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Sportnet Overlooks The Golden Knights In Opening Power Rankings

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s time to turn down (or maybe turn up) the outside noise. The Golden Knights are certainly not the same team as in years past but there are still expectations. Sure, the club has holes and question marks in several positions, but overall Vegas should be considered a playoff contender.

The doubters are out there, but they are ignoring the Golden Knights’ skilled veterans that are accustomed to playing in the postseason. Vegas is blessed with high-end talent that has the ability to push them over the playoff cut line. However, in many pundits’ opinions, the bar has lowered. Just take a look at Sportsnet’s recent NHL power rankings. The Canadian outlet isn’t expecting much from Vegas this season.

Sportsnet NHL Power Rankings

1. Colorado
2. Tampa
3. Carolina
4. Calgary
5. Toronto
6. Florida
7. Edmonton
8. Minnesota
9. New York Rangers
10. St. Louis
*19. Vegas

Being ranked 19th out of 32 is far from flattering. In fact, it’s a not-so-subtle shot toward the 31st franchise, as many believe the Golden Knights window has closed. With Colorado’s locked-up talent, who can blame the detractors? However, there are silver linings to the low Sportsnet ranking, including the fact that the writer who put them at 19th doesn’t even seem to fully believe it himself.

That Robin Lehner is gone for the year cannot be overlooked, but it does obscure the fact there are reasons to like this team. Jack Eichel is getting his first full rip in the desert and captain Mark Stone is back after an injury-marred season. –Ryan Dixon,

The Golden Knights defensive group is one of the most complete in the Western Conference. Led by Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore. Both are ranked in’s Top 100 player lists as well as in the Top 26 for defensemen. When you add in Alec Martinez and Zach Whitecloud, Vegas should benefit from a stout blue line. Also, the team is blessed with several standout centers. Jack Eichel, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson have all had success leading the Golden Knights top offensive line at one point or another. Eichel’s scoring ability, Karlsson’s versatility, and Stephenson’s speed give the Golden Knights several looks and levels of difficulty. When you mix in Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault and others, there’s an argument Sportsnet is severely undervaluing the Golden Knights.

It’s hard to blame them but Sportsnet was heavily influenced by the loss of Robin Lehner for the entire 2022-23 season. To be fair, it’s difficult to grade Vegas one way or the other because of the uncertainty of Logan Thompson in net. Another reason to ignore the current projections is the organizations ranked below the Golden Knights. If Vegas is fighting to qualify for the postseason, according to Sportsnet they have the upper hand over their contemporaries. Six other Western Conference franchises, including four Pacific Division teams fall lower than Vegas.

Sportsnet NHL Power Rankings

19. Vegas
20. Vancouver
26. Anaheim
27. San Jose
29. Seattle
31. Arizona
32. Chicago

Of course, being ranked ahead of Anaheim, Arizona, San Jose, Chicago, and Seattle is not much of an accomplishment but it suggests the Golden Knights are considered a top-four team in the Pacific Division. Without any Stanley Cup favorites in the Pacific, it could be a tight race for the first three spots. And as Vegas fans witnessed last season how much injuries can shift the balance of powers.


VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 LOS ANGELES KINGS 4 (Preseason Game 6) (Shootout VGK 1-0)


Despite Years Of Coaching Against Him, Cassidy Still Surprised By Aspects Of Eichel’s Game


  1. THE hockey GOD

    “That Robin Lehner is gone for the year cannot be overlooked”

    oh boy wiggy biscuit haters are not going to like that statement at all

    PS belated congrats to Aaron Judge to break the real HR record for single season, unlike Bonds and his forever tainted roids career; he isn’t even going to get into the HOF ! Cheater cheater cheater

  2. I find that commentary that the Knights have slipped to 19th because they don’t have Lehner ridiculously funny. Lehner had a chance to establish himself and by January he had proven to me exactly what I thought he was, which is nothing more than an average 1B goaltender and unfit to play net as 1A.

    The only reason I bring this up is because the pundits seem to think that Lehner is the biggest reason for VGK falling from Cup Contention.

