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Points Aside, Vegas Could Use More Offensive Impact From Jack Eichel

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The season couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start for the Golden Knights. They’re leading the West in points (14), the Pacific in goals allowed (16), and are top three in the conference goals scored (29). The Misfits are hot, goaltending has been consistent and captain Mark Stone looks like his old self. Most importantly, the team hasn’t suffered any significant injuries through nine games. All is well in Golden Knights world except for one slight concern, Jack Eichel.

In 156 minutes played, the $10 million center has eight points (3G/5A) in nine games for 0.88 points per game average. Not bad. In fact, Eichel’s eight points are tied for a team-best with Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson. So, why is Eichel’s production being brought up? Simple, he’s not doing enough when you consider his importance, salary, and talent. Especially, when you compare Eichel to other players in his tax bracket.

Points By Top Highest Paid Forwards

Connor McDavid: 15 Points (8 Goals, 7 Assists)
Artemi Panarin: 12 Points (4 Goals, 8 Assists)
Auston Matthews: 7 Points (2 Goals, 5 Assists)
John Tavares: 10 Points (3 Goals, 6 Assists)
Mitch Marner: 7 Points (2 Goals, 5 Assists)
Jonathan Toews: 5 Points (4 Goals, 1 Assist)
Aleksander Barkov: 5 Points (5 Assists)
Anze Kopitar: 7 Points (1 Goal, 6 Assists)
Jack Eichel: 8 Points (3 Goals, 5 Assists)
Tyler Seguin: 6 Points (2 Goals, 4 Assists)
Johnny Gaudreau: 8 Points (5 Points, 3 Assists)
Matthew Tkachuk: 9 Points (4 Goals, 5 Assists)

Eichel is right in the middle of his peers in points and assists but he’s on the lower end of goals and one statistic that many find a good evaluation of a player’s offensive impact. While primary assists tend to get lost in statistical blenders, they should be weighted heavier than a secondary helper. Eichel has the same amount of first assists (2) as Nic Hague and Zach Whitecloud. Chandler Stephenson on the other hand has four assists and they are all primary. Let’s not forget he’s tied for the most points and second amount of minutes played for a forward. In a sense, Eichel’s stat line should look more like Stephenson’s.

Sure, it’s nit-picking, but compare Eichel’s first assists with the league leaders.

NHL Primary Assist Leaders

Leon Draisaitl: 9 PA
Jesper Brat: 8 PA
Kevin Hayes: 7 PA
Connor McDavid: 6 PA
Matthew Barzal: 6 PA
Nikita Kucherov: 6 PA
Roope Hintz: 5 PA
John Tavares: 5 PA
Sebastian Aho: 5 PA
Martin Necas: 5 PA
Mikko Rantanen: 5 PA
David Pastranak: 5 PA
Jack Eichel: 2 PA

Not only do the offensive stars above have more A-1s than Eichel, but they’ve also collected more points. There’s no sugar-coating it, for Vegas to be a legitimate threat, #9 will have to be on that list by the season’s end. Primary assists are a sign of a true playmaker and the focal point of their team’s offense. For those reasons alone, the front office made a blockbuster trade for Eichel. Expectations were high when Vegas made the move for him and will remain high until his current contract expires. Unfortunately, Eichel has produced more like a third or fourth option for Vegas. There’s no argument, Stephenson, Stone and all three Misfits have been more dangerous through nine games.

VGK Offensive Threats

Chandler Stephenson: 4 Goals, 4 Primary Assists
William Karlsson: 4 Goals, 3 Primary Assists
Reilly Smith: 2 Goals, 3 Primary Assists
Jonathan Marchessault: 5 Goals, 1 Primary Assist
Mark Stone: 2 Goals, 2 Primary Assists
Jack Eichel: 3 Goals, 2 Primary Assists

By the way, Eichel isn’t the only Golden Knight coming up short in the playmaking statistical department. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has one primary assist in 210:38 TOI. He finished fourth in that category last season. Same goes for Shea Theodore, who finished the season with 22 first assists. Like Eichel, in due time I expect both d-men to start creating more scoring chances for their teammates. The birthday boy averages 0.30 per game over his career, this season he is down to 0.22 primary assists per 60. That’s a difference of seven extra first assists. In an entire 82 game season, those scoring connections could make a difference in playoff seeding or making the playoffs at all.

