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Latest Round Of Power Rankings Ignoring VGK’s Past Success

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If last night’s 6-3 win over the Pacific-leading Vancouver Canucks was any indication of how the Golden Knights will perform in the playoffs, the league better take notice. The reigning champions are back to form and are looking like a club prepared to repeat. However, outside of the 702 there are skeptics in every corner of the NHL map.

Going into last season’s playoff the Golden Knights were on the shortlist of favorites to win the Stanley Cup. This year, the 2023 champions are being overlooked by many who cover the league. In the latest release of numerous NHL power rankings, most critics buried Vegas as if they were some substandard Wild Card beneficiary.

Western Conference Playoff Polling Averages

  1. COL – (1.5)
  2. DAL – (2.3)
  3. EDM – (3.0)
  4. VAN – (3.5)
  5. NAS – (4.7)
  6. WPG – (6.2)
  7. LAK – (6.7)
  8. VGK – (7.3)

We compiled data from ten different power rankings and calculated the average for each contending Western Conference team. Those references include: CBS Sports, Daily Faceoff, ESPN, Hockey News, MoneyPuck, NHL.com, Seattle Times, Sportsnet, TSN, and USA Today.

In the Western Conference ,among contenders, the Golden Knights were at the bottom or close to it in most power rankings. LA and Winnipeg were the two closest in the eyes of various judges.

USA Today: 1. COL, 2. CAR, 3. NYR, 4. FLA, 5. EDM, 6. DAL, 7. NAS, 8. BOS, 9. VGK, 10. TB, 11. VAN, 12. TOR, 13. PHI, 14. LAK, 15. WPG, 16. WAS

Only USA Today’s rankings had Vegas higher than the seventh-best club in the conference.

TSN: 1. COL, 2. CAR, 3. VAN, 4. EDM, 5. NAS, 6. NYR, 7. DAL, 8. FLA, 9. LAK, 10. TOR, 11. WPG, 12. BOS, 13. TB, 14. VGK, 15. MIN, 16. NJD

On the flip side, the folks up north at TSN aren’t expecting a Golden Knights championship repeat. Maybe they’ll reconsider after they pushed around Canada’s most successful team. TSN analysts are fair but tough. They boldly excluded two Eastern Conference playoff teams from their Top 20. The Sports Network did note that facing the Golden Knights would be a rotten reward for any division champion.

That said, earning a first-round playoff matchup against a wild-card team won’t be the win it’s been in previous years. The two teams occupying those spots right now are the Nashville Predators, 15-0-2 in their past 17 games, and the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights. -TSN

Sportsnet: 1. NYR, 2. COL, 3. DAL, 4. VAN, 5. CAR, 6. BOS, 7. NAS, 8. FLA, 9. TB, 10. EDM, 11. LAK, 12. TOR, 13. WPG, 14. WAS, 15. STL, 16. VGK

Canada’s second major hockey network wasn’t much kinder on Vegas. They had to remind fans about the Golden Knights mediocrity since Christmastime. Maybe their recent play will gain higher marks in Sportsnet’s next power rankings.

23 teams — including the frequently-maligned New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins — have a better points percentage than Vegas’ .488 mark since Dec. 15. Good thing the Knights had built a huge buffer by posting the third-best mark (.726) to that point. –Ryan Dixon on Sportsnet.ca

NHL.com: 1. NYR, 2. COL, 3. VAN, 4. DAL, 5. FLA, 6. BOS, 7. CAR, 8. NAS, 9. WPG, 10. EDM, 11. LAK, 12. TOR, 13. TB, 14. VGK, 15. WAS, 16. PHI

Last week we begrudgingly pointed out the Golden Knights horrendous 3rd period meltdowns. The NHL’s Dan Rosen emphasized that shortcoming in his latest power ranking. On a positive note the Golden Knights have only allowed one third period goal to start April.

The Golden Knights must, must, must be better in the third period. This isn’t just because they 4-1 lead after two periods against the Predators on Tuesday only to lose 5-4 in overtime. It’s not a recency bias. It’s longer than that. They are minus-12 in third-period goal differential in March, 26-14. They gave up the three in the third to the Predators on top of allowing three to the Lightning in a 5-3 loss, four to the Calgary Flames in a 4-1 loss, three to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-3 loss and four to the Buffalo Sabres in a 7-2 loss all this month. They’re winning a lot of games going into the third period and then they give it away. – Dan Rosen on NHL.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.

