Last week one of the best follows on Twitter, analytics wizard @JFreshHockey, dropped a bunch of “micro-stats” from stat-tracking company InStat.
InStat goes back over games and grades events like turnovers, zone entries, puck battles, and dekes. The Golden Knights were littered throughout the top and bottom 20 lists for a variety of stats, some that were quite surprising.
No surprise here, Mark Stone is awesome. The eye test has proven this out for years, but now we have a solid stat to show that when the puck is on Stone’s stick in the defensive zone, it’s coming out of the zone. Also unsurprisingly, he does it by passing the puck out as opposed to carrying it.
This week begins the unofficial start to the 2021-22 NHL season. Fresh Golden Knights prospects will hit the ice for Wednesday’s Rookie Camp and try to impress the men that drafted them and the coach that may lead them in the future. Sure, it won’t be the names you’ll see in Pete DeBoer’s regular season lineup but it’s hockey nevertheless and a reminder to fans that their favorite local team is only weeks from competing for another chance at the Stanley Cup.
Although it’s only Vegas’ fifth rookie training camp we can all agree that this is a new era for Golden Knights hockey. Who would’ve thought we’d be saying that but it’s true. Just one player off the roster changed the face and direction of the 31st franchise. Fans are still upset after the club traded Marc-Andre Fleury back in July and some (most) will never get over it. However, Vegas has a reasonable fanbase that will gladly trade in some painful news for an oversized, shiny silver chalice. That chase, in essence, starts on Wednesday.
VGK Important Dates:
Wednesday, September 15: Rookie Camp opens
Thursday, September 16: First day of rookie on-ice practice
Friday, Sept. 17: Rookie Faceoff- Vegas at Arizona, 7:30 PM
Sunday, Sept. 19: Vegas at San Jose, 2:00 PM
Monday, Sept. 20: Los Angeles at Vegas, 11:00 AM
Wednesday, September 22: Main Camp opens
Thursday, September 23: First day of on-ice practice
As you can see the schedule is fairly fluid starting Wednesday, leading up until Vegas’ first preseason game against San Jose. Beginning this week, loose diets, offseason bad habits, and summer mentalities will have to change in order to properly prepare for Game 1 of the preseason. After all, the regular season will come quick and the Golden Knights are eyeing another fast start in October.
As many of you may have heard, I have accepted a position with Vegas Hockey Now to cover the Golden Knights. One of the stipulations was I could not write for a compelling entity. Thus, my tenure at SinBin.vegas has come to an end.
When Ken approached me three years ago about writing a weekly column, I saw it as an opportunity to remain connected to the team and its fan base. But it ultimately became much more than that. I got to become good friends with Ken and Jason, who have put so much effort to launch and grow SinBin.vegas. I had a wonderful sponsor in Las Vegas attorney Jim Jimmerson. And I got to interact with a group of readers who are truly passionate about hockey in general and the Golden Knights in particular.
Yes, we may have disagreed from time to time, but I always appreciated the respect shown to me on this site as I wrote every Sunday. That meant a lot and was the main reason I continued to write for SinBin.
So while this may mean farewell, it does not mean goodbye. I will remain in Las Vegas. I will continue to write about the Golden Knights, only on a different platform. I invite all of you to check out my work at vegashockeynow.com and if you like what you see, we’d love to have you come on board as a subscriber.
Yes, vegashockeynow.com and SinBin.Vegas are technically competitors. But we are also friends and will remain friends. I believe it’s healthy to have different points of view and it helps the reader get more information.
So as I leave this space, allow me to say thank you. First, to Ken and Jason for having me as a colleague the last three years. You guys are awesome. My one regret was not appearing on more SinBin podcasts where Ken just lets ‘er rip and doesn’t hold back any punches.
Second, my thanks to attorney Jim Jimmerson for his sponsorship of my column. He is a good man, an excellent lawyer, and someone I consider a friend. Without his financial backing, there would not have been a column.
Finally, my biggest thanks goes to the readers. You folks are awesome. I admire your passion and dedication to hockey and the Golden Knights and you are the reason the NHL is working in Las Vegas. Your unwavering support of sites such as SinBin shows the world that this is indeed a great hockey town. Thank you again for your support of my work and your kind comments every week. I will always remember your appreciation that made this a great experience.
Enjoy the upcoming hockey season and I hope to hear from many of you in the days and weeks ahead in my new venture.
