. You called team 1 a fluke, I have referred to it as they accidently were luck and fell into it. The splash brothers must be getting paid by other teams to destroy what they accidently assembled as they are doing a great job in that regard unfortunately. Nothing against Eichel but he was not what was sacrificed to have him become a Knight. I seriously question if he will perform to your forecast as I am not sure he has the supporting cast to do so. MJ was a great baseball player, but he had a great supporting with Pippen and the crazy Rodman. No hockey is not baseball by any means, but one guy doesn’t made a team.

  3. A former season ticket holder

    dont give a shit what the survey said… not paying for the privilege

  4. Unrelated Patches torn Achilles out atlest 6 months.

  5. Emmanuel

    I’ve never understood fans who “just want to make the playoffs”. 1 Cup winner, 31 losers.

  6. Emmanuel

    How many teams are 3 lines deep? Edmonton? Colorado? kings? Calgary? Are they deeper? 3rd and 4th lines are there to eat garbage minutes and fill in for the injured.

  7. I just confirmed the Patches injury, it’s unbelievable. I wish him the best, at this stage of his career this is bad, but an achilles injury is a tough one. 6 months is a long time.

  8. Obvious

    I think someone helped themselves into psycho lehners stash before answering these questions

    Vegas making the playoffs? Not a hope. Fat bastard has a better chance stuffing his fat face in victory at the Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

    Unlikely stone will last the season without serious injury

    Eichel.. hope I’m wrong but no confidence at all he will be the player many think he is.

    • SMH

      “Unsophisticated” = some common synonyms of “unsophisticated” are artless, ingenuous, naive. While all these words mean “free from pretension or calculation,” unsophisticated implies a lack of experience and training necessary for social ease and adroitness.

    • jeff

      How’s the view from your couch calling a NHL goaltender a fat bastard….I’d have to wonder if you’re even able to walk a mile without passing out. No one else will say it but I will, you’re just a flat out piece of shit. That pretty fucking obvious. Go away already

  9. Tim

    Here’s a flash for you Patch out 6 months now that’s almost comical if it wasn’t so sad.

  10. Cindy

    But Ken, It’s $79! That’s a lot right now with gas , rent, and food prices! Maybe next year!

  11. BT

    Depth is fine IMO. Maybe not as deep as seasons past, but i mean…Eichel, Karlsson, Stephenson, Roy, Howden and Patrick. Smith, Marchy, Stone, Manninen is a bit if a mystery.
    If anything our depth in the wing is so-so, but we will have 2 extra Centers that presumably will play on the wing in the bottom 6. And they’ve got experience in both positions.
    Stephenson i guess would take patches spot…who knows. Someone else made the same comment in here, not many teams more depth then that going through the 3rd lines. Sooo, i don’t think that’s a issue if youd ask me.
    Our defense definitely is not the best, but when guys are executing their assignments the D can be very strong. They certainly kept us in many games when the offense was M.I.A.

    Only thing i find odd is that you think the injury situation will be the same. We were easily one of, if not the most injured team last year. We couldn’t catch a break…whenever a player came back, another would go down. By far the most injuries we had in a season. We probably played maybe 20 games with our intended lineup. Idk why you think that is bound to happen again. Really, if we avoid the injuries we are a good team.
    With Eichel, Stone, Marchy, Smith, Theodore, Petro & Lehner healthy and on point…they are very talented players. Roy, Karlsson, Stephenson Hague, Martinez are all very good role players. We could stand to toughen up. So idk how much we will need players to step up who aren’t expected to.
    As far as the future of the organization, we are a aged veteran team id say….but still young enough. We always had a ton of draft picks as a result of the expansion draft. We have traded away some of those guys, especially our #1’s and 2’s. But we still have good young talent and we still have plenty of picks. Looking at all the players we’ve given up….only Suzuki for Patches as really turned into a player that would currently be making a difference on this team. Plenty of time to insert players into the system without tearing it down. Brisson could be our #3 or #2 C in a matter of a year or two.

    • Pete

      BT I think we’re on the same level here….although I think you like 90 a little more than I do.

    • BT,

      I like your optimism but the fact is we only have one guy in the bottom six who has scored more than 10 goals in a season and he did once. So for me that is a reason for concern. I’m not including Nolan Patrick just not sure he will ever play again although I’m rooting for him.

  12. Sorvino

    I agree with most of Ken‘s opinions, especially giving Robin Lehner a 4 out of 5. The guy was very badly hurt and may still not be 100% ready for the very first game. But, if healthy he has been very solid over his career. He had multiple injuries last year and still performed just as well as guys like Marc-André Fleury and Connor Hellebuyck did healthy. If the team is at least a bit more healthy and plays better defence under Cassidy, Lehner’s numbers could come back to his career norm which were always among the best in the league. One thing I do disagree with is the possibility of Vegas going into a full scale rebuild in December. I just can’t see that as being the plan, not by this ownership. It wouldn’t make sense to extend Reilly Smith, Brayden McNabb and hire Bruce Cassidy. I believe they will do everything they can and go full throttle to make a run but this group is not good enough.

  13. Foley Toffoli

    eff PDB and RL……..period.

  14. Mike StG

    Didn’t really need to read this article, because Ken’s answers were all going to be mostly negative. Other than rating Lehner positively (which I agree with), even the comments on Eichel’s offensive impact are effectively negated by citing his “defensive shortcomings”. There are many centers who are offensively gifted and not 2-way players – I wouldn’t consider McDavid, Draisaitl or Matthews (prior to last year) very good defensively either. Look at the top 10 scoring forwards and see how many are ‘200-ft’ defensive stalwarts. Just another negative backhanded comment to support an overall pessimistic view.

  15. Tits McGee

    RL OUT for the entire season!! Thanks for playing, everyone! LOL

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