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Anthony Mantha Confirms He’s Out, William Carrier Likely On The Move As Well

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’re officially 10 days away from the start of the free agency frenzy. With six unsigned players, the Golden Knights are expected to be hogging hockey headlines up to July 1st. Clearly, the biggest decision for the Golden Knights front office is how committed they are to keeping franchise leading goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault. Putting the Marchessault dilemma aside, VGK’s FO has already made a decision public on one of their unrestricted free agents.

Vegas made it clear that they were not going to put me back under contract. I’m excited, but at the same time I’m stressed as everything comes into play,. We’ll see whether it’s July 1st or a little later. Hoping we will have good news. –Anthony Mantha to RDS

Mantha opened up to Catherine Savoie of RDS at a charity golf event earlier this week. He was informed by the Golden Knights that the deadline acquisition would not be offered a contract to stay in Las Vegas. Normally, the Golden Knights are very tight lipped when it comes to roster management. Over the past eight summers, it’s been rare to hear a player publicly announce the Golden Knights were passing on his services.

This week another bottom six forward’s future plans were leaked which would unlikely include the Golden Knights. Sources close to SinBin.vegas indicated the “so-called” fourth liner William Carrier and the Dallas Stars have mutual interest in each other. On Thursday, Sportsnet’s Elliiotte Friedman confirmed our source’s expectations for Carrier.

One guy I heard who could be on Dallas’ radar, and I think could be a great fit for them is William Carrier. That’s one name that some people told me that was on Dallas’ radar if he gets to the market. – Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet.ca

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2017 Draft Class On Full Display In 2024 Western Conference Finals

Photo from ESPN broadcast of 2017 NHL Draft

The Golden Knights have been awarded pretty much every trophy the NHL has to offer, including, of course, the Stanley Cup. It’s historically the best seven season start to any NHL franchise in modern history. This its why it continues to be bittersweet watching the Western Conference play out, especially if you believe the Golden Knights are as good as the two teams remaining in the West. Besides the desire for back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, VGK has had quite the storied history through 632 NHL games.

Most Postseason Wins Since 2018

  1. Tampa Bay – 62
  2. Vegas – 57
  3. Colorado – 49
  4. Dallas – 45
  5. Boston – 43

The organization has accomplished so much in such a short time that its small list of failures has become magnified. For instance, the franchise’s first NHL draft in 2017. It’s a draft that has shaped the league and the Golden Knights left with their hands mostly empty. As the conference finals play out, it’s hard not to imagine how much deeper Vegas would have been this season if more than just Nic Hague remained with the organization. Keep in mind, the Golden Knights front office had 12 selections in seven rounds.

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Chance Creation Stats Show Why VGK’s Offense Stalled Against Dallas

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas

The Golden Knights aren’t playing anymore this season because their best offensive players didn’t produce enough at the most important moments in the First Round.

Mark Stone didn’t register an assist, William Karlsson went goalless, Tomas Hertl had one point in seven games, and the list goes on and on.

Nothing illustrates this more than these advanced stats from JFresh and AllThreeZones.com.

Contrast that to the deep Dallas Stars team that got contributions up and down the lineup.

One of the biggest challenges in the series for the Golden Knights was generating quick strike chances and follow-up chances. In seven games, Vegas mustered up just 10 rush attempts and 35 rebounds. Jason Robertson had five rush attempts on his own and Wyatt Johnston created eight rebounds.

Just nine Golden Knights averaged more than a shot per game. Those who didn’t include Chandler Stephenson, Michael Amadio, Mark Stone, Nic Roy, and William Karlsson.

Defensively and in the net, VGK were plenty good enough to beat the Stars. They simply didn’t create enough, and that’s no surprise when Brett Howden is the most consistent chance creator.

Regular Season Caused Undue Stress On Defending Champions

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Sunday, across the pond, the English Premier League came to an end with Manchester City hoisting the trophy for the fourth consecutive season. They staved off Arsenal by two points, a team they hadn’t played since March. The 38th game of the season came, Man City led the league at the end of it, and thus, they are the champions again.

Competitively, it makes a lot more sense to simply name the champions the team with the best season. But, it’s incredibly anti-climactic, and thus, not very American.

In our sports, there are two seasons. The lengthy regular season that unequivocally separates the good teams from the bad and the short postseason that focuses as much on drama as it does on finding the league’s best team.

In many ways, the playoff system saved this year’s Golden Knights. After racing out to a blazing 11-0-1 start, the defending champions lost more of the final 70 games than they won. They were the 21st-best team in the league from November 5th to April 18th when the regular season came to a close. If the NHL were the English Premier League, VGK’s hopes of repeating as champions would have been down the drain sometime in mid-February rather than the first Sunday in May.

