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yave1964

No more house money Vegas year end review

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK I think it is safe to say the Knights were the top expansion team in pro sports history making it to the cup finals the year before. Adding Stastny and Max Pacioretty clearly made them a formidable team trying to defend their Western conference crown.

 

FINAL RECORD 43-31-7 93 points 3rd in the Division lost to the Sharks in 7 hard fought games.

 

HIGH POINT OF THE SEASON The trade deadline addition of Mark Stone. Stone was the jewel of the deadline class and he came over at the deadline and immediately signed a long term deal and was not only as good as advertised but better. He ran roughshod over the Knights in the first round and earned every penny of his deal.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR They stumbled hard down the stretch fading badly their 93 points would have missed the playoffs in the East but they made it, they were up three games to one on the Sharks, winning three consecutive games by two or more goals before losing three consecutive games, two in overtimee. Game seven was insane  they held a commanding 3 goal lead late when  Cody Eakin was assessed a five minute major late the Sharks stormed back and beat them in overtime. The bone crushing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory will sting hard all summer.

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT Start with the Stone addition, after missing out on the Dorion fire sale for Karlsson adding Stone proved to be a perfect addition as he fired up the offense and fits right in the teams 200 foot game way of playing. Marchessault led the team in scoring and in goals and had a solid year. Karlsson and Reilly Smith were not as strong as the year before offensively but both were while not great were both very good. Stastny missed 32 games but was nearly a point a game producer when on the ice. Tuch and Eakin both netted 20 goals in secondary roles and worked up and down the lineup filling in admirably for injuries. Ryan Reaves was arguably the games top enforcer, he didn't even come close to 100 PIMs but he hit everything and proved he is a real hockey player.Fleury faded a bit late but still managed 35 wins and 8 shutouts. Defense was led by the underrated Shea Theodore who was brilliant all year and Schmidt who was dominating after returning from a 20 game suspension. Colin Miller is one of the games top P/K killers on the back end and added a bit of offense as well.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Schmidt was suspended for violating the leagues drug policy for 20 games. Stastny missed 32 games. the biggest disappointment was Max Pax who did nothing early missed 16 games to injury and it wasn't until the addition of Stone as a linemate that his offense finally came alive. Karlsson went from over 40 goals to 24. Erik Haula missed almost the entire season.

 

FREE AGENTS Cap issues are going to be a problem moving forward and some decisions will have to be made. Pirri provided a shot in the arm offensively several times during the year but may move on as he does not play two way hockey, Engelland is the local boy and the other UFA and wants to return. Karlsson is a RFA and in line for a nice payday although it may squeeze out a Eakin or Tuch to do so. Next offseason is looking like a nightmare as Holden, Nerrill, Eakin, Tuch and Reaves are all free agents, none are stars but all are vital. 

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS Do the scars of a brutal playoff loss carry over? Do they have room to make any moves or was Stone essentially their offseason addition? Can they add to a defense that after Theodore and Schmidt is very ordinary? This is a well built team without a ton of ego getting in the way but salary concerns are going to become an issue very soon.

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As long as Marc Andre Fluery is the starting goaltender this team will have trouble getting out of the first round of the playoffs! No matter what they do with the rest of the team! Make him a backup they may go farther than the first round. Hopefully,for Vegas sake,they have a goalie that could play well. (Somewhat like Matt Murray his first couple of years.)

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Boy, $7.5M over the cap. And a number of players still to sign...

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@IllaZilla

 

They will LTIR Clarkson freeing up a goodly portion of that before opening day which will help them, and rumor is they are looking for someone, ANYONE willing to take decent defenseman Colin Miller off their hands to get compliant. anyway you look at it they are up against the ceiling now like pretty much everyone else.....

 

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