    No, the fall from cup contention began long ago. Instead of small tweaks to the successful 1st year roster, management decided to go after every new shiny toy and fire its all star head coach. It’s been a slide ever since and no one can argue that it hasn’t. Sure, use the injury excuse if that makes you feel better.

    Can the VGK make the playoffs this year? Maybe, but the odds are against them. The biggest problem they have isn’t goaltending, although that remains a question mark given how many games Thompson has played.

    The reality is that there are just too many questions marks about the Golden Age Edition 6 of the VGK and no answers, no history, no identity, no sense of team unity. How could there be with a front office that shuffles the roster like it is a deck of playing cards and changes Head Coaches without any real rhyme or reason to?

    As a Season Ticket Holder I am pretty fucking irate with this management team. Two seats are costing nearly $14,000/year and what McCrimmon has done to this team is a fucking shame.

    Go ahead and call me Negative Nancy. Hockey God can send me a cookie, that will make me feel a bit better – but make it chocolate chip.

    • THE hockey GOD

      one chocolate chip cookie coming up to negative nancy

      here it is


      PS also sending a calendar so you get your months and dates correct.

    • Dave

      Well said and exactly what ive been thinking for several years. Love the players, hate the way the front office treats them and season ticket holders also. Best and worse thing for this organization was the amazing success that inaugural year.

  3. Maybe Sportsnet could find a team to take Lehner off Vegas’s hands if they truly believe he is that valuable. He was never going to be the answer for Vegas winning the CUP. Teams win, individuals contribute, so almost a third of Vegas cap dollars better be better than they were last year (not necessary to list the three.)

    KEN – just a question where did Sportsnet have Vegas year one.

    • Have to imagine they were somewhere between 28-31.

      • Ken – Thanks – that gives everyone a pretty good idea of what they know or better yet what they don’t know. There guess apparently is no better than anyone else. I said from the very beginning that their best chance at winning the Cup was year one but unfortunately, they haven’t come that close since. IMO they have become weaker and weaker and not sure this coming year will be any different. Wish that wasn’t the case, time will tell.

        • THE hockey GOD

          hd NO ONE had VGK in year 1, so I guess everyone know nothing.

          you know nothing , Jon Snow.

      • I do believe that they had the VGK at #2 or #3 in years 2 and 3 as management began destroying this roster and the coaching staff.

  4. Sportsnet is garbage. All they do is carry water for the league.

  5. knights fan in minny

    oilers waive jannmark

    • Blitz

      To me that is interesting. I actually thought Janmark at like 1.2 mil (whatever it was) was a good pickup for the oilers for a bottom 6 guy. Perhaps his defensive skill is too good for them. “What is this defensive play? Get him outta here!!”

  6. THE hockey GOD

    Breaking- GMKM just signed
    Uhtred of bebbenburg
    Uhtred son of Uhtred !!
    Out of Medicine Hat Tiger cats junior hockey team.

  7. Obvious

    19th! Clearly delusional to be ranked that high knowing there’s not a chance of making the playoffs.

  8. I talked to a Toronto native today, I work at a Strip Casino, we talked about Hockey. He knew his stuff big time. Players, back up goalies, I mean he was on it. I asked point blank about our chances and he didn’t like our team much. Said the cupboard is dry, we traded away picks for winning now at all costs and we had a good run but now it’s over. 2 of his friends were Montreal fans and they love Suzuki., Who, was our guy before Patches. Didn’t like McKrimmon at all. He said he absolutely loves Petro but once we become bottom feeders he will want out, he’s not interested in being on a non contender. He also said that this happens to all teams. One team he raved about was Tampa, they have made all the right moves and will remain a power for the foreseeable future, through draft picks, good signing’s, etc.. I think most here agrees with the bad management decisions made and we have fallen. But look at San Jose, look at Montreal now, both teams are nothing. All guys loved Eichel but said he gets lazy sometimes. He liked Kessell but he won’t play defense but will score alot of goals. They liked Carrier, a good 3 or 4th liner that has guts. He liked Schmidt, our old defenseman. He did say that Thompson is a huge question mark, but we knew that. He mentioned Lehner and his issues are known throughout the league, we know that too. I agree, unless our draft picks become flat out studs, we are on the way down. No more flashy toys, build through the draft, sign reasonable Free Agents, but no more 8 to 10 million dollar guys, it’s going to plunge us into darkness, yes, a few rough years are coming but I don’t want a rough decade, that’s just no fun.

