This is a cautionary tale. It is meant to serve as a reminder that nothing is guaranteed in the NHL, and to show that even one of the best teams of this decade is susceptible to a season just like the Golden Knights are experiencing right now. Unfortunately, this tale’s happy ending came three seasons after the year we’re going to discuss in this article.
The team under the microscope is the 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning.
Just one year prior the Bolts had reached the Conference Finals where they were dispatched in seven games by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. The year before, Tampa played in the Cup Final where they were outclassed by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Coming into 16-17, expectations were high, very high. Tampa was the third favorite to win the Cup in the betting odds and were expected to eclipse 100 points with ease.
The season began well as the Lightning ripped off five wins in their first six games and racked up a 12-7-1 record over their first 20 games. They were sitting in 2nd place in the division and cruising along just like years prior.
Then, the injury bug hit.
Within a 10 game span. Captain Steven Stamkos was lost for four months with a knee injury, stallwart defenseman Anton Stralman went down with an upper-body injury, and Ryan Callahan was lost with a lower body injury.
Over the next few months, Tampa saw Brian Boyle, Jason Garrison, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette, Vlad Namestnikov, and Ben Bishop all miss games. By the end of the year, no team lost more money from the salary cap to injuries on the season than the Lightning.
As they soldiered on, their play suffered. Tampa went a miserable 10-18-5 during the meat of the season which had them within one point of dead last in the Eastern Conference standings on February 1st.
Following the season, Tampa Bay radio announcer Dave Mishkin chronicled the year in an extended article on the team’s website. Here are a few snippets.
Team defense, an area of strength in recent years for the Lightning, was looser. –Mishkin, TBL radio announcer
In past years, the Lightning had been able to overcome injuries to key players. So the Lightning felt that their past experiences playing without their captain would help them survive. And for a week after the injury, the Lightning played pretty well without Stamkos. But the wheels were about to come off. –Mishkin, TBL radio announcer
The foundation cracks that had been noticeable early in the year were still there. And the Blue Jackets exposed them. The Lightning weren’t playing as a tight, cohesive unit. Nor were they playing with an edge. And they were missing the leadership, both on and off the ice, of Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan. –Mishkin, TBL radio announcer
It all sounds so familiar, right?
That Lightning team charged to the finish line ripping off 20 wins, and 44 points in their final 30 games. But it wasn’t enough.
They’d finish just two points out of the playoffs and the countless number of “if they make it, they’re going to be dangerous” quotes in the media went out with a whimper.
The arc of that season for the Lightning doesn’t exactly mirror what the Golden Knights are going through, but there are enough similarities to conjure up concerns of what’s possible for the 2021-22 Golden Knights.
Since January 1st, 2022, Vegas is 10-10-4 with just three wins over teams currently sitting in playoff position. The Golden Knights have scored 61 goals in those 24 games for an average of 2.54 per night, which is good for 28th in the league in during that span, better than only Seattle, San Jose, Philadelphia, and Ottawa.
Like that Lightning team, the Golden Knights are looser defensively, they are missing the leadership of their captain and key defenseman Alec Martinez, and the cracks that showed up during their 1-4-0 start to the season and rearing their ugly head as the season ramps up.
Right now, Vegas still sit comfortably in a playoff position, thanks in large part to the being in the worst division in the league. But the path they’ve been on for the last two months, playing at a point per game pace, gives plenty of reason for consternation moving forward.
The 2016-17 Lightning had as good a shot as anyone to win the Cup had they just reached the playoffs. Assuming health, the same can be said about the Golden Knights. Those Bolts couldn’t clear the hurdle and thus never got the chance, the same will be true for these Golden Knights if they don’t pick up their play soon.
Thank you so much for this editorial.
I feel so much better now because of it.
No, not really……
The issues go well beyond the injuries, and I think we all know what they are. Anyone can clearly see that Lehner, Hague, and Fumbledore are not playing well. Karlsson had one fantastic year and then after getting paid has been pretty much invisible. He’s still a good puck handler with speed but the numbers are no where close to where we would expect them to be. The same can be said of Smith, who will be an UFA after this season.