Maybe, I’m getting ahead of myself as it clearly hasn’t impacted the team’s ability to win games in the least, but if the Golden Knights want to fulfill the Creator’s prophecy, two primary assists in nine games for the $10 million man ain’t gonna get it done.






  1. Jeff

    Yea you’re getting ahead of yourself for sure.

  2. Knights fan in minney

    Jack may not be scoring much but he is so handsome! He really makes my heart race!

  3. Ken Boehlke

    The sinbin guys thought we’d barely make the playoffs.. if that. oh, knights start 7-2 with the best GAA in the league and scoring 3.33 GPA? Leave it to sin.bin to still find something to cry about. You guys are a joke. Just know everyone thinks that about you


    They should have never for Eichel. They should have kept Reaves at least he can smesh peoples.

  5. BT

    You said it best, your defense nit picking. It’s less then 10 games into the season, he’s actually 100% healthy this year and up until 2 games ago he had 2 more points then games played lol. Guy is an offensive catalyst and creates opportunities and makes passes nobody else on the ice can make. His IQ and defense are highly underrated as well. One could argue Stephenson has those primary assists because Eichel’s line has been so strong and gets them possession in their offensive zone as they change. They come onto the ice every shift in an advantageous position. Like i said, less then 10 games. The opportunities are there at a premium, he has excellent scoring chances every game. And even the great Connor McDavid has quite spells. Eichel has yet to even get hot or really take hold of a game…yet he is still making a huge impact and is good for a point for game at this rate. Once he starts locking in, those shots that ‘just miss’ will start finding net. Eichel is far from the a concern, or a slight concern at that. He’s already shown thin year multiple times why the Knights traded for him and willing to dump Pacioretty, Tuch and Krebs to do it. And as happy as i am for Alex Tuch right now, i hope he can keep it up….but w’ve all seen Tuch get this hot before. We think he’s turned a new leave and stepped up as s player, only to dramatically slow down. Easily an above average player, and incredible speed for his size…but I don’t think he keeps this pace all season in Buffalo. I think he’s still riding the high of playing for his hometown team.

    • BT

      *Definitely not defense lol. But im also curious now that im replying to myself, how many of Stephensons’s PA’s come on the PP? In which case, he skating with Eichel. Not that i think PA’s mean all that much at this point in the season. I also think alot of it has to do with strategies. We don’t want Eichel setting up the pass, we want him taking the shot, he’s by far the best shot on the team. When you watch them play, it’s obvious they’re trying to get #9 the puck. Thats the safest place we can keep it. He QB’s the play and generates chances for his teammates. Regardless if he gets an assist on a goal or not, a goal is a goal and nice pass/assist is just that as well. A good defensive takeaway followed by 3 quick passes and goal is something everyone gets credit for . Just because he doesn’t have the assist doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything. Alot of this offensive mentality comes from Eichel and i think it fuels the team and Eichel himself. This team has been hungry for years to get back to that cup. They know they have a killer out there on the ice, and Eichel knows for the first time in his career he’s got other killers with him.
      Anyways, sorry for the long rambling…i can get going sometimes, all in good intentions. I enjoy reading these articles and comments. 1 luv.

    • BT

      *Definitely not defense lol.

      But im also curious now that im replying to myself, how many of Stephensons’s PA’s come on the PP?(not sure) In which case, he’s skating with Eichel. Not that i think PA’s mean all that much at this point in the season. I also think alot of it has to do with strategies. We don’t want Eichel setting up the pass, we want him taking the shot, he’s by far the best shot on the team. When you watch them play, it’s obvious they’re trying to get #9 the puck. Thats the safest place we can keep it. He QB’s the play and generates chances for his teammates. Regardless if he gets an assist on a goal or not, a goal is a goal and nice pass/assist is just that as well. A good defensive takeaway followed by 3 quick passes and goal is something everyone gets credit for .

