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Will Defensive Scoring Continue Into The Postseason

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If I told you before the season the Golden Knights defensemen would score a total of 29 goals in 38 games you’d be pleasantly surprised. If I then told you they were scoring 0.68 goals per game and only two from Alex Pietrangelo you’d call me a loony.

Since this season is 26 games shorter, offensive numbers from defensemen stand out a little more. Not only are goals from defensemen necessary, but assisting and generating them as well. This season the Golden Knights are getting it all from their blueline.

2021 VGK Defensive Scoring

Theodore: 29 Points (6 Goals, 23 Assists)
Martinez: 22 Points (7 Goals, 15 Assists)
Hague: 14 Points (5 Goals, 9 Assists)
Pietrangelo: 11 Points (2 Goals, 9 Assists)
Whitecloud: 8 Points (2 Goals, 6 Assists)
Coghlan: 5 Points (3 Goals, 2 Assists)
McNabb: 3 Points (1 Goal, 2 Assists)
Holden: 2 Points (2 Assists)
Total Defensive Points: 94 Points (26 G, 68 A)

Most of the eight defensemen to suit up this season are far beyond their pace for career years. All but two have eclipsed their points per game average. If this were a normal 82-game season it’s plausible the majority of the Golden Knights defense would cruise past their previous high campaigns.

When you add the total goals from each defensemen’s best offensive season the number is just 20 goals short of what they’ve amassed in only 38 games played this year. Lately, Vegas D-men have been so effective it’s made up for the slump Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone are currently in. Which is good sign for postseason droughts. Especially, when youngsters Zach Whitecloud, Nic Hague, and Dylan Coghlan are getting involved offensively.

VGK Defensemen Previous Career Highs

Pietrangelo: 16 Goals (54 Points)
Theodore: 13 Goals (46 Points)
Martinez: 11 Goals (39 Points)
McNabb: 5 Goals (24 Points)
Hague: 1 Goal (11 Points)
Whitecloud: 0 Points
Coghlan: 0 Points
VGK Defensemen in 2021: 26 Goals (0.68 PPG)
Combined Career Highs: 46 Goals (0.56 PPG)

Currently, the Golden Knights defensive unit is the highest-scoring in the NHL. When the Golden Knights get contributions from the blue line or bottom-six it softens the pressure around the stars. Which allows them to get to work and do their jobs. Also, it makes Vegas a much more potent club in the postseason.

Scoring 0.68 goals per game from the blue line will help win many regular season games, but that additional offense is even more vital in the playoffs when games tend to tighten up. It’s unrealistic to rely on Vegas defensemen to score at their regular season pace. They might bail out the top six on certain nights but Vegas can’t survive if the defense is relied upon for three or four postseason games.

VGK Defensemen Postseason Points Per Game

Theodore: 0.67 PPG (67 Games)
Pietrangelo: 0.55 PPG (92 Games)
Martinez: 0.28 PPG (84 Games)
Holden: 0.25 PPG (40 Games)
McNabb: 0.17 PPG (52 Games)
Whitecloud: 0.15 PPG (20 Games)
Combined Postseason Average: 0.345 PPG

Only Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore average more than 0.30 points per playoff game. Sure, Alec Martinez has one of the most memorable Cup-clinching shots of all time but he’s never been relied on to produce offensively. That’s not his role.

The best-case scenario would be Pacioretty, Stone, and other top-six forwards consistently driving offense in the postseason. In that situation, any point from the blue line would be an added bonus. Momentum changing, insurance type goals or series clinchers.

Ask Alec, that’s how the Stanley Cup is won.

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6 Comments

  1. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    #7 hasn’t contributed as most thought he would, to this point. But has missed significant time due to covid then injury.

    I was not in favor of spending that much money, on ANY Dman, BUT , I really feel that Petro will come through in the playoffs. (of course he has to, doesn’t he)?

