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Tag: Seattle Kraken

System Tweak May Change The Style Of Game Golden Knights Are Used To Seeing

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

If you watched last night’s season opener between the Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken you probably noticed a bit more of a wide-open game than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Vegas since Pete DeBoer took over.

At first blush, most of the credit for that would seem to belong to the expansion team, coming in with a highly aggressive style in all three zones, one that both caused them to fall into a 3-0 hole but also climb out of it. But, a tweak to the Golden Knights system may have played as big a role in the look and feel of that game as well.

If there’s one thing the Golden Knights know they must do this season, it’s learn how to generate more offense than they have when the going gets tough in the playoffs. It was going to take some soul searching, some creativity, and a willingness to try something new.

This has been a historically great rush team. We all know rush dries up in the playoffs, everybody is more diligent in their checking. So, how do you create more rush? -Pete DeBoer

The answer the Golden Knights came up with is what Alex Pietrangelo dubbed a “new neutral zone.” It’s a systematic tweak Pete DeBoer and his coaching staff have implemented into the Golden Knights forecheck as the opposing team exits their own zone and makes their way through the neutral zone.

We’ll get into the X’s and O’s of it as the season progresses, but the simple way to describe the difference is in the Golden Knights’ increased willingness to try and jump passing lanes and/or hound the player receiving the first pass.

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Recap:  The Golden Knights hosted the expansion Seattle Kraken for the start of the 2021-22 season. Vegas jumped on Seattle early in the opening period. Max Pacioretty scored the season’s first goal 3:10 in and Jonathan Marchessault added one a few minutes later. Goaltender Robin Lehner stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period.

Pacioretty tipped in a Nic Hague laser in the middle period giving the home squad a commanding 3-0 lead. However, Seattle woke up and scored two goals in 1:12 to get within one. After 40 minutes of play the Golden Knights held a 3-2 advantage.

Seattle surprisingly climbed all the way back to tie the game 3-3 in the third period but Vegas would catch a break to regain the lead. Chandler Stephenson legally deflected a puck into the Krakens net off his skate making it a 4-3 contest.

The Golden Knights win their first game of the 2021-22 season 4-3 over the expansion Seattle Kraken. Vegas will head to LA for their first road game of the season on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were in for quite a fight taking on the expansion team in their first game. They hung in there as the Kraken came out flying and waited for their chances. When they came, VGK buried three of them. Then, as Seattle stormed back, Vegas stayed under control, kept their heads and found a way to get the lead right back. That’s an experienced great hockey team beating an inexperienced one. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Seattle Kraken game at T-Mobile Arena.

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Will The Pacific Division Be More Challenging For Vegas in 2021-22?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After four NHL seasons the Golden Knights have benefited by playing in the Pacific Division. Since 2017, Vegas has played 113 games against their divisional “rivals” and tallied a total of 168 out of a possible 226 points. That’s an astonishing .743 Points % against the Pacific Division in four seasons.

Hockey’s been a little bit tough with our team not being very good the last few years and not getting back to the playoffs… Things are looking up for us now. We got some new players and some young guys coming up. I’m excited for this season to start.- Drew Doughty, LAK defenseman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Let’s be honest, it’s been easy street for the Golden Knights since they entered the league.

VGK All-Time Record vs. Pacific Division

vs. Anaheim: 20 Games (17-3-0) 34 Pts, .850 Pts %, 74 Goals For, 37 Goals Allowed, +37 Goal Differential

vs. Arizona: 20 Games (14-6-0) 28 Pts, .700 Pts %, 57 Goals For, 46 Goals Allowed, + 11 Goal Differential

vs. Calgary: 11 Games (8-3-0) 16 Pts, .727 Pts %, 42 Goals For, 31 Goals Allowed, + 11 Goal Differential

vs. Edmonton: 11 Games (6-4-1) 13 Pts, .591 Pts %, 35 Goals For, 31 Goals Allowed, +4 Goal Differential

vs. LA: 21 Games (11-8-2) 24 Pts, .571 Pts %, 63 Goals For, 60 Goals Allowed, +3 Goal Differential

vs. San Jose: 20 Games (16-1-3) 35 Pts, .875 Pts %, 78 Goals For, 40 Goals Allowed, +38 Goal Differential

vs. Vancouver: 10 Games (8-0-2) 18 Pts, .900 Pts %, 45 Goals For, 26 Goals Allowed, +19 Goal Differential

Since their existence the Golden Knights have proven to be the team to beat in the Pacific. Vegas has a positive goal differential against every team in the division and holds an overall goal differential of +123, talk about dominance. All indications show it should be the same in 2021-22.