**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**
Training Camp is right around the corner, and while the Golden Knights depth chart is fairly set due to the sheer number of returning players, there are still plenty of guys who can use this next month to make their move into bigger roles this season. Players who put in excellent training camps are often those who are called upon first when the team experiences injuries or even just needs a shuffle in lines.
So, even though we can pretty much plot out the Golden Knights’ lineup for Opening Night right now, these players all have a chance to position themselves for larger roles on the team as the season rolls on.
The odds Dugan makes the roster out of camp are nearly insurmountable, but that certainly doesn’t mean he can’t show up and show out to move up the ranks once the waiver situation clears. In camp, the forward battle will be between guys like William Carrier, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick, and Keegan Kolesar, but once the roster is set and the games get underway, there will be a pecking order as to who is called next in the event of an injury. Last year, Dugan was never even in the conversation and didn’t even see a sniff of the NHL. This year, it starts with Rookie Camp, the tournament in Phoenix, and then main camp. If Dugan can dominate against the kids and then make an impact in main camp as well as preseason games, he’ll certainly jump up the line in the “next man up” rankings. We know he has the scoring touch and he plays a style of game coaches love. Plus, he has a bit of a nasty streak in him which could be needed if the season isn’t going as planned early for the Golden Knights. A big month of September would go a long way for Dugan to earn his NHL debut, even if that doesn’t come until the calendar flips to 2022.
There’s really no polite way to put this, so I’ll just come out and say it, the Pacific Division is bad. Aside from the Golden Knights, there’s not another team in the division that would be shocking if they missed the playoffs, and it’s probable two or three teams are going to be in the hunt for the #1 pick.
Just two of the eight teams set to compete in the Pacific this year made the playoffs a year ago, and the division claimed spots #2, 3, 7, 8, and 13.
The William Hill Mobile Sports app recently released their season point totals for all 32 NHL teams. The Golden Knights checked in at 105.5 points, tied with Tampa Bay for the second-most in the league (COL 109.5). No one else in the division has a line set over 97.
Edmonton Oilers Over/Under – 96.5
The Oilers were easily the next best team in the division behind the Golden Knights last year, despite playing in a completely different division. The challenge with projecting Edmonton to get to 97 points is a combination of their miserable offseason and their reliance on two players. If either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl miss any period of time, 97 points is toast, but even if they are healthy, the Oilers’ depth is so bad that it still might be tough to each the number. The saving grace for Edmonton is they’ve gotten solid goaltending and the division is putrid. Nonetheless, there are plenty of games outside the division to keep them from reaching the number, or challenging the Golden Knights atop the division. Pick: Under 96.5
While our eyes here at SinBin.vegas are always focused solely on hockey and the Vegas Golden Knights, the world’s focus today is on the NFL. The defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (literally writing this story just so I could type that line) take on the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener in Tampa tonight.
To celebrate the occasion, we’re going to have a little fun today and try to turn the Golden Knights into a football team, assigning each player a position on offense, defense, and/or special teams.
Only a few VGK players have much experience playing other sports, and from what we know, American football is not one we’ve heard of many Golden Knights giving a go. That doesn’t matter today though as we’ll sift through their skills to find the right place on the football field and build a Stanley Bowl Champion. (Yes, I meant to say Stanley Bowl, and it sure does sound stupid.)
QB – Reilly Smith RB – Jonathan Marchessault WR – Alex Tuch WR – Chandler Stephenson WR – Peyton Krebs TE – Max Pacioretty
While the obvious choice would be Mark Stone as the QB, I’m going with Reilly for a variety of reasons. Smith is the perfect combination of composure, intelligence, consistency, and skill that would make for the perfect quarterback. Behind him would be his trusty back, Marchy. A feisty little tank, I’d expect Marchessault to run with reckless abandon and hit the holes with the conviction we’ll need to have a strong ground game.
The receiving corps is absolutely stacked. A pair of Americans lead the way as Tuch’s speed/size combo would be deadly as the #1 receiver while Pacioretty would be a strong possession tight end who finds the endzone weekly. Stephenson’s speed gives him a chance to be a downfield threat and Krebs would be our classic little slot receiver who does nothing but move the chains.
We’re back in the studio to chat about young Golden Knights, a couple of guys still without contracts, players who need to impress in the preseason, and a whacky football-related exercise. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.
#66 is VGK’s first player on the under-23 list
What’s going on with Nolan Patrick and Dylan Coghlan’s contracts
Laurent Brossoit’s preseason importance
Who else can position themselves nicely after camp
If you are anything like me, when you play fantasy sports you have to have at least one player from your favorite team on your roster. You’d think being a fan of the Golden Knights would make this easy. Vegas has been one of the top three or four teams in the NHL each of the past two seasons and are right there again this year. However, fantasy hockey and actual hockey are much different.