      • You guys are missing the point- are the vegas golden knights getting their ROI with Eichel’s 10 mill cap hit. The answer is absolutely not. They are getting comparable production from many making half that. That is fact and not saying Eichel is not a good player the question is he worth 10 mil a year. I laugh when l read people comparing him to McDavid, the only thing they have in common is they came into the league at the same time. He is no war close to what McDavid provides.

        • If the Knights win the Cup (not saying they will and as of now they are not exactly the favorites) we’ll like anybody at 10 mil.

          As for McDavid @ 12.5 mil (not sure when the 12.5 mil started) here is his seven completed seasons with the Oilers as far as the postseason:

          (3) did not qualify
          (1) lose qualifying round
          (1) lose first round
          (1) lose second round
          (1) lose conference finals (swept)

          They’re good this year maybe very good and McDavid and Draisaitl are a big part, but up til now having the best forward in the league (by a good margin) has not been the Difference Maker. Getting swept by the Avs was not good and means they were not defending well enough.

          • Kane and Nugent Hopkins are also off to a strong start. Oilers are strong offensively, very strong, but can they defend? Not the last few years.

        • BT

          When did I compare him to McDavid? I said McDavid has quiet spells. Implying even the best player in the world is susceptible to performing below expectations. It is 10 games into the season and for the first time he has less points scored then games played….and immediately this article comes out saying “we could use more.” I think the writer along with yourself needs to manage your expectations….you both admit he’s not a bad player, he has averaged nearly a point per game and you have the audacity to say he needs to step up…9 games into the season. I think it is you who is missing the point, we are 7-2 and Eichel is a huge reason for that. Because he doesn’t have the sexy MVP numbers you start talking about ROI and all this stuff as if it truly makes a difference to how a player performances on the ice. A salary is exactly that, a salary, it doesn’t play hockey. Like i said, manage your expectations. Nobody is going to play an entire season lightning up the score sheet, it just doesn’t happen like that very often in any sport. What’s important is consistency, and Eichel has been consistent. Someone else on here already mentioned this, but pay attention more closely to the game….he is 100% leading the offense, who has dominated every time his line has been out there. He easily could have 2-3 more goals, 2-3 more assists by a matter of inches. You guys are comparing solo home runs to RBI doubles, who cares!!! All you have to do is watch the games….it doesn’t take a clever hockey mind to see what Eichel does on the ice is very rare. Look deeper then just PA’s and goals scored.

  6. Pistol Pete

    I don’t want to make excuses for Eichel because it’s true his offensive impact through the first nine games could/should be more but it’s early and what about learning the defensive game in general and Cassidy’s system in particular, could it be impacting his offensive output in the early going? Not sure it is just saying. In any case I want Jack to be an effective defender even if means sacrificing some offensive production especially during the process of acquiring better defensive skills. Cassidy plays defense first and Eichel has to perform up to his capability defensively first and foremost.

    • BT

      I think once they really start to gel, and understand Cassidys system then the offense will pick up. Right now, i’m ecstatic with their strong start, despite not playing their best hockey. Shows this team is gritty and will find ways to win.

  7. Henderson One

    ROIC to date is less than spectacular. He definitely have to pick up his scoring game to justify the investment.

    • THE hockey GOD

      “ROIC to date is less than spectacular” the team is leading the pac division, in first place. with a 7-2 winning record, only Boston is better. Get your head out of your smelly keyster.

      Most “unsophisticated” fan base in history of all sports COMBINED

  8. Eichel seems to be playing great defense.

    Eichel seems to have the best ability to skate with the puck and keep it away from the defenders.

    Eichel can cover some ground.

    Vegas is 7-2 with Eichel as the top line center.

    Eichel looks to pass. He isn’t a puck hog.

    I wish Eichel had score more after 9 games, but that is true of every player on the team.

  9. Tim

    Just keep racking up the points and how about that Misfit line WOW. Looks like the lines are set. Fourth line energy line has impressed, Third line looks OK, but that first and second line seems to be clicking. I can honestly saw I’m having as much fun watching since Gallant left it’s like were Back to the Future to 2017-2018.

