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Vegas Climbs Back To The Top Of Latest Power Rankings

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Last time we checked in on various NHL Power Rankings, the Golden Knights were slightly disrespected by many outlets across the league. Since then, Vegas have been riding a nine-game point streak and have stretched their lead in the Pacific to six points. Well, that woke up the experts.

Only the Los Angeles Kings are averaging a higher position according to the current group of rankings, and the Kings have lost three in a row so they will certainly begin slipping. The Golden Knights are averaging a top two position in most of lists we highlighted. Most importantly, the reigning champions headline MoneyPuck’s postseason scale.

Overall, the Golden Knights were more accurately rated in the latest installments of power rankings compared to last months. NHL.com dropped Vegas two spots from their November’s rankings but they dive into their reasoning. One puzzling observation was NHL.com’s concern that Vegas has lost their juice since their early season Cup winning carryover.

NHL.com: VGK #4 (NYR #1)

Pro: Jack Eichel has played well all season, but he’s elevated his game even higher in the past couple of weeks. He has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past five games and leads Vegas with 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 27 games. Con: The Golden Knights seem to have lost some of their focus and have been in a bit of a post-Cup lull during the past month. Even with a 6-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, they are 6-5-4 in 15 games following an 11-0-1 start. – Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Injuries are beginning to give the good folks at ESPN a bit of agita. Adin Hill’s lower body injury has kept him out of the lineup since November 30th. Add in a few other wounded players and ESPN forced themselves to keep VGK in the second position.

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Should VGK Feel Slighted In Latest Power Rankings?

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This week a fresh drop of NHL Power Rankings were released by hockey outlets across the league. While some decided to get cute with their lists, others stuck to the script and properly ranked the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Some had the Golden Knights as the second-best team in the NHL while other sneerers dropped the Cup champs outside of the Top 3.

Even more surprising was the aggregated computer model calculations.

Let’s start with one of the biggest advocates for the Golden Knights repeat run. League partner ESPN wasn’t afraid to hold their ground and continue to consider Vegas as the best club in the West.

ESPN: VGK #2 (BOS #1)

Vegas has been almost entirely healthy to start this season — and frankly, that’s a surprise. Has any team dealt with compounding injuries like the Golden Knights’ in seasons past? In the early going this season, Vegas is at basically full strength — and holds a top spot in the standings to prove it. –Kristen Shilton on ESPN.com

You can always rely on NHL.com to rank all 32 franchises with reason. As opposed to some of the skeptic outlets, the league site doesn’t overreact after one week on the schedule.

NHL.com: VGK #2 (BOS #1)

There might not be a team that has more to be thankful for than the Golden Knights. They are the reigning Stanley Cup champions after fulfilling owner Bill Foley’s bold goal to win their first championship by the end of their sixth season. Following a summer of celebrating, getting their Stanley Cup rings, raising their championship banner and visiting the White House on Monday, it’s clear the Golden Knights are not satisfied. Vegas is tied with the Vancouver Canucks atop the Western Conference with 25 points despite losing three of its past four games. The Golden Knights continue to have one of the deepest teams in the NHL with 19 players who have scored at least one goal, including 10 who have scored at least three, led by William Karlsson (eight), Jack Eichel (seven) and Jonathan Marchessault (seven). And they have one of the best goalie tandems in the League with Adin Hill (8-1-1, 2.07 goals-against average, .928 save percentage, two shutouts) and Logan Thompson (5-2-0, 2.27 GAA, .925 save percentage). –NHL.com

The Hockey News is another consistent network that is rarely alarmed by one skid of mediocre performances. THN commonly has the same state of mind as ESPN and NHL.com.

The Hockey News: VGK #2 (BOS #1)

When you’re at the top, the only way to go is down. The only way the Knights could maintain the No. 1 spot is if they were nearly flawless, but instead, they’ve lost three of their past four, including their first-ever shutout loss to the Caps. –Jason Chen on TheHockeyNews.com

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VGK Drops To 2nd In Mid-Summer Power Rankings

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It’s difficult to take any NHL power rankings seriously in early August. However, it didn’t stop Sportsnet from dropping their newest power rankings this week. Surprisingly enough, the current Stanley Cup winners were ranked second behind the 2022 NHL champions.

1. Colorado Avalanche:

The 2022 champs didn’t advance past Round 1 in 2023, but the Avs are poised to make noise again. Colorado knows captain Gabriel Landeskog is going to be on long-term injured all season, so it can stuff his $7-million salary there. Ryan Johansen and Ross Colton give a nice, new look to the centre crew and Jonathan Drouin is a fun bounce-back bet. Unlike last season, the Avs should be rested and hungry when the puck drops in October. –Ryan Dixon on Sportsnet.ca

By no means was Sportsnet’s Ryan Dixon taking a swipe at the Golden Knights by anointing the Avalanche as the league’s best team going into next season. Let’s be honest, the past two NHL champs are not far away from each other. Both have an elite center, game-changing wingers, dynamic defensive units, and strong coaching. Would anyone be surprised if Colorado and Vegas faced off in the 2024 Western Conference Finals?