Sportsnet Recogonizes Hill As Top 2022 Offseason Move

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You’re not going to find a fan in this region that will disagree about the importance of acquiring Adin Hill last summer. The Golden Knights surprisingly added a fourth goaltender to their roster via trade with the woeful San Jose Sharks. San Jose’s front office were likely satisfied to receive a fourth-round pick for a player that was not in their plans, while Vegas got a future Conn Smyth candidate in return. Looking back, it’s as lopsided as a deal can but in reality, neither FO believed Hill would do what he did in the postseason.

Tops among this group has to be Hill, who was plucked from the San Jose Sharks by Vegas in August for a fourth-round pick. The journeyman backup had played five seasons when that trade sent him to Vegas, having spent the first four years of his career in Arizona before a 2021 trade had sent him to San Jose. He’d excelled in brief spurts for both clubs, but overall had gotten little opportunity to prove what he was capable of. –Sonny Sachdeva on Sportsnet.ca

To be fair, the national hockey media hadn’t realized before Vegas’ championship run how high Hill climbed to be in the starting role by Game 2 of the second round. Of course, the third-string goaltender was highly profiled in the later rounds, but the general public hadn’t caught up with his rise.

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VGK Earns High Respect In Latest NHL Power Rankings

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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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Sportnet Overlooks The Golden Knights In Opening Power Rankings

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It’s time to turn down (or maybe turn up) the outside noise. The Golden Knights are certainly not the same team as in years past but there are still expectations. Sure, the club has holes and question marks in several positions, but overall Vegas should be considered a playoff contender.

The doubters are out there, but they are ignoring the Golden Knights’ skilled veterans that are accustomed to playing in the postseason. Vegas is blessed with high-end talent that has the ability to push them over the playoff cut line. However, in many pundits’ opinions, the bar has lowered. Just take a look at Sportsnet’s recent NHL power rankings. The Canadian outlet isn’t expecting much from Vegas this season.

Sportsnet NHL Power Rankings

1. Colorado
2. Tampa
3. Carolina
4. Calgary
5. Toronto
6. Florida
7. Edmonton
8. Minnesota
9. New York Rangers
10. St. Louis
*19. Vegas

Being ranked 19th out of 32 is far from flattering. In fact, it’s a not-so-subtle shot toward the 31st franchise, as many believe the Golden Knights window has closed. With Colorado’s locked-up talent, who can blame the detractors? However, there are silver linings to the low Sportsnet ranking, including the fact that the writer who put them at 19th doesn’t even seem to fully believe it himself.

That Robin Lehner is gone for the year cannot be overlooked, but it does obscure the fact there are reasons to like this team. Jack Eichel is getting his first full rip in the desert and captain Mark Stone is back after an injury-marred season. –Ryan Dixon, Sportsnet.ca

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Vegas Recognizes What They’re Dealing With

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Tonight the Golden Knights will face an electric Florida Panthers team that won’t have trouble scoring. In their last ten games, the Panthers have 40 combined goals scored. Vegas on the other hand, has a total of 25. It well could be another one of those nights. We’re all hoping it’s not.

This is not how Vegas operates. Vegas isn’t fond about making excuses. Maybe management would look at it and say ‘we got thirty million dollars worth of players that are wearing suits.’ I don’t know if the owner looks at it that way. -Jeff Marek on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Of course, fans would rather the Golden Knights compete for a Stanley Cup this postseason but it seems like a hopeless dream at this point. Vegas has been devastated with injuries and there’s no doubting that. The Golden Knights’ goal of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals may have unfortunately been upended by the injury bug. It’s an excuse, but some would argue it’s a darn good excuse.

Look at how much money you’ve got in injured reserve or long term injured reserve. Between all of those guys you’re over $30 million dollars out of the lineup. -Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Most injuries are uncontrollable and an unfortunate element of professional sports. Sadly, some teams cannot make up for impactful players getting hurt and missing significant amounts of time. It’s unlikely the Golden Knights will never be fully healthy this season. Even if the club makes a remarkable run to the finals it won’t be enough time for each injury to completely heal. Don’t get me wrong, if Mark Stone and Alec Martinez are available in the playoffs they will dress. They may not be 100% healthy but they will play their tuchuses off.

Realistically, it probably wouldn’t be enough to eliminate Calgary, Colorado, or Tampa Bay in a seven-game series. So, what’s wrong with planning ahead?

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

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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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