  10. Vic

    Jason, when you start leaning on primary assists you lose me. Have you really thought about non-primary assists? Ask Gretzky, Oates and Messier about 1st or 2nd assists, and then get back to me. A guy may kill himself to get to a puck and start a rush and then another guy taps it to the goal scorer. So which assist is more valuable? Are you watching the games closely? Eichel doesn’t need me to defend him but he’s all over the ice, he’s making passes smarter and faster than most and sometimes a goal happens. Yes, he is a bit gun shy in front of the net, and he makes mistakes. His assist total would be double if some of his easy set ups were converted. The best stat is the record of the team so far. If Jack had 10 goals, was minus 15 and the record was 2-7, then you would have something to write about.

    • THE hockey GOD

      Eichel is fifth on list, I will take that. Jason is a anti Jackite, screw him and his repeated whining and bashing of JE.

      Of all the POSITIVE things that can be written , this writer always goes down the dark, damp, evil path to negativity.

  11. Sorvino

    What a horrible article by Jason! I do respect what Ken and Jason do to bring us this blog but in my opinion that is a terrible nitpicking article. The primary assist thing is horseshit too as Vic explained. I was thinking the same thing that Vic was. I’m actually proud of the people that have commented who aren’t getting tricked into being negative when this team is 7-2.

    If Jack Eichel continues to play as well as he has in the opening nine games for the entire season then his line and the team in general will be in great shape:

  12. Emmanuel

    Id rather have a .88 PPG with average defense JE than the 1.00 PPG JE who was a turnstile.

    • Eichel’s six seasons with BUF:

      355 pts 375 games -69

      Coming here his two way game was definitely not great. Does Cassidy know Jack has the ability and willingness to defend? Absolutely.

  13. Sorvino

    Well said Emmanuel

  14. Kmcbear

    Eichel is still learning to be a defensive player.. if you look at his play in Buffalo he struggled coming back up the ice and taking on a more defensive role. He’s doing much better under Cassidy’s system.. he passes are hard and fast and once his linemates get used to handling them you will see more primary assists or it will give him time to get to the front of the net. Cassidy just recently changed the lines so they are still figuring out the best line up. We are healthy and looking better every game. If they keep it up we will go into a deep playoff run again

  15. Jailbird

    Let’s keep it going today boys! Can’t we simply appreciate this early success , without nitpicking ? Some just can’t stand it when the Knights are winning! We may have the best goalie pair in the league and the boys are reminding me of earlier days. Keep it rolling!

  16. Tim

    The team is fun to watch win or lose. Let’s face it Alex Tuch was a nice player and now is doing very well in Buffalo. His salary was in the 5 million area, Krebs was making minimum, and a first and second round pick. You can see how posters look at what we gave and what Eichel has done in return. The truth is Tuch and Krebs weren’t taking us to the promised land and Eichel may or may not help us make it to the promise land but I believe we have a better chance with him. If his presence inspires our other forwards such as the Misfit line which has vastly improved production under Cassidy where under DeBoar they were lost it’s a plus. Tonight is another big two points before we go on the road so lets get it done.

  17. TreyR

    Let’s give Eichel more time before we start wondering if he’s worth the money. I watched him every year he was in Buffalo (I’m a Sabres fan), and he was scoring so much because he was the only player on the team who had the ability to score (Jeff Skinner had one good year where he was also a goal-threat). He deserves to be on team like Vegas, where he has teammates who can take the scoring pressure off him. Maybe his production drops to less than a point-per-game, but if everyone there backs him up, he’ll be there with a highlight-reel goal when needed. Also consider that it’s his first season back after surgery. As intensely as he trains, there is no substitute for getting in regular game time.

    Just enjoy his talent for now, and don’t worry about the money yet.

  18. BT

    How is that for ya!!!!

    Keep doubting our boy, I love it!!!!

    Game winning goal and a…yes that’s right, a PA!!!

    Go Knights babayy!!

  19. Mike StG

    Oh, okay Jason…

    And BTW, so far this season Jets have beaten the Avs, Rangers, Blues and Kings. So I wouldn’t call them a horrible team that Vegas should easily defeat.

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