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Vegas- how did it all go so horribly wrong


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I have come to bury them, not to praise them.

 

  The Knights in their shootout loss to the Stars last night were officially eliminated from the playoffs. A few thoughts on the why's and wherefores. 

 

DEBOER Is IMHO not a good fit with the Knights as a head coach. He failed miserably in florida, Took the Devils to an inprobably finals appearance, took the Sharks to the finals so yeah, he can coach, but they have progressively gotten worse over time since the team fired Gallant and brought him in. I think you can see it in his eyes, he lost this team somewhere along the way and should be replaced. 

 

INJURIES. Martinez who is the best shot blocker in the game and scores around 40 points a game was the under the radar key to making the defense go, he was concussed and misses a huge part of the season and was never the same when he came back. MaxPax missed over half the season. Reilly Smith missed 26 games. Stone, like Pax missed over half the year. Karlsson, McNabb, Whitecloud, Carrier, Janmark all missed double digit games. Their was simply zero cohesion. In net Lehner was not the same player as in the past several years and could not stay healthy, Broissoit was always hurt at the wrong time.

  The biggest was Eichel who managed only 22 points in 32 games and looked like a guy who was recovering from major surgery. 

 

THE EICHEL TRADE Eichel came over from buffalo, the cost a first and a second plus top prospect Krebs and long time Knight Tuch. Tuch scored 38 points to Eichel's 22, Krebs matched Eichel with 22 points and the picks, oy vey. This looks like a very good deal for Buffalo as the cap strapped Knights fight to keep everyone together.

 

AGE HAS CAUGHT UP. The following are all on the wrong side of 30 in a game that is increasingly a young mans game:

Pietrangelo, Stone, Pax, Karlsson, Marchesseault, Dadonov, McNabb, Martinez and Lehner. Most played a bit older and slower than in the past, this is something that doesnt auto correct. None are UFA's which would allow cap relief, most are signed long term. This problem will get worse, not better.

 

THE DADONOV FIASCO They traded him, oh wait, nobody bothered to check his contract the Ducks were on his no no list so they were forced to keep him creating a very awkward situation all around. He actually played decent down the stretch but never mind, cracks in the upper management are showing with this fiasco being a glaring example.

 

THE FLOWER TRADE Essentially they gave Fleury to the Hawks for less than nothing, a career minor leaguer, no picks coming back. There is no way no how they miss the playoffs if he is still there to spell Lehner or to fill in when Lehner is out. No way. Yes, they probably could not have done the Eichel deal with his cap hit but that would not be a bad thing. Hindsight being 20/20 but the Knights with Fluery/Tuch/Krebs and without Eichel would have been a stone cold lock to make the playoffs and would be looking at a likely matchup against Edmonton right now. Wouldnt it be ironic if Fleury leads the Wild to a cup. 

 

  This team is a mess. Oh, they might get lucky and be a bit healthier next year, they might trade Lehner for Carey Price or something like that, there is still enough talent for a playoff run but IMHO the cup contender days have passed them by. As any Shark or Wings fan will tell you, when you have a bunch of over 30's under long term deals you can only watch helplessly as they get a bit worse year after year. Never bad enough to get in the lottery, noever good enough to be much more than first round fodder for a better team. I remember the Wings at the end of their playoff run, watching old men trying to take on the likes of Tampa several years running and being ran off the ice. That is where the Knights are right now and with the players locked in on long term deals and aging quickly it wont get better.

 

 

 

 

Edited by yave1964
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The bill finally coming due for the Las Vegas Golden Knights?

I look at their roster, the ages, the cap hits, and who they have that is 25 or under that is long term viable to help keep this team aflot, and you are spot on @yave1964 in your assessment.
Probably will be going the way the Minnesota Wild did for a long time....like you said, good enough to compete for a playoff spot, but not much more than that, but never bad enough to get elite talent via a top 5 or even a top 10 pick.

But you know, George McPhee has proven himself a very resourceful guy.
Some big numbers will be coming off the books after next season, and in the meantime, if he can find some way to rid himself of guys like Dadonov and Willie Karlsson (both pretty big cap hits for the minimal return the Knights are getting), while recouping at least mid round selections, they may do better than some are thinking they might.

Robin Lehner can NOT be the answer as the number one though.
There are a few promising, unknown goaltenders around the minors whom some teams may not have room for at the NHL level due to having stud goalies already.
Knights best look into that real hard and try to come up with two or three, have them compete for jobs and see if there is an answer there, while relegating Lehner or some other journeyman veteran over the next two years as stop gaps.

Knights may also want to take on some other teams' "project players"......guys who have talent, but for whatever reason, the team they are currently on is having trouble unlocking it on an NHL (or AHL) ice sheet.
This may or may not work out for Vegas, but as you stated already, many of their core pieces will just continue to get worse, so worth a shot to see if some darkhorse young player can step up with them.

I'd also say they should look hard overseas and scour around for some 'hidden gem' players and try to get them over.
The situation with Russia and the KHL mucks that up somewhat, but there are still some very good leagues in Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic that have some very fine players.

The Pacific division still isn't one of the strongest, so Vegas, if they have the scouting chops, shouldn't be buried and dead if they do their due diligence.
Calgary looks strong now, but for how long?
That all could depend on what happens in the offseason with them.... Edmonton might be the biggest long term threat, along with the Kings, and maybe Anaheim, but even so, those teams also have work to do before they can be considered annual elite teams.
Vancouver is an unknown as well....could make big leaps, could stay the same, soft team we've been seeing for a few seasons now.

Seattle and San Jose look like they could be in for some prime rebuild time.

People have written off the Knights before, saying they had their day in the Sun with their magical first season and the two that followed, but McPhee seems to wave a magic wand and produce something people aren't expecting.

Can he do it again, when it seems the odds are tougher than ever for his team to stay afloat?
That should make good spectating in the seasons to come.
 

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5 hours ago, yave1964 said:

A few thoughts on the why's and wherefores.

 

The curse of Nolan Patrick has been passed...

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Well, now for the first time in their five year history, the Knights have missed the playoffs, falling just shy of catching Dallas or Nashville for the final playoff spots.

Yep...McPhee is gonna have to get creative real quick this off season!

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Even with all the injuries, jack's lack of jack, and goalie turmoil, they were knocking on the door of a playoff spot until the very end, but you can't go 0 for 17 in 3 straight SO attempts losing critical points along the way....simply they just blew it down the stretch.

 

 

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Finally that moment had to come, the cinderella story in a unicorn world is over. At some point, costly mistakes had to come up and the first (and biggest) crack came with Fleury sent away. That guy was the face of the franchise, a true leader that had SC rings, a great and valuable experience, a key player in the locker room, someone who bringing everybody together. And that was the strength of the well-known "misfits" in their inception: A solid and tight group.

 

And then other cracks appeared. Bad management decisions, bad trades. I don't mind spending a lot of money to try to make your team better, but then the pressure become higher and at some point they burnt their wings. Nolan, Eichel, Pietrangelo, all debatable acquisitions. Now it will be interesting to see how the Knights will face true adversity for the first time of their history on a sports standpoint, but also out of the team, with the management and the fan base.

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I figured Nolan Patrick's one goal in 2022 would have put him closer in the race with Auston Matthews...but he it will be close.

 

:beer:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Battling for a playoff spot in their 5th season should have been their progression. The expansion draft for them was a joke. Now they will pay for their instant gratification approach.  

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