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VGK’s Deadline Overhaul Impacted By Lack Of Chemistry

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been years since Golden Knights fans have felt the empty feelings of a first round exit. Excluding the dreadful missed playoff season of 2022, Vegas has only one other first round defeat. It stunk back then and stinks again this spring.

Now that the team has been eliminated, cleaned out their lockers, and begun making summer plans, it’s time to begin diagnosing the 2023-24 season. There’s an abundance of discussions but we’ll take our time addressing them. After all, we have an unexpectedly longer summer than in years past.

How much better did the Golden Knights get after the trade deadline?

Post trade deadline the Golden Knights received extremely high grades for their late season wheeling and dealing. Completing packages for Noah Hanifin, Tomas Hertl, and Anthony Mantha, the Golden Knights put the league on notice. All signs pointed to a deep run in the playoffs with Vegas’ new flashy lineup.

Vegas’ front office addressed all departments except the goaltending position. Mantha added instant size and extra depth while Hanifin and Hertl extended Vegas’ championship window even longer. In the end, it may have been too much to ask. The chemistry was expected to come together in the final month of the regular season and carry over into the playoffs. Clearly, that quick bond never happened.

It’s not fantasy league where you just put in all of the names and it automatically happens. There’s work involved, there’s the other team that is the #1 seed, there’s guys that haven’t played in a long time at the playoff level and it takes a while to get to your game, it’s not automatic. Those things aren’t always that easy to get to. -Bruce Cassidy

No matter how stacked the Golden Knights postseason lineup was, it couldn’t find the big goal at the right times like last season. Those struggles forced lineup changes and more chemistry issues. Mantha was benched, Hertl was -6 and contributed just one power play goal in Game 1. Even more troubling was Ivan Barbashev, William Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo, and Chandler Stephenson all went goal-less in seven games. It’s possible those players were impacted by lack of playing time with their new teammates. On the bright side, Hanifin was superb in his first playoff series as a Golden Knights and was a huge reason why the series pushed to seven games.

March’s trade deadline also guaranteed major changes to next season’s lineup. Failing to extend Jonathan Marchessault paved a real path to his unfortunate departure. Lifting Hertl from San Jose suggests Stephenson could hit the opening market as well.

Stephenson is a top center. Eichel is signed for two more years, Karlsson is signed for three more years and they just traded for Hertl with a lot of term. They’re pretty set down the middle. Them going out and getting Hertl is at least an admission that they know there is a possibility Stephenson is going to leave. A center like him getting on the market, they’re going to be 20 teams after this guy. I have no doubt that that’s the case. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Clearly, the Golden Knights got deeper and more talented after the deadline but it proved to be too many new faces and not enough time to build championship chemistry.

They’re going to be aggressive. They’re going to be mad that they lost. They’re going to be super mad that they lost and everybody is out there saying ‘good, I’m glad Vegas didn’t win.’ This is an organization that isn’t satisfied with one Stanley Cup. –Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

The worst part about Vegas’ exit is being stripped of their Stanley Cup champion title. As of the next fall, the Golden Knights won’t be the hunted, they’ll be the hunter.

To do it successfully, they must find a way to build chemistry for seven months, not seven weeks.

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60 Comments

  1. JB

    I think most thinking is that we fell short by one goal of making a deep PO run. Pretty simple,we lost the series because we couldn’t close them out after a 2-0 start. Can back home not ready to play in game three. This has been a problem for a while now with our core group. They go thru the motions when up, as if the other team will just fold. THAT is the most disappointing thing to me. If they don’t extend Marchy I think it will have a dramatic effect on the teams attitude coming back in the fall. HOW do you not retain your highest scorer?