Only a few west coast teams have kept their games with Vegas competitive but still not enough to threaten their path to the playoffs. Sure, San Jose won their seven game series in 2019 but in the regular season it’s been embarrassingly lopsided. Since that series three postseasons ago, the Sharks have been a non-factor in the Pacific, same goes for Anaheim, Calgary and Vancouver. However, two clubs that will make things more difficult for Vegas this season are the Kings and Oilers. Each team has challenged Vegas in the regular season being edged out by one game in their series history with the 31st franchise.

While it’s hard to make judgements based off two exhibition games but it’s safe to say that Los Angeles is an improved club. Even with a lack of talent in their lineup the King’s have competed in most matchups. Coming into 2021-22, LA and Knight killer Philip Danault will continue to frustrate VGK’s offensive threats. Coveted prospects are performing at a high level and LA’s star veterans could create further problems for Vegas and the rest of the Pacific Division.

There’s not much to say about Edmonton. As long as they dress Connor McDavid every game is up in the air. Same can be said for the newest team in hockey. Seattle is the biggest wildcard in the division. Based on what the Golden Knights did in their inaugural season you’d be a fool to count out the Kraken. Calgary, San Jose and Vancouver are expected to finish below Vegas but one of those three teams could make a surprising push for the postseason.

All in all, the Pacific Division is still considered relatively weak but has improved. Vegas is the only team that isn’t being doubted by analysts across the league. The other seven teams have questions to answer and it should be a tight battle for two of three divisional playoff spots. Although the Pacific may have gotten better and could make it more difficult for Vegas to run away with the division but it’s still the Golden Knights to lose.

Shea Theodore Knows Better Than To Underestimate The Seattle Kraken

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Shea Theodore had a front-row seat as to how wild of a ride an expansion team can be. He was traded the day of the Expansion Draft, sent to the AHL for opening night, came up about a month into the season, and then started all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Now, Theodore is a key cog in one of the best teams in the NHL and there’s a new team in the Pacific Division looking to replicate Vegas’ incredible rise to power.

I was talking to somebody a while ago and I said I bet when the schedule comes out you’ve got to think the two expansion teams will start the season off. So, that’s how it is and it’s definitely going to be interesting. -Shea Theodore

Theodore is very familiar with Seattle. At age 15, in 2010, he was drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He would go on to play 257 games, score 212 points, become an alternate captain, and eventually earn the captaincy in 2014 after he was selected 26th overall by the Anaheim Ducks.

The Kraken are actually scheduled to play a preseason game at Theodore’s old home arena, the accesso ShoWare Center, on October 2nd. Shea said it would have been great to have been able to play in that game, but he’ll have to wait for his first crack at Seattle about two weeks later.

As for what he expects in that opening game and the Kraken as a whole, Theodore has learned his lesson.

I’m not putting any expectations. I went back a while ago and read all the articles that came out when we were an expansion team. And a couple of weeks ago somebody posted our opening day lineup and I don’t know how people can say we were gifted this team. I’m not putting any sort of quotes that they’ll label on the ice. I’m sure they’ll be a good team and they’ll compete and it’s going to be a good rivalry. -Theodore

No one truly expects the Kraken to mirror the success the Golden Knights saw in their inaugural season. But, like Theodore, no one with any memory of 2017-18 is going to completely rule it out either.

Are The Golden Knights and Kraken Spoiling The Future for Canadian Teams?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Prior to the pandemic, the country of Canada welcomed in 22 million tourists yearly. Here in Las Vegas, we entertained 40 million visitors in 2019. Nothing against our neighbors up North but there’s a lot more desire to visit the States and it’s possible the players feel the same way.

A unique, but valuable case could be newly-minted Stanley Cup champion David Savard, because word is he’s more willing than some of his peers to consider Canadian destinations. One GM said Thursday that he’s hearing more and more from players that they prefer not to play in Canada. ‘It’s a real thing,’ he said, mentioning taxes, social media and tighter pandemic restrictions.-Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

When the Golden Knights introduced George McPhee as the organization’s first general manager, GMGM answered a question we asked about Las Vegas being a top destination for the NHL’s best players. The hockey exec knew it would be easy selling Southern Nevada to players on the open market. The front office quickly took advantage by acquiring Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, and eventually Mark Stone in the second season. All three players departed established Canadian franchises only to voluntarily commit their services to the year-old Golden Knights. By the time Alex Pietrangelo was locked in for seven years it was clear Vegas would have no trouble recruiting high-end talent.