…pretty much invisible….
DEFINE hockey stupid in one phrase…
There is only one blitz. (which might even be one too many)
I am agreeing with Richie Rich lately
THE hockey GODv
I agree when they lose
I disagree when they win
There’s always a reason we lose but the truth is there’s lots of reasons we lose. Start with goaltending, then move on to Theadore, Hague, and Coghlan who are underachieving, then on to the Misfit line decent but not Stanley Cup caliber, and the other 3 lines go from decent to brutal and you wonder why we can’t score. Alex Tuch found a home in Buffalo and here he was a third line player which we can all see now he wasn’t cast right. Nick Suzuki was only looked at as a third line center at best and Cody Glass was going to be the man. Nolan Patrick just can’t stay on the ice. We keep trying to put a square peg in a round hole and it’s just not working. First round prediction #8 seat Vegas upsets #1 seat Colorado to really piss off the Avalanche.
Theo is terrible and I called for VGK to trade him 2 years ago when they sign Petro – made Theo REDUNDANT and tradeable.. The biggest issue with VGK is the arrogant Kelly McIdiot. Let’s review;
1 out bids himself for MAF, over paying him by $2M which results in Mcidiot having to let MAF go to get under a salary cap his poor decisions caused.
2. Signs RL in a panic move – out bids himself again as NO TEAM wanted to sign RL to term. RL has only started more than 40 games a season 3 times in his career. His best season was NYI as a replacement. When Robin has been the guy, at best he has been a 1B. $5M per and term for a 1B is yet another poor Mcidiot decision.
3. As mentioned, failure to trade Theo for value, redundant with Petro in fold.
4. Dadonov trade – it seems McIdiot thinks he’s smarter than the rest of the NHL here – He’s dumber actually, with everyone pretty much saying Daddio was washed up = correct view.
5. Paying nearly $6M per for an unproven player who had 1 and 1 half good seasons = Karlsson.
Dadonov and Karlsson combine for nearly $11M in cap – trade them both away. Fans need to stop pining on the “Misfits line.” Karlsson IS NOT A TOP 6 FORWARD. belongs on line 3.
VGK front office since 2018 = poor with only one good trade = Stone. Patches was NOT NEEDED.
VGK FO has no discipline or patience, spends foolishly, is arrogant and stupid = a deadly NHL combo that usually ensures a team cellar dwells, sometimes for a decade or more (See Sabres).
As good as Eichel is, I’d point out that every Sabre team he was on was a loser. Many NHL execs don’t ‘get this.’
You build a depth team so you can rotate 4 lines = FRESH come playoff time (Even Ken pushed this line of thinking and he was correct). Why u think Edmonton ALWAYS CRAPS OUT COME POSTSEASON? When we beat The Jets in 2018 WCF, they had a much better top end team but lacked depth; even outplaying us for large stretches of time in that series, THEY WERE DOUBLE SHIFTING and that did them in.
We lost to Habs because we put so much emphasis on winning President’s Cup, that after AVS series we were totally BURNT OUT (again, goes to the key point in having 4 lines of SOLID DEPTH rather than reliance on being top heavy).
VGK had those 4 lines in year one, but because FO were arrogant, stupid, impatient, and lacking discipline, they could not resist TRADING FOR every ‘shiny toy’ so after this year, expect VGK to be a perennial “miss the playoffs” team.
Short term thinkers are almost always LOSERS in life.
Top heavy NHL TEAMS RARELY IF EVER WIN A CUP.
Time will tell whether they become the cellar dweller you forecast. Meantime under DeBoer they have been to the conference finals each season. Never mind the success, management is atrocious, couldn’t be worse.
If I may Howard, what is your background in the game. Played…high school, college, pro? Coached? Or just a fan, possibly a disgruntled season ticket holder?
Tim. I really like the way you ended that.
WTF are you talking about…
Are you aware of VGK record in the last four years….brother that is how success is defined…feel free to analyze the KRAKEN…
Grasping for straws.
So, we will just ignore the fact that Deboer with every team he has coached, takes a dump in his 3rd season.