On the flip side, the long regular season eventually ended up being the Golden Knights’ undoing.

It wasn’t automatic we’d get back to the playoffs and we knew that going in. We figured our expectations were much higher than that but it’s not automatic. We had to work harder than we should have or needed to to get back in. We had to expend more energy down the stretch to do that than we would have liked. -Bruce Cassidy

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Dallas’ Run To The Conference Finals Painful Reminder For Vegas Fans

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas

Growing up in Boston I witnessed my share of shortened seasons. Historically, after a Bruins postseason exit, my father would begin rooting for the team that eliminated them from the playoffs. It was his way of coping after another failed season by the B’s. On May 5th, after the Golden Knights were eliminated I gave my son the same advice. Now, I’m dealing with a hockey-crazed eight-year-old breaking curfew in hopes that the Dallas Stars capture a Stanley Cup trophy of their own.

You get both previous Stanley Cup champions [in Vegas and Colorado]. What a gauntlet. I just couldn’t be prouder of our group… we’ve got a mix of older and younger guys, but they were just fantastic. Just hard to believe with a gauntlet like that, that you’re only halfway there. But we’re going to enjoy and need the time off here, and get ready for the next round. -Pete DeBoer, DAL coach

However, watching Dallas’ run to the Western Conference finals is truly bittersweet. Most will agree, had Vegas beaten the number one seed in Game 7, they would be looking at their fifth conference finals appearance. After the Avalanche lost a top player to another postseason distraction, the Golden Knights probably would have found their way back to the league semifinals like the Stars have.

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DALLAS STARS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (DAL Wins 4-3)

Recap: The reigning Stanley Cup champions wanted a chance to continue defending their title by eliminating Dallas in Game 7. Each team had early chances but some shots missed the net or hit the iron. The Stars eventually took the opening lead off a turnover by Shea Theodore. Dallas took a 1-0 advantage into the first intermission.

The game locked down in the middle frame with each team breaking up scoring chances. Late in the period Michael Amadio found Brett Howden on Dallas’ doorstep for an easy tap in game tying goal. After 40 minutes, Game 7 was locked in a 1-1 battle.

Dallas had several early rushes on the final period and eventually took the lead on a screened backhand shot by Dallas’ Radek Faksa. Vegas pulled Hill late in the game and had many chances to even the score. However, the defending failed to tie the game and we’re eliminated in seven games by Dallas.

The Golden Knights fall to the Stars in Game 7 and are eliminated from the 2024 playoffs. It was another great season for Vegas and we can’t wait for the 2024-25 season to begin. Go Knights Go! (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights are no longer reigning champions of the NHL. They didn’t play a bad Game 7, but they just didn’t have enough to get over the hump in the most important moments of the game. Marchessault’s open net chance hit the post, Eichel’s backhand slipped just wide, and everything else came up just a bit short. The Golden Knights remain and always will remain 2023 Stanley Cup champions. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars Game 7 at American Airlines Center.

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Cassidy’s Neutral Zone Adjustment Helped VGK Win Game 6, And Maybe Game 7 Too

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas

In most playoff series the matchup of the coaches gets overblown. Talk of adjustments, line changes, goalie decisions, motivational tactics, and so much more find their way into the ether when in reality, the better hockey team typically wins despite all of it.

When it comes to the Golden Knights and Stars first round series headed to a 7th and final game, there’s no doubt the coaching has had an impact. Bruce Cassidy’s box-and-one defending style helped Vegas grab a pair of leads and hold onto them to take control of the series. Then, Pete DeBoer’s squad adjusted their exits by using the walls more to help his defensemen get the puck out before VGK’s big bruising forecheck got into the picture.

DeBoer also deserves credit for advising his forwards to leak out of the zone even earlier than they are used to catch a Vegas defense that often overloads a side of the ice against transition chances. Dallas has hit multiple stretch passes that have sent players in on clean breakaways. (Fortunately for Vegas their goalies have shut down most of them.)

As the tide of the series shifted back from Vegas to Dallas, Cassidy had to find a way to speed his team up. The Stars were making the Golden Knights look old and stodgy by limiting their ability to carry the puck through the center of the ice. In Game 6, Cassidy presented another option to his team, it unlocked the neutral zone, and made Vegas look fast again.

They’ve done a really good job at taking away the middle of the ice. We pride ourselves in that too. So, there’s room outside. So that’s what we did. We said, ok we’ve got to get the puck outside and take the ice that’s there. You’re probably not making a lot of east-west plays in the he neutral zone and we didn’t. We took what was there for the most part. -Cassidy

Here are a couple of quick examples of exactly what he’s talking about.

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