NHL.com has released a whole host of fantasy hockey lists from Top 250 to sleepers to rookies to watch and the Golden Knights are notably absent on many of these lists. But, when they added it all up, VGK found themselves in 4th on the overall team rankings. Very confusing, let’s go through it.
The Golden Knights have eight players in the NHL Top 250. The first guy on the board doesn’t come until #24 though, that’s Robin Lehner. Then we find Max Pacioretty (#33), Mark Stone (#43), Alex Pietrangelo (#54), Shea Theodore (#63), William Karlsson (#138), Alec Martinez (#152), and Jonathan Marchessault (#164). Alex Tuch is also listed in “Key Injuries” which means he would likely have been in the Top 250 as well.
Lehner certainly earns the Golden Knights a lot of weight in the fantasy world and actually, Laurent Brossoit behind him helps out as well. The pair are ranked 4th in the NHL in fantasy goalie tandems behind the Islanders, Lightning, and Avalanche.
One slightly surprising omission is Peyton Krebs on the rookie list. Spencer Knight and Cole Caufield headline the list, but names like Marco Rossi, Jamie Drysdale, and Quinton Byfield made the cut. In fact, there are even a few “other” rookies listed and Krebs couldn’t even get his name included there.
Since 2010, 2nd overall picks in the NHL Draft have lived up to their expectations. Many have even outperformed the only pick chosen before them. It’s not the 1st selection of a draft but it’s an immensely valuable one. Screw up the 2nd pick in the draft and it’ll cost future results and ultimately jobs. So, it’s no surprise the Golden Knights took a chance on the 2nd overall selection from four years ago.
Second Overall Pick Since 2010 2010: Tyler Seguin BOS (6x All Star, Cup Winner) 2011: Gabriel Landeskog COL (ROY) 2012: Ryan Murray CBJ (395 NHL games) 2013: Aleksander Barkov FLA (Byng, Selke) 2014: Sam Reinhart BUF (295 NHL points) 2015: Jack Eichel BUF (3x All Star) 2016: Patrick Laine WPG (All Star) 2017: Nolan Patrick PHI (70 NHL points) 2018: Andrei Svechinikov CAR (140 NHL points) 2019: Kaapo Kakko NYR (40 NHL points) 2020: Quintin Byfield LAK 2021: Matthew Beniers SEA
As you can see there haven’t been many busts, if any, over the last decade or so. From 2010-2016, seven 2nd overall picks have combined for 12 All-Star Game appearances, three All-Rookie Team nods, a Calder Award, a Lady Byng, Selke and most importantly, a Stanley Cup ring. Add in 2018’s second overall selection Andrei Svechinikov quick start to his career, and the odds look bright for the newest Golden Knights center.
Rookie camp is right around the corner and the Golden Knights released their roster for both camp and the Rookie Faceoff Tournament in Arizona. The roster includes 14 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goalies. Of the 27 players, all but six are property of either the Golden or Silver Knights.
Four forwards and two defensemen make up the group of six non-roster invitees. Here’s a bit more on each of them.
Daniel D’Amato Right Wing – Erie Otters (OHL)
A 20-year old winger, D’Amato has shown the ability to put up points in his first two seasons in the OHL. He scored 18 goals in 63 games in 2019-20 after tallying just four in his first season. Like most players the Golden Knights focus on, he’s a 200-foot player with good speed and plays in all situations. D’Amato says his coaches compared his style of play to Anthony Duclair because of their speed, size, and scoring ability.
Jacob Gaucher Center – Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Gaucher is a giant right-handed centerman standing 6’4″ and weighing in at over 200 pounds at the age of 20. He’s spent the last four seasons in the QMJHL with the Val-d’Or Foreurs, serving as an alternate captain each of the past two seasons. His numbers were trending upwards with 24 and 38 points in 2018-19 and 19-20, but he took a step back in the 20-21 shortened season scoring just 11 points in 36 games. He was able to pick up the pace in the playoffs scoring two goals and adding five assists in 12 games in their run to the QMJHL Final where they won nine straight games before bowing out to Victoriaville. He was leaned on defensively as a key penalty killer and in tough defensive spots against the opposition’s top players. Gaucher also won the Marcel-Robert Trophy as the QMJHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year. Scouting reports show him as a high-IQ player that does more away from the puck than he does on it.