PDB needs to go, his system will never win a Cup because it relies too much DURING THE SEASON in asking players to block everything = injuries = burnt out come playoffs.
Ask SJS, NJD fans.
Ken keeps copping out here, PDB is the problem- is Ken afraid of losing press credentials for calling him out? Eichel wasn’t afraid to do it when he called VGK system, “predicable” and it is.
Too much Dmen pinching, too many point shots, wasted possessions. too much emphasis on blocking shots, too much emphasis on dmen engaging.
Ryan The Hockey Guy @RyanHockeyGuy2h
It looks like assistant Ryan Craig is running the Golden Knights power play in practice. #VegasBorn https://t.co/5rMiZx4pkX
Good! it looks like another scalp for the SinBin commenters…….out damn Spott
THE hockey GOD
Goaltender, New York Rangers
Contract: Pending RFA, $2.425-million AAV
Last Rank: 9th
Scoop: We previously reported that, in addition to checking in on Fleury, the Golden Knights also inquired about Georgiev. The Rangers have been making calls in an attempt to move Georgiev, provided GM Chris Drury can find another veteran that he’d be comfortable with as an insurance policy on Hart Trophy candidate Igor Shesterkin. There is almost no path to Georgiev being a Ranger next season. Georgiev was a staple on the Trade Target board last summer after placing what we’d call a ‘soft’ trade request with the Rangers. He let the team be known he was open to a change of scenery, ready for a starter’s workload elsewhere. He’s not wrong: Over five NHL seasons, Georgiev has a career save percentage of .910. The league average is .904 this season.
Once again I am in agreement with ThG! This trade is a no brainer. Straight up Georgiev for Brossoit. In fact, we might even be able to squeeze a 2nd or 3rd round pick. VGK saves about $1 million in CAP and gets a younger goaltender with nothing but potential upside.
The alternative is to ship Lehner to NY and eat some of that salary this year. This might be a bit more difficult considering the CAP. The good thing is that it sets up a competition between Georgiev and Thompson next season for the starting spot.
So why are the Rangers trading Georgiev plus draft picks for a more expensive Laurent Brossoit?
It’s blatantly obvious why Vegas likes the idea but why would the Rangers do it?
Good point, throw in Smith and upgrade the picks to a 1 and a 2 along with Georgiev.
Fans need to stop pining on the “Misfits line.” Karlsson IS NOT A TOP 6 FORWARD. belongs on line 3.
He is right. I still like the player. Unfortunately in a hard cap salary matters.
I think this front office is great but has made some mistakes. I think you are all too critical of them. They don’t have a crystal ball. how do you predict that Karlsson would just stop scoring goals. We know that he wasn’t a 43 goal scorer but I don’t think we could’ve predicted he would struggle to score 1/3 of that.
Karlsson is capable of scoring more .Its this system .No one is scoring, barely !! .Theres no offensive mastermind to change the schematics.
Any thoughts comparing seasons 2 and 3 through game 58 with this season? Better, worse about the same etc.? Prospects for the postseason, roster, coaching and systems comparisons assuming VGK makes the playoffs? One thing is after DeBoer came in season 3 they went on a big run beginning game 59.
This season: 32-22-4 (68 pts)
Season 2: 31-23-4 (66 pts)
Season 3: 28-22-8 (64 pts)
THE hockey GOD
another Fauci funded LAB allegedly discovered !
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland admitted to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday that the United States is working with Ukraine to protect biological research labs while Russia continues its invasion.
The admission comes on the heels of mainstream media outlets and fact checkers labeling US-installed biolabs in Ukraine as ‘Russian disinformation.’
“Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” Nuland told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a hearing.
Her response came in regards to a question from Senator Marco Rubio, who asked: “Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?”
On Wednesday, Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, told the United States on Wednesday, “We have found your biological weapons!”
From The Gateway Pundit:
“There was statement made by the Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, leave no doubt, will not give Washington to be silent this time. Their attempts, while spilling blood, to find biological and chemical weapons throughout the world. We have found your own products. We have found your biological material. As it turns out it was all happening in Ukraine,” RT, Russia state-affiliated media reported.
