Run it back.
That’s what the Golden Knights are going to try to do next season. Not only in how the season finished but with pretty much all of the players that got it done.
Of the 27 names of players that were freshly engraved on the Stanley Cup, just five are not expected to be with the team next season. Vegas traded Reilly Smith to make room for the contracts of Adin Hill and Ivan Barbashev, Teddy Blueger, Laurent Brossoit, and Jonathan Quick signed contracts elsewhere, and Phil Kessel remains a free agent but is not expected to return to Vegas (though I wouldn’t rule it completely out).
That’s 22 of the same players, all of whom will be one year older, competing to try and turn one Cup into two and make Vegas into hockey’s most recent dynasty.
Age is an important issue for every team, but it’s especially crucial for the reigning champion. The younger the team is, the longer the window to continue winning can and should be. For Vegas, despite returning just about everyone, the age range of the team looks good for 2023-24.
It’s not an old team, it’s not a young team, so we’re in a pretty good spot. We have all our (draft) picks next year. I’d like to think we’re in pretty good shape. –George McPhee to NHL.com
On Opening Night 2022, the Golden Knights iced a 23-man roster with an average age of 27.8, the 12th oldest team in the league. By the time the playoffs rolled around, Vegas had gotten a touch older, moving to 11th, with an average age of 28.1.
To start 2023-24, they’ll be back in nearly the same place, shedding a few older guys while seeing an extra candle on every existing player’s birthday cake too.
There’s still a serious issue looking forward as the majority of the Golden Knights’ production comes from players over the age of 30, but the age dispersion of the 23 players expected to suit up when the banner is raised is well balanced.
23 or younger – Cotter, Dorofeyev, Pachal
24-26 – Eichel, Roy, Howden, Kolesar, Whitecloud, Hague, Thompson
27-29 – Barbashev, Stephenson, Carrier, Amadio, Theodore, Hill
30-32 – Stone, Karlsson, Marchessault, McNabb, Hutton, (Lehner)
33 or older – Pietrangelo, Martinez
There’s no question about it, the Golden Knights are indeed “in pretty good shape” with the roster they’ll open the season with.
Win another one, and not a soul in the world will care about what happens beyond that.
**Stick tap to NovaCapsFan.com for compiling the average ages of all teams for the last few seasons.**