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Tag: Selke Trophy

Jack Eichel Among League Leaders In Defensive Impact

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We dove into it earlier in the season but it’s time to spotlight it again. At this point of the 2023-24 season, Vegas center Jack Eichel has established himself as a confident 200-foot player. Many Golden Knights fans will say they’ve known since that last season, especially after VGK’s successful Stanley Cup run last summer.

However, his performance through 42 games has been balanced, impactful, and pleasantly surprising. As expected, the offensive guru leads the team in points (44), goals (19), power play goals (7) and game-winning goals (5). What wasn’t anticipated was Eichel’s fine defensive on-ice work.

Take for instance last night’s contest against the Boston Bruins. Eichel spent 1:01 on a crucial penalty kill in the latter half of the 3rd period which held the Bruins scoreless through that point of the game. He then followed it up with 1:17 five-on-five shift. Of course, he max-ed out his 3:37 in power play time but also spent 2:18 killing penalties. It hasn’t been the norm for a guy who averaged 0:25 seconds of PK time per 60 before becoming a Golden Knight. Since the addition of Bruce Cassidy in October of 2023, Eichel now averages 1:01 per game.

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Eichel Keeping Pace With League Hardware Favorites

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Currently on the William Hill sports app the favorites to win the 2023-24 Hart Trophy are Connor McDavid (+340), Jack Hughes (+400), David Pastranak (+550) and several other NHL stars. However, if you’re looking for a value candidate then look no further than Golden Knights center Jack Eichel.

Top 2023-24 MVP Candidates

  1. Connor McDavid (+340): 1.45 Points Per Game, 29 Points (8 Goals, 21 Assists), 14 Power Play Points
  2. Jack Hughes (+400): 1.76 Points Per Game, 30 Points (9 Goals, 21 Assists), 14 Power Play Points
  3. David Pastranak (+550): 1.50 Points Per Game, 36 Points (14 Goals, 22 Assists), 15 Power Play Points
  4. Nikita Kucherov (+600): 1.68 Points Per Game, 42 Points (16 Goals, 26 Assists), 20 Power Play Points
  5. Auston Matthews (+900): 1.14 Points Per Game, 25 Points (16 Goals, 9 Assists)
    ***30. Jack Eichel (+6500): 1.08 Points Per Game, 28 Points (11 Goals, 17 Assists) 9 Power Play Points

This season Eichel has far and away become the Golden Knights leading player on the ice. He tops the team in points, assists, goals, power play goals, shots on net and time on ice for a forward. Eichel is contributing 1.08 points per game this season which ranks 30th among all NHL skaters. He’s notched 11 goals through 26 games, including five on the power play. Of course, Mark Stone remains the heart and soul of the team but #9 has become the likely hero to assist or score a game altering goal.

Vegas’ centerpiece has slowly rebuilt his national presence across the league after years of being ignored in Buffalo. Outside of upstate New York, Eichel was rarely spotlighted or featured on countrywide advertisements. After his 2023 postseason performance, the Stanley Cup champion is more marketable to fans out of market. National Gatorade commercials and two memorable ‘This is Sportscenter’ promos only elevate Eichel’s profile. Add in the top liner’s on ice impact and presto, you have a viable Hart Trophy candidate. Unfortunately, there are a dozen other qualified hopefuls in line ahead of him.

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