The Golden Knights will try to not stub their toe like the Avalanche did this past postseason by being eliminated in the opening round. Of course, four playoff series, a championship parade, and dozens of “Day with the Cup” parties may create a hangover but VGK’s overall talent should keep them in contention. Sportsnet agreed.

2. Vegas Golden Knights:

Recency bias? Maybe. But the Knights have largely kept the band together and Jack Eichel just had his coming out party in the 2023 playoffs. Mark Stone missed half the season last year and the Knights still managed to win the Pacific Division. This balanced squad is going to be right back challenging for the Cup. –Dixon on Sportsnet.ca

With the exception of Reilly Smith’s departure to Pittsburgh, the core of Vegas’ Stanley Cup roster is fully intact. Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Alex Pietrangelo are all returning for a back-to-back attempt in 2024. Coach Bruce Cassidy will need repeat performances from all of his players, especially in net from Adin Hill, who was handsomely paid after his all-world postseason performance.

Expectations are high for Eichel and his linemates to lead the Golden Knights’ offense as they did in the playoffs. Pietrangelo will be relied upon to carry a heavy workload again and Stone will try and stay on the ice for as many regular season games as he can. As long as all of them are dressed for Game 1 of the 2024 NHL playoffs, Vegas will be considered a favorite to repeat, no matter where the out-of-town media has them ranked by April of next year.

For the record, Edmonton was listed third on Sportsnet’s power rankings. Considering how that econd round series played out, Vegas shouldn’t worry about dropping beneath them.

VGK Earns High Respect In Latest NHL Power Rankings

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In exactly one month from yesterday the NHL playoffs will begin. Barring any major collapses, the Golden Knights will be one of the Western Conference’s most dangerous participants. However, some continue to doubt Vegas as a serious Stanley Cup contender. For example, MoneyPuck’s Power Rankings list the Golden Knights as the league’s 16th best team.

Over the years the Golden Knights front office built a team well-suited for the postseason. Six players have customized championship rings, and 12 others have playoff experience. Experience makes a different in the NHL’s second season. While MoneyPuck’s computer model doubts Vegas’ chances, several other Power Rankings are much more favorable to the 31st franchise. Here are the latest rankings from hockey outlets across the league.

Sportsnet – VGK #2 

As you’d expect with a team dubbed the ‘Golden Misfits’ in their early expansion days, there is no shortage of guys who beat the odds in Vegas. All three members of the original ‘Misfit Line’ — William Karlsson between Reilly Smith and undrafted Jonathan Marchessault — are still there and have been joined by a captain, in Mark Stone, who was a sixth-round selection with questionable skating; Chandler Stephenson, a third-rounder who immediately became a top-six centre after Vegas fleeced Washington for his services; and undrafted goalie Logan Thompson, who was in the thick of the Calder Trophy race before getting hurt this season.- Ryan Dixon, Sportsnet

The Canadian avenue clearly respects the Golden Knights lineup enough to have them one spot below the high-powered Boston Bruins and higher than two teams with better records. It’s possible Sportsnet sees an easier postseason path for Vegas, or that their newly formed lineup is deep enough for a Cup run. Would Sportsnet rank Vegas higher than Boston if Mark Stone were healthy in time for the playoffs? That’s a bit of a stretch.

The Hockey News – VGK #3

The Knights are on a tear with four straight wins and seven of their past eight. They still haven’t really missed a beat despite being on their fourth starter in Jonathan Quick, who’s 4-0-0 with the Knights. As it stands, the Knights and Kings will face each other in the second round of the playoffs if they advance.- Jason Chen, THN

THN posted their latest Power Rankings before the Golden Knights last contest, but it would be difficult to drop Vegas more than two or three spots. Jonathan Quick’s success with Vegas has given the Pacific Division leader more security in net after injuries to virtually every Golden Knights goaltender.

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Golden Knights Sliding In Latest Power Rankings

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights haven’t been as crisp lately as they were in their first 30+ games. On December 15th, Vegas held a first-place advantage by eight standings points. By New Year’s Eve, that lead was cut in half. After last night’s 3-2 loss to Detroit, the Golden Knights are no longer leading the Pacific Division. Local fans are well aware of the adversity the Golden Knights have faced over the past month but fans and media outside of the market haven’t been as understanding.

This week, national outlets updated their NHL Power Rankings, and not all of them were friendly towards Vegas.

Overall, the consensus is that Vegas has lost love from several publications. The Golden Knights’ average position in five separate power rankings was 10th. Tenth would likely place VGK out of winning the Western Conference and perhaps the Pacific Division. The positive news, however, most outlets feel comfortable that the Golden Knights are still a postseason club. Over time, the severity of Mark Stone’s injury setback may change some of their minds.