    • Today’s roster is more talented than year one imo (see post below). Your Toronto guy did not see that (lots of frustrated Toronto fans lol). Some serious fans consider themselves experts, more expert than Management. Pretty naive imo. Things can to be both more complicated and simple than they appear.

    • THE hockey GOD

      Toronto is home of loser leafs, they “think’ they know everything.
      But they don’t.

      Get back to me in six month, toronto loser leafer.

    • JV

      @Mark next time you run into a Toronto fan, remind them that since Chara retired, there are no longer any active players that have lost a playoff series to the Leafs.

      • Just so you know, he was up front about the Leafs, what losers they are. His opinion was calculated and reasonable IMOP. He wasn’t jealous, he just gave what I thought was a reasonable informed opinion.

  9. Let’s compare today’s roster to year one. Broadly speaking it’s more talented imo, discounting no Fleury and having Kessel in the top six. In other words the year one roster had a star goaltender and no holes in the top six (but no star power either). Current defense is better and bottom six similar to better. The star power of Eichel, Stone and Pietrangelo are unmatched in year one.

    Year one was not a roster anyone would pick to make the Cup finals but it did. The difference was motivation and team spirit, Obviously October 1 was huge and created a motivational factor hard for a coach to replicate, however the potential of a coach as a supreme motivator should not to be underestimated. Can Cassidy be the difference maker for today’s roster? I think it is possible.

    • Coach = Motivation and Strategy

      • Hey, PP, I was at Friday practice…the guys were in great spirits! It was fun to watch… Like a bunch of boys on the playground! Stephenson has the BEST attitude of the guys. If Cassidy inspires the guys, if they are enjoying it, I think the wins will come. Attitude is everything right now, and I like what I saw!

        • Pistol Pete

          I am impressed with Cassidy thus far and suspect motivation and on the ice strategy are his strengths. Glad to hear you witnessed the positive during the practice. That is what I am talking about!

          Really like Cassidy’s being out in the open. It’s both informative for the fans and a motivator for the players.

          Optimistic about the power play!

          • THE hockey GOD

            biggest motivation factor is last year’s poor performance , and players’ knowing it; has nothing to do with coach.

            As far as being “out in open”, Cassidy has not been known for this, maybe he changed? I doubt it.

            Bruce Cassidy’s communication style got him in trouble at …
            85thesportshub › Listicle
            Jun 10, 2022 — Former Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted in a press conference that his communication with players at times got him in trouble.”

    • Pp – interesting you are discussing year one in reference to current roster. The biggest difference is attitude which year one had – current team only time will tell. Year one proved you don’t need a 10 mill a year center. This has nothing to do with what Eichel is or isn’t it is about a huge overall waste of cap dollars. You got three guys at almost 28 mill. All the money they have extended hasn’t and won’t buy the attitude necessary to raise the Cup. This isn’t being negative it’s just being realistic. In some regard the dollar differential is a huge negative. Not disputing talent and skill but unfortunately there is no substitute for attitude.

  10. Steve-0

    19 seems fair enough, if a bit low. This probably isn’t a playoff roster in the east, but it probably is in the much shallower west. Goalie is a huge question mark. Logan looked decent in a small sample last year, but it’s still a small sample, and there’s no plan B. There’s no depth on this roster, no cap space to use to acquire more depth, and very little in the way of useful assets to trade for it anyway. Any thoughts on contending are almost full reliant on Thompson being above average, Eichel returning to his peak levels despite the neck surgery, and Stone nearing his peak again despite age/major injury. That seems like the sort of recipe for success Mets fans relied on for years.

    The very fortunate thing for Vegas is that the West looks mostly terrible this year. Colorado looks excellent, Edmonton looks good, but every other roster is full of questions and projection. I don’t think everything has to break perfectly, or even all that well for this club to make the postseason. If Thompson is decent and we’re relatively fortunate with injuries, this squad should coast to the playoffs. If injuries are a thing though, we might look like the Sabres did during Eichel’s tenure…a decent line with zero depth to help out.

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