    • Jim Limperis

      This team is in deep trouble… We have gotten older and slower, and are about to lose our 2 fastest and toughest guys on Stephenson and Carrier. We have the 2 most over rated and overpaid D men in the league on #7 and #27… So sick of how our lame announcers can’t criticize their play without getting fired. The Piece of shit trangelo contract is the death of this teams future!
      9 million for a post game BS analyst who can’t take responsibility for his dumbass plays and lack of desire to play anymore… Do everyone a favor and retire so we can keep guys we like and actually want to play hockey, not just collect a fat check. The other piece of crap #27 hasn’t hit or been hit since he got her… Living off of power play 2nd assists. Get rid of him and use that to pay Marshy!
      So embarrassinging to watch his drama after the brush to his face by Seguin… Makes our team look like P*##×’s!

      • knights fan in minny

        how do you know chandler will be gone mr bitter

        • Richie-Rich

          Stephenson is making $2.75million ( I think ). He’s 30, prime and it will be hard to resign this guy. Not impossible, just hard. Ken’s right. We’re overloaded at this position. But, have we seen enough out of Hertl? He’s one big contribution is his outstanding face off percentage.

          My money is on Marchy staying, Stephenson signing elsewhere and Martinez either retiring or taking a short contract somewhere else. Martinez has always been a solid D, just like McNabb. Could he take a shave and a haircut and play another on our D? I doubt it. We have Korczak and Cormier waiting to come up. I hated to see Pachal get lost in all of this.

      • Mike

        #27 as u say was a good penalty killer along with #71. How can u talk bad of guy’s and still be a fan. I think u should support another team if your going to criticize our players. Our team didn’t pan out this last season because it was hard for them to play when so many injuries interrupted real team effort.

      • TS

        Jim, come on, tell us what you really think!! Don’t hold back, lol!

  2. Just my opinion l am not sure that having some of those UFA coming up with the uncertainty of their future didn’t play into their problems. You have to put yourself in their shoes to understand why that could be an issue. Anyone with a job that faces that kind of situation certainly understand this. These guys are humans with feelings – while not said but let me introduce you to your replacement. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that. Worse yet not positive it’s a real improvement. Yes these guys are professionals but also human. People don’t function at top level when faced with uncertainty. Having been on both sides of situations like that it’s a fact of life.

    • ThG

      very insightful post HD, better prospective than JB dribble.

      also, the man game injuries didn’t help this team at all, they are getting old and more prone to injuries. This is not a good sign for franchise.

      I expect more of a role for Brisson, Cotter, Korzack, and Pavel next year.

      You always hate to see good players leave, but the socialistic bull shit sal cap is , what it is. Run by a league headed by liberal Canadians, trying to “even” the “playing field” so eveyone has a fair shot. Disregard rewarding owners who do as great job, let’s just screw them and give the losers a chance now. Next year, forget about keeping score, ok ? Eh?

      • Jim Limperis

        You are such a loser

        • ThG

          JL
          says the guy who likes a losing prescription, if you like socialism so much move to cuba, venezuela, north korea, or one of the failed USSR , Union of Soviet Socialist “republics”. All failed entities.

          • Stephanie

            Skip socialist .How about Democracy over extreme lunacy .Again this is a hockey website

      • Mike Paine

        It’s NOT “socialistic” to try to keep a level playing field. Without a salary cap, ONLY the really “big market” teams would win. For example: imagine one NHL team ran like the LA Dodgers. This team has virtually no salary cap and has loaded up this year. That IS NOT fair to teams such as the Brewers, the Reds, Cleveland, Oakland, other “small market” teams. Those teams CANNOT compete financially with LA. It would be the same thing in the NHL (and every other pro-sport league) without a salary cap. As fans we find the cap disruptive because it causes teams to release/trade fan favorites to not go over the cap, but there is a good reason for such a policy.

        • Richie-Rich

          Right! So let’s put an * on every NYY World Championship in baseball.

    • TS

      Hdbiker, so liked your comment ” people don’t function at top level with uncertainty “…EXACTLY what I felt watching March under- perform during the series. That just wasn’t the guy we know whose play can be heroic, clutch, no- fear. Gotta feel for him and his family right now..