Russia now demands the US to explain bio labs in Ukraine.
Russia accused the U.S. of violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and has covered it up.
PRAYER CHAIN FOR TRUMP: Please add your name and a prayer to support our President!
The Chinese Communist Government has also confronted the United States on its alleged 336 biological labs in 30 countries across the globe.
China accused the United States of having 26 biological labs in Ukraine under its control.<<lol, covering up their own !!!
I feel for the good people of Ukraine, but also the good people of Russia for dealing with this shit, but I have to say the Ukraine government is corrupt as fuck. Well, so is our current one and that is no coincidence.
I think you need to start paying attention to the news Putin just bombed children’s hospital.
I’ll never understand blaming the victims.
knights fan in minny
flip flop is a scum bag where has he been
the REAL TS..REALLY!
PLEASE MAKE THE POLITICAL LASHING STOP!! WE ALL HAVE OUR OPINIONS, THG. WE AREN’T PUSHING THEM ONTO HOCKEY FANS. WHY ARE YOU?? COME ON, KEEP IT HOCKEY, OR GOOGLE ” PUTIN’S WAR”– 1000 SITES WILL OFFER YOU SPACE FOR THIS DISCUSSION. PLEASE STOP TRYING TO STIR THINGS UP POLITICALLY ON SINBIN!
THE hockey GOD
hockey related since VGK have Russian players in Russia.
the REAL TS..REALLY!
Say what?? Come on, man. Biolabs=hockey?
He can’t control himself as most partisan hacked brainwashed parrots – left and right wing cannot resist the urge to make everything about politics. Half the stuff he promotes is disinformation but if he wants to debate on a proper forum. I’m game but I agree. Ken should ban political bs on this site – not sure why he does not.
THE hockey GOD
I guess you missed this part “Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland admitted to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday that the United States is working with Ukraine to protect biological research labs while Russia continues its invasion.”
And it’s all inter related to the war in Ukraine. IT is not a stretch.
Interesting. The Walrus is ranked 17th of 25 goaltenders in the NHL. Not good enough.
Where is Georgiev and Fleury ranked on that list. The goalies that you probably think should replace Lehner. Fleury is ranked 19th and Giorgiev is not on that list. Do you also find that interesting? I find it extremely interesting that you think The walrus as you call him being ranked 17th on some fantasy list is not good enough but you want to replace him with Fluery ranked 19th and Giorgiev unranked.
And fuck fantasy, I’ve already brought up the actual real world and real facts which has Lehner out performing both of them in save percentage over their careers and this year. Is that interesting to you?
“Defense, bum bum, defense”
Did you listen to Ken’s goalie interference podcast Galdom? You cannot compare Fleury on the Buffalo team against Lehner on the Golden Knights. You are comparing apples and oranges. You have to go back to when both were playing on the Golden Knights at their best. When you do so, Fleury is the better goaltender. There are two obvious reasons why Lehner was kept and Fleury traded and they have nothing to do with performance. The first is age and longevity and the most important reason was salary. That’s it.
I don’t understand how some try to compare 1 player on a good team to another player on one if the worst teams? Why not just look at last year, but you can’t do that because it won’t fit their agenda
By the way, my comment about Lehner being 17th out of 25 goaltenders has nothing to do with Fleury or Georgiev. It has everything to do with whether or not Lehner is good enough as at the position to cover up for the injuries and weakness on defense. He’s not and more importantly this team is not going to win a Cup this year. It’s time for a yard sale.
Who said anything about MAF??? Are you infatuated with him?
American music venues banning Tchaikovsky, and soon we will be asked not to read Dostoyevsky or Solzhenitsyn. World gone mad.
THE hockey GOD
why not Sozhenitsyn ? The The Gulag Archipelago Volume (I read it ) is certainly not looked favorable by the putin puppets.
Hey THG, Who would Alexander Georgiev be replacing? Would he be replacing Robin Lehner? You mentioned that Georgiev has a career .910 save percentage and and that the league average is .904. Do you realize that Robin Lehner has a career save percentage of .917? Do you also realize that Robin Lehner has a higher save percentage then Georgiev has this year?