    The top 6 scoring must return for any chance in playoffs. (we all know this, and I think it will). As far as Dmen scoring, we’ll continue to get some, just as a nature of how our offense is set.

    But still more concerning to me, is lack of Dmen activity around our net. (ie … toughness). We must get much more physical clearing opposition players from front of out net). I think we will see the importance of this in the playoffs, good or bad!

  2. Doc – Unfortunately our Dmen do a better job of screening our goalie than our guys screening the opposition. Your right they are not physical around our net and in to many cases are entirely out of position as well. As I recall I don’t think that trait is one of Pietro strong points and should be at 8.8 mill a year.

    • Howard

      Let’s review how teams have done giving offensive type Dmen big contracts;

      1. LaKings – Doughety = $90 Million = no postseason appearances since that contract.

      SjSharks – Karlsson – about the same $90M – one playoff appearance, a disaster since.

      Habs – Subban – 8 years, $72M = Habs traded him , no postseason appearances with him. Predators, one final loss, one more playoff appearance, traded him to NJ – nothing.

      Strong CENTERING wins cups. VGK front office has made horrible decisions across the board. Piets is a good Dman, but not worth his contract. Because they signed him, they hamstrung themselves, and as I’ve just shown, big money Dman DO NOT WIN YOU CUPS.

      Solution = VGK should trade Theodore, Glass, Roy, Maf ( MAF is hard part, to make cap work) + 2 draft picks to SJS for Hertl and Couture. They will not do this, and aren’t creative enough to even think it – this would make them a real cup contender.

      This trade would benefit both teams. SjS gets younger, and gets an insurance for their poor Karlsson signing (mainly because he’s super injury prone), gets draft picks to help rebuild. Hard part would be moving MAF.

      VGK would get top 2 centers and would be able to move Chandler and Bill where they belong – 3rd and 4th line.

      Theodore is yet another overrated and overvalued by many Offensive Dman who basically DOESN’T PLAY DEFENSE!

      NHL front offices continually over value Dmen like Theodore, and they consistently get burned for it.

      Also as I’ve said before, is there anyone real honest NHL fan who can possibly imagine VGK hoisting a cup with Chandler Stephenson as your topline center?

      This trade isn’t likely to ever be thought of, and VGK hoisting a cup anytime soon also isn’t likely – same issues as last year in which its front office DID NOT ADDRESS this off season – we can expect the same result in postseason if not a flat out 1st round bounce out.

      Conclusion – VGK lacks strong centering. Their East-West puck cycling style cannot win a cup unless you have strong centering. Make a correct trade for needed centering for this system, or fire Deboer and bring back a transition based system otherwise, no real shot at a cup anytime soon.

  3. Howard- don’t k ow about the solution but I do know 8.8 peryear for Petro who’s best years are in the past was a waste of money which l indicated all along. Mgt has created hole they are going to have a very difficult time digging out of.

  4. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Those two SJ guys mentioned, have always played hard and given us problems … BUT … I’m not sure VGK is ready to bring another piece from the sharks,, let alone two of them.

    I realize Stephenson isn’t thought of as a “sexy” center like some others, but he has played very well with 61 & 67.

    I for one, would be proud to call him our #1 line center, if we are raising the freakin Stanley Cup!!! 😉

  5. Tim

    Well Petro slid into town bought a 6 million dollar house and kicking back for 7 years what a deal only in America. Stone goes balls to the wall every game this bullshit we didn’t have it tonight doesn’t work for me. Stone’s not the only one but he’s a leader Petro who was captain of the Blues ought to be ashamed of his half ass play. He gets beat far to often and to many guys skate around him like he’s standing still. It’s time for him to grab his balls and make it happen. I agree with Howard Theadore although young let a little fame go to his head. He skates well but has to attract the net more these shots one after another from the blue line gets old. Hertl and Couture would be nice but from our hated rival how would that play in the locker room. I guess after getting the coach from our most hated rival anything is possible.

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