  3. Dirtnap gene scott

    Time to clean house…Stone gone…that’s ok..too old…be nice if marchy could stay on the cheap…we cannot overpay for this aging guy, no matter how many dumb fans knit little dog sweaters with his number on them. Stephenson has to go…Im down here in hell reporting …

  4. Emmanuel

    Nah they just lost a close series. It happens.

    Let me fix it for you:

    To Toronto: 2024 1st/2024 3rd/Hertl/Theodore/Hague

    To Vegas: Matthews

    • knights fan in minny

      hauge and Hertl for marner

    • NAM

      Let me fix it for you:

      Hertl has a full no move clause till the 2028-2029 season.

      I like what you were trying to do there with moving those 3, but *almost* zero chance it can include Hertl.

      • Emmanuel

        capfriendly does not say ‘full no move’ unless I misunderstood it.

        • Emmanuel

          Thru 27-28 “3 team trade list” so he gets to choose 3 teams he will allow a trade to? You can always convince him to modify it……assuming ‘beautiful Toronto’ isnt one of the teams….

        • NAM

          You are partially correct. On the Vegas capfriendly page if you hover over NMC then it says it really strangely making me think it is until 28-29 season, then going to his page confusingly says something else. I went to the googles instead. So for his 8 year contract Year 1-3 are full no move clause, Year 4-6 are a 3 team approved trade list, and Year 7-8 are 15 team approved trade list. Next year (3rd of his contract) he can’t be moved. 2025-26 starts his 3 team portion.

          …and no one wants to move from Vegas to TOR.

    • Rojo

      Probably
      No
      To many people. Too much money. Too dumb!

    • ROJO

      How about No.
      Too much money.
      Too many people.

  5. Frank

    Big decisions for the knights looming. First on my mind is Marchessault… is he willing to take a hometown discount? Or will he hit FA and look for the big deal? Martinez may well retire… Stone may be looking that way too (just based on injury history and how the first round played out for him but well see what he has left in the tank)…. Stephenson is as good as gone. Mantha was a one year rental that did not pan out…. would love to keep Amadio if possible but it may not be. Is one of our D core a trade chip for a scoring winger (looking at theodore specifically)? Karlsson was injured and off his game in the DAL series and it showed. Carrier as well may be shown the door…. Should be interesting times in Vegas. Do know this, ownership will do what it needs to do to put together a winning roster – that is for certain.

    • Emmanuel

      If Stone retires is he LTIR or are VGK on the hook for salary?

      • NAM

        If he retires because of injury. He will remain on LTIR and paid (real salary) mainly thru insurance. Same cap rules apply as now, so not against the cap. This is the same as Lehner right now. If he wants to retire, not due to injury, he and VGK can terminate the contract. No money will be paid or collected and nothing against the cap. Interesting enough if you sign a contract after 35 years old and you retire the money stays on the cap. Kind of a weird rule.

    • ThG

      PDB targeted two key players, and it worked. One was knocked out of the playoffs. The other one limping along on a sled.

    • I have a simple question about Marchy or any player for that matter. Why would anyone take a hometown discount period. All you guys keep referring that

      • ThG

        “Why would anyone take a hometown discount period.”

        any number of reasons
        1- friendships in area
        2- don’t want to move, long distance moving is hassle
        3- no state income taxes
        4- young family with kids that you don’t want to uproot
        5- winning team
        6- good work environment
        7- relatively good year round weather
        8- wife wants to stay “happy wife, happy life” you know what they say
        9- vegas is centrally located so travel to other cities in your schedule
        is relatively easy, except for a couple of week long trips “back east”
        10 – inexpensive housing compared to other places

        not that I agreee with all the above.

        • THg – your ” not that I agree with all the above” statement definitely suggests you’re not crazy. You neglected to list -First of all Vegas is not their hometown to begin with as all came from elsewhere and often return to the “elsewhere” when the season is over. That said there are some benefits here “the tax situation” probably the biggest. Correct me if I am wrong are they taxed when playing away I think I recall reading someplace that was the case.