Hey Hockey God, I’ve gotten off the defending Robin Lehner train because people have finally smartened up and realized that he is not the main reason why this team has been struggling this year and that it is because this team can’t put the puck in the net. Robin Lehner is slightly off this year and can be better as he has been in the past but the same can be said for so many others on this team and finally people are mentioning it.
THG, Think about how you sound when you have a post about Vegas potentially going after Georgiev and Fleury and you support your argument at least in regards to Giorgiev and that he has a career .910 save percentage when Robin Lehner has a career save percentage of .917. And in this present year which is very relevant Georgiev has a save percentage .893 and Lehner who is apparently awful has a save percentage of .909. It’s not even close.
Fleury career save percentage is .913.
Fluery save percentage this year is .908
Georgiev career save percentage is .910
Giorgio save percentage this year is .893
Lehner career save percentage is .917
Lehner save percentage this year is .909
Robin Lehner has both of those other guys beat in career save percentage and in save percentage this year.
There are 44 goalies who have played over 21 games this season. Out of those 44 goalies Robin Lehner currently ranks 20th in save percentage at .909. He hasn’t been quite as good as his career average but he is middle of the pack this year. Yes we wish he would be better but he is not killing this team as much as people think and replacing him with Georgiev or Fleury is not the answer. Putting the puck in the net and scoring goals is the answer. Getting one freaking goal in 48 shots against Philadelphia is what is killing them.
For shits and giggles I went to the nhl.com database and took the goaltending stats since 2017-18 when Vegas entered the league. 189 different goalies have played since and to bring the numbers down I took only the goalies who had played over 80 games and that brought it down to 66 goalies. Some irrelevant goalies are on that list that no longer play like Ben Bishop, Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford but I left them on there anyways because they have played over 80 games since 2017-18.
In summary, during this time period from 2017-18 to present Robin Lehner ranks 16th out of 66 goalies with a .916 save percentage. Marc Andre Fluery ranks an impressive 18th. They are both good goalies and I have always said so.
Robin Lehner has weaknesses just like virtually every other goalie does. His lateral movement isn’t the greatest. But somehow, someway the panda has stopped the puck at an elite rate for most of his career and this season he has done it at a better than league average rate, a competitive rate but down from his standards. The numbers have always said and continue to say that he is a good goalie. The team has struggled this season mainly because the power play stinks, they can’t score, other intangibles like lack of physicality, attention to detail and at certain times the goaltending hasn’t been as good as it needed to be. Robin Lehner is and always has been way down the list on reasons why they have had an off year. I felt like I was beating a dead drum for the longest time saying this but finally some are beginning to talk about the real reasons why this team has been off this year.
THE hockey GOD
@ galdom, just posting the trade bait news of the day , from above post:
“He let the team be known he was open to a change of scenery, ready for a starter’s workload elsewhere.”
Here is a Fact you forgot to mention.
VGK 2 wins 16 losses in games when scoring 2 goals.
RL, 1 shut out
RL, 6 games allowed 1 goal
MAF, 4 Shut outs
MAF, 7 games allowed 1 goal
It’s easy to think we could have at least 8 or 10 more points in the standings.
Now for an opinion/fact MAF has faced a tougher schedule while playing on a weaker.
Good points VGK Fan. A lot of teams are not gonna have a very good record when they only scored two goals in a game. I think that’s probably because they only score two goals. But I do see your point. Perhaps if Lehner is sharper they win some more of those games.
I have said it consistently. Against the better teams VGK has to score 4+ goals with their defense and mediocre at best goaltending. Of course, this means that I do believe Lehner can steal games against the bottom feeders, but I am even beginning to rethink that after almost losing to Ottawa and getting beat by Philly.
VGK currently ranks 15th in the league in points with 68. If Mark Stone, Matt Pacioretty and Alec Martinez had not missed significant time how many of those losses would have turned into wins. Could it be six wins which would have given them an extra 80 points? 80 points would rank them fifth in the league standings tied with Tampa. Or would it be modest to say an extra four wins which would give them 76 points, which would rank the eighth in the league and first place in the Pacific. If they were completely healthy or even healthier and Robin Lehner was saving the puck at a .917 save rate (his career avg) they could have something close to 84 points. That would put them second in the league in points. I don’t think that’s ridiculous. They did finish tied in first and regular season points last year. Bottom line, Lehner has not been awful as some think as the numbers simply don’t support that argument.