So, let’s take a look at how the outside hockey world perceives the Golden Knights today.

Daily Faceoff: VGK (6th)

The Daily Faceoff was by far the least knee-jerk.

The Golden Knights only got into two games last week, beating the Panthers before dropping a Saturday night game against the Oilers. Playing at about the same level as the Stars drops them down a spot as a result, and the fact that the Golden Knights 5-on-5 play hasn’t been good lately has hurt them as well. -Scott Maxwell, Daily Faceoff

Sports Illustrated: VGK (8th)

SI isn’t panicking like some others. Sure, the Stone situation impacted their decision enough to drop VGK three spots but they still rank the Golden Knights higher than three other outlets. Not surprisingly, SI listed two Western Conference teams; DAL (6th) and WPG (7th), ahead of Vegas, which is difficult to argue against. Also, Seattle (9th) and LA (10th) were ranked right behind the Golden Knights by Sports Illustrated.

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Latest NHL Power Rankings: VGK A Multimillion-Dollar World Of Imagination

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the new year the Golden Knights haven’t been at their best. Vegas is 1-2-2 in 2022 but still managed to add four points to their Pacific Division leading 23-14-2 record. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Golden Knights dominate opponents like they did throughout the month of December, which may have changed minds across the league. When in reality, Vegas picked up four points in five games without playing up to their potential and missing a myriad of starters.

Every so often we like to check in on NHL power rankings across the league. Vegas was a preseason Top 5 team but ever since the injuries piled up they’ve mostly been stuck in double digits. According to aggregate site Power Rankings Guru, this week the Golden Knights checked in at #11.

The consensus was, Vegas had an incredible month of December but took a step back once the calendar year ended. A little dramatic if you ask me.

Let’s start with the league’s site. Vegas rounded out the top ten for the second straight week on NHL.com. Up until they’re fully healthy expect Vegas to be ranked in bottom part of the top ten.

NHL.com – #10 (Previously #10)

The Golden Knights won an NHL record 14 straight regular-season games decided in overtime before losing 5-4 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, the first time they lost in OT since Dec. 19, 2019 (5-4 at the Vancouver Canucks).

ESPN had a little fun by publishing a Disney themed NHL power rankings. Greg Wyshinski and crew went light on Vegas, only dropping them one position.

ESPN – #12 (Previously #11)

To honor this magical place, and with no small amount of corporate synergy, we’ve decided to use this week’s NHL power rankings to match all 32 teams with the Disney World attractions — rides, food, characters — that best fit their vibes.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A multimillion-dollar world of imagination that offers thrilling rides, lasting memories and the unwavering feeling that it never goes quite as far as you’d like it to go. That weird feeling in your stomach about the Golden Knights in the playoffs is not because you drank too much blue milk …

Sportsnet has routinely had Vegas outside of the top ten. One of the reasons for the lower grade is the injuries to Jack Eichel, Max Pacioretty and Alec Martinez. Once those three impact players return I’m sure SN will raise the local boys in their rankings.

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Golden Knights Being Disrespected In National Power Rankings

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have won seven of their last nine games. They’ve won on the road, they’ve won at home, they’ve beaten bad teams, decent teams, and good teams. They’ve won both ends of a back-to-back. They’ve allowed two or fewer goals in six of the nine games.

They’ve done it all without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, Zach Whitecloud, and at times. Alec Martinez. And this isn’t even considering Jack Eichel (or Alex Tuch before the deal)!

Vegas sits 16th in the NHL standings despite playing a roster that at times has sat below the salary cap floor.

Around here, I don’t need to tell anyone how remarkable this run has been and beyond that what it means for the future when players do start making their way back into the lineup. But apparently, I need to alert the national media because the Golden Knights are being insanely disrespected in the power rankings.

NHL.com’s Super 16 is a weekly column that lists the best 16 teams in the league by compiling votes from 14 of their writers. Vegas did not make the cut in the most recent installment and only appeared in the rankings of six of the 14 writers. The highest spot they garnered was 13th.

Sportsnet came out with their latest power rankings on Thursday and the Golden Knights came in at 24th. ESPN is even worse… 26th!?!

Bleacher Report has Vegas at 21. The Seattle Times has the Golden Knights at 22, just three spots ahead of the Kraken.

To borrow a phrase from the late great Vince Lombardi, “what the hell is going on out here?”

Literally everyone knows the Golden Knights are so much better than they are being ranked right now. You can point to the results, but really, they’ve been better than anyone could have imagined given the injuries.

I’m not trying to make the argument for the Golden Knights to be #1, or even in the top 5, but bottom third of the league? C’mon. 21st? 24th? 26th?

Do better national media. Do better.

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