As the injuries continue to stack up for the Golden Knights, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the similarities to last season. I don’t think it’s necessary to remind anyone of the overall picture of what happened last year, but the specifics certainly tell a story that looks somewhat ominous for this year.
It all starts with the difference in roster construction which gave last year’s team a massive head start when it comes to dealing with injuries.
Both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 teams played their first game of the regular season with a healthy roster totaling $75.2 million. This year, that was missing just William Carrier. Last year, it was missing Carrier, Alex Tuch, Nic Roy, Brett Howden, and Mattias Janmark. Thus, that’s a difference of $8.3 million in injured, but eventually expected to be available, players.
In other words, while the team played opening night last year with five man games lost, they were actually icing the exact same value of healthy roster as this year’s team.
Then, 10 games into the season, the Golden Knights increased their value of injured players when they traded Alex Tuch for Jack Eichel. Once that trade happened, Vegas had between $92-94 million in players either on the ice or on the shelf but expected to play that season. Meanwhile, this year’s team has been between $80-83 million, and unless there’s a significant trade, that number isn’t projected to rise.
38 games into the season last year the team had already amassed 218 man games lost of players not ruled out for the season. This year’s number is just 70. Last year’s team averaged $61 million in the lineup each night through the first 38 games, this year’s team is at $70.4 million.
This year’s team has a slightly better record than last year’s at this point, which based on those numbers is not terribly surprising given their extra $10 million in the lineup each night. However, it’s just three points. This year’s VGK sits at 24-12-2 for 50 points in 38 games while last year’s team was 23-14-1 for 47 points.