This team needs to get healthier, fix their power-play, score some goals at a better than pathetic rate, instill some of the old passion back into the game and finally down that list have Robin Lehner play a little bit better and closer to his career standard.
THE hockey GOD
@galdom, the team is full of damaged goods now. It’s like someone took a big bag of shiny marbles. Dropped it from a second floor, picked up the bag and sorted through the bag to see how many shiny marbles are left and how many broken ones resulted. What do do with the broken ones ?
I think Lehner’s done.
THE hockey GOD
@RR are you “hoping” or do you “know” for sure ??
He didn’t look “right’ at all since coming off this
last stint . Certainly not his form for first half of season
or most of last season. OR his time in bubble. Something
is clearly “off'”.
I just think he’s done. I am not hoping nor do I know for sure. I gave up on him back in mid-January. He’s clearly off, injured and not good to go. So many of the moves by McCrimmon are coming to fruition as bad moves. I felt really good for Tuch, Krebs and Eakin tonight. You can see that they are playing with fire in their bellies, not like this ghost of a team we are seeing in Vegas.
THE hockey GOD
speaking of broken marble, it’s pretty obvious something is very much wrong with VGK starting goalie, they are bringing LT from henderson out, and he looked awful in his 6 3 loss to Ontario (which was staffed with Kings NHL players in that game)
JESSE G reports
Robin Lehner has been sent back to Las Vegas for “some tests” relating to a lower body injury.
Logan Thompson has joined the team here in Buffalo and Laurent Brossoit will start tonight against the Sabres.
knights fan in minny
hurt again it never ends
I think Peter said “not upper body”. Peter didn’t called it “lower body”. Normally one could think that lower body is obvious, but with the standard VGK PR bullshit we can’t be sure. Two things are true though. One, RL is hurt alot and two, after playing like shit RL is often out for a stretch. I don’t think he has been *bad* the last 2 games, but fact is his only 3 goals given up in last 2 games all were bad, some way shape or form.
Maybe it means he is sent home for “tests”, like the test of seeing if he even wants to be on the team any more. Just stirring up shit.
THE hockey GOD
will VGK Russian prospects become criminals ??
Russia intends to change conscription rules
It is proposed to make amendments so that a summons can be sent to a conscript by registered mail.
If he does not receive the letter and does not come to the recruiting office on his own, it will be considered a criminal offence.
THG, thanks for the info.
We maybe looking at a future situation somewhat similar to when the Stastny brothers defected from Czechoslovakia to Canada in 1980.
Holy Shit!!! Damaged is an understatement. If Lehner is not healthy then why are we pushing him. It’s the same thing that we did with Stone. I know Brossoit is kind of crappy but let’s at least give Thompson some kind of a look.
knights fan in minny
yes sir give logan the net whate wrong with smith
THE hockey GOD
“Undisclosed injury” , he took a hit in last game.
Its a back to back and buffalo is hot garbage. I really hope Thompson gets the look tonight and not LB back to back.
THE hockey GOD
@galdom, take a look at LT’s loss to Ontario Reign and get back to me with your analysis.
Fuck!!!! Oh oh
Tonight the Knights vs the former Knights should be interesting. Krebs, Tuch, Miller, Eakin, and Subban would get great pleasure in adding to our misery. After tonight we’ve got some tough games coming up so Ken since you can’t exert to much energy early and burn out should we turn it on now or go in the Shawn Wright lottery? Lehner hurt AGAIN that’s a surprise Patch to follow just give him a few games and he’ll tweek something.
It appears as a fan and certainly not an expert in this game that the passing between vgk players pretty much sucks! Maybe they need to post a large picture of the opposing teams jersey at the door to the locker room with a sign saying ” Don’t hit the puck to the guys wearing this jersey”. Just a thought but our passing game and giveaways sucks!