  6. NAM

    Interesting that Elliotte Friedman said that the Marchessault talks were held up by term. Goes back to old age, like I mentioned before. We’ll see. I think if talks go south we send Brisson’s kid to the MTL for future considerations.

    • VGK fan

      Interesting they have no problem paying a 30 year old Hertle 7 million a year for the next 6 years.

      • NAM

        Right but Marchessault will be 34 this year and probably wants 6-8 years. Paying a guy big money till he is 40+ is not good business. I mean I have no idea what the ask really is, but if he was asking for 7 mil at 2-3 years (36 or 37 years old) I am sure it would be done already.

        One or both sides are playing chicken IMO. Still lots of time.

        • Emmanuel

          For what its worth Yardbarker predicted he would get 3Y/6.2M on the open market. That seems low….but they have some kind of algorhythym.

          • NAM

            In my opinion I think the 6.2M figure is a team friendly number and 3 years is good too. So just using that then I am guessing Marchy wants 2-3 more years and Vegas doesn’t want to do it. I understand both side’s argument.

            If I was GM I would counter 6.2M for 3 years, 4M year 4, 2M year 5.

        • TS

          Nam, You think he’ll want 6-8 years?, that’s long for even a young guy. Ovechkin is 38, and I could never imagine him still playing in his 40’s, same for Marchy. I’m gonna Google Ages in Hockey.

          • TS

            Boy, was I shocked! Hell, turns out guys played well into their 40’s, Gordy Howe was 52– was that a Typo ?? Maybe that 6-8 year idea isn’t out of the question, after all

          • NAM

            TS, I really can’t say. To me, 3 or 4 years doesn’t seem crazy, assuming the $$ number isn’t stupid. So if Friedman says it is “term” they are fighting over, what can the term number be, but something higher? Unless McCrimmon is only willing to do 2 years or something.

            On the flip side, maybe Friedman is full of doo and he doesn’t actually know what is really happening.

        • ROJO

          Simple math.
          Too much time. Too much money.
          Wild Bill did 43 and got 5.7 mil.
          5 years later that might be 6.5 mil.

      • ThG

        VGK
        yes but that gives them more cap salary space via the RL route when they go on LTIR, no ?

      • Stephanie

        Exactly and Marchy has done more than any of these guys

  7. Thomas Ortegon

    I Think Chandler Stephenson Will Stay Marchy And Anthony Mantha Will Be Gone. Alec Martinez Retire Or New Team. Chandler Is A Little Young Then Marchy. I Do Not Think He Will Take Discount.

  8. JB

    Let me add some more dribble. Hertl has been a very good and productive player for years. He comes here off knee surgery, hadn’t played in a few months, and everyone is judging him harshly ? Trade him? This is the knee jerk reaction that goes on here all the time. Hertl will be a very good player for us when is healed and in shape.

    • TS

      JB, I happen to LIKE your Dribble!! Too funny!! Dribble on!!

    • Actually that’s not accurate, he’s had multiple knee surgeries over the years. This last one was a minor surgery where pieces from earlier surgeries could cause pain. Others in San Jose could see the decline in his speed and effectiveness. Hopefully he’ll get better or it’s Tatar 2.0

      • ThG

        ty Leonard
        for correcting the clueless posters on this board, wise insight is always
        a good thing. I agree with you 10000% on this one ! Have a nice summer. See you at training camp.

  9. TS

    Ken, I may be behind d here, but your article seems to say Marchy is a sure departure– is this conjecture or fact?

    • JB

      Actually this is Jason’s thoughts. No one knows what’s going on with Marchy.

      • TS

        Jb, Oops, Jason is speculating, I get it. NOW. thnx.

        • Emily51

          TS – I thought the same thing. As in, Did I miss something with Marchy?!? What happened?? Glad to know there’s still time to make a deal to keep him! Thanks, JB, from me, too!

          • JB

            Welcome!

          • Thg

            they are just being kind, and saying the right things so that if things fall apart no one will have a knee jerk reaction

            and no this is not like the MAF situation, in which MAF basically
            stabbed the whole franchise

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