Those who live here understand why players love performing in Nevada. Other than first-season castoff Vadim Shipachyov, former Golden Knights consistently express their affection for the city of Las Vegas. Like us, players crave the comfortable winter weather, low taxes, and the excitement of living in the Entertainment Capital of the World. It’s difficult for any Canadian city to compete.

The future for northern border teams became even bleaker once Seattle was introduced to the league. The Kraken offer another American city option creating more competition for the seven Canadian teams. Like Nevada, Washington offers millionaire athletes the same friendly income tax laws. Call it blasphemy but over the years Vegas and Seattle will become more desirable than some of the NHL’s Original Six.

Of course, there are benefits to playing in Canada, most notably Connor McDavid. The majority of players would jump at the chance to play with league’s best player. Vancouver is a beautiful city with a great fanbase, and who would turn down an offer from the renowned Canadiens or Maple Leafs?

It’s more than just history for today’s players. Weather, taxes, city amenities, and media pressure are some of the elements a free agent will consider. It’s clear the two newest franchises check off more on a player’s list than most Canadian franchises. For purists, it’s hard to absorb but as long as the stars decide to play stateside the Cup drought will probably continue in Canada.

5 Most Anticipated Home Games On The Golden Knights 2021-22 Schedule

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After a year that involved 56 games against the same seven teams and sparse crowds throughout, it’s great to be back to a normal 82 game schedule that includes all 31 teams making an appearance at sold-out T-Mobile Arena. Here are the five home games that jump off the schedule as the most anticipated matchups of the year.

5. December 27th, 2021 – vs Colorado Avalanche

It’s a shame the first time these two teams meet won’t be at the site of the Avs demise last season, but there’s no secret these two are likely to be the class of the Western Conference once again. The collision course in the playoffs will probably be played up all year and every game between the two will be highly engrossing.

4. December 21st, 2021 – vs Tampa Bay Lightning

If there’s one thing we missed more than anything else with last year’s horrendous schedule, it was measuring stick games. About a month into the season everyone knew exactly how everyone else matched up against each other in the division, so the remaining 40+ games were essentially useless. This year, there will be plenty of those measuring stick games and this is the king of them all. The two-time defending Cup champions come to T-Mobile after the Golden Knights return home from a tough four-game road trip. VGK vs TBL games have always been a blast, this one should be no different.

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Comparing Vegas To Seattle’s Expansion Draft Haul

Last night as the Seattle Kraken unveiled their roster there was certainly a feeling of familiarity to when Vegas was on the clock four years ago. Sprinkled amongst the occasional household name were a group of players most common NHL fans had never heard of. Loud cheers were heard for Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal, and David Perron, just as they were for Mark Giordano, Jordan Eberle, and Yianni Gourde.

Looking back at the teams moments after the Expansion Draft there are certainly some similarities, but also a number of stark differences. Look, I made a chart to show them!

Players Selected3030
UFAs Signed13
UFAs Unsigned32
Salary Cap of Selections$54.214m$54.84m
Players Making More Than $2.5m710
Players Signed Longer Than 2 Seasons26
Additional Picks Acquired80
Additional Players Acquired70
Post Expansion Trades5???
Players Signed Before Draft31
Players w/ 20 Goal Season in Career43
Players Younger Than 25611
Players Older Than 3082
6'3" or Taller710
5'11" or Shorter34
210 Pounds or Heavier114
175 Pounds or Lighter11

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Why More Stars Are Available To Seattle Than Were To Vegas

The Expansion Draft is officially underway and boy oh boy do the Seattle Kraken have some decisions to make. From Carey Price to Vladamir Tarasenko to Mark Giordano to free agents Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Ovechkin, the number of star players available to the NHL’s newest team seems almost unbelievable.

Thinking back to the Golden Knights’ Expansion Draft, it didn’t feel like the same level of talent was available to Vegas. The Golden Knights did end up with Marc-Andre Fleury, David Perron, and James Neal, but those were three of the biggest names on the board and they took them all. Here’s a quick look back on who else was available to the Golden Knights and then an explanation as to why it is so different this time around.

Dustin Brown (LAK)

Brown came with a hefty contract that he’s still playing under right now. The AAV of $5.875m would have been the second most expensive player on the roster at the time and would remain the 6th highest now. There were rumors that the Kings were actually willing to pay the Golden Knights to take Brown and the salary. In the end, VGK passed on it and just took the best exposed player, Brayden McNabb.

Sami Vatanen (ANA)

Vatanen was coming off a season in which he was a huge piece of a Ducks team that made a run to the conference final. Vatanen carried a large $4.875m AAV cap hit but at the time appeared to be well worth the price of admission. Vegas certainly used Vatanen’s exposure to acquire Shea Theodore in an Expansion Draft trade.

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