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yave1964

Knights year in review

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK Far and away the best opening two years in pro sports history for an expansion team, a SCF appearance followed by a great regular season in year two before bowing out ungracefully to the Sharks in last years playoffs. It was universally thought that the Cali clubs would be collectively down, the Canadian teams all had glaring holes so the Knights looked to be the best bet to come out of the Pacific this year.

 

FINAL RECORD 39-24-8 first place in the Pacific, Breezed past the Hawks in five games, survived a surprising scare from a young hungry Canucks squad in seven before limping out of the playoffs, bested in five games by the Stars.

 

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR 11 goals in their last 8 playoff games as the offense completely dried up, this was the least amount of goals scored by the knights in an eight game period in franchise history. In three years, the worst stretch previous was 18 goals in 8 games to start the 2018-19 season. The worst dry spell in this past season was 21 goals in 8 games From January 7th thru January 31st. Essentially, the late postseason offseason offensive collapse was a collapse of biblical proportion.

 

HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR Winning the division was a big one, and they pulled away in February with an eight game winning streak, and it wasnt beating up on the weak teams, the 8 game streak was against teams like the Blues, Capitals, Lightning, Islanders and Oilers, outscoring opponents in that 8 game streak 33-20. At that point they more or less had the Division wrapped up.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR The epic offensive collapse which nearly cost them the Canuck series (if not for a clutch 1-0 win by Lehner in game seven) and forced them to bow out in easy fashion to the Stars. Regular season low point would have been the first two months in which they seemed to be sleepwalking, suffering from two consecutive deep playoff runs, by late November they had been winning a couple, losing a few, and on November 25th when they lost to the Stars 4-2 they were 11-11-4. That or the unceremonious firing of Gallant on January 16th after a win over Ottawa as they sat at 25-19-6.

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT Shea Theodore followed a very solid regular season with a coming out party in the playoffs establishing himself as a force on the back end. Pacioretty and Stone were near a point a game in the regular season. Reilly Smith and Marchessault were their usual brilliant two way players. Karlsson and Stastny both had moments as solid centers. Nate Schmidt was damn solid as a number two on defense. Chandler Stephenson was a nice surprise on the third line. Ryan Reaves was the games toughest player. Fleury was very good, NOT great but very good in the regular season. Late season add Robin Lehner was near brilliant in the postseason. Alec Martinez was another great add who shored up the back end just in time for the playoffs.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Lets start with the kids, look i am incredibly high on cody Glass and this team desperately needs a 1C, i thought he would have a real shot at the Calder but he flamed out badly in his first chance even being sent to the minors. Hague was given a regular shift on the back end and did nothing with it forcing them to add Martinez. Zach Whitecloud was another handed regular ice time who fumbled it away. In short, the kids didnt do zip. Now back to Stastny and Karlsson who were both good solid middle six centers forced to punch above their weight class as the team has no true number one center. Pirri came from nowhere in 2018-19 with 22 goals, he returned to nwhere this year when he scored zero in 16 games. Alex Tuch was okay but more was expected. The fact that this team still gives regular ice time to expansion fodder Merrill, Holden and Engelland on the back end and Roy and Nosek on the front end shows they are a very top heavy squad. Fleury, again, was good in the regular season but is showing cracks. In my opinion they were outcoached pretty much throughout the postseason as Deboar refused to adjust lines/assignments as the team collapsed.

 

FREE AGENTS Robin Lehner is the big question, he was brilliant in the postseason but Fleury has another year at 7 million on his deal. Original Knights Merrill, Nosek and Vegas citizen Engelland are all free agents who likely wont return.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS Do you sign Lehner long term and keep Fleury? Can you trade Fleury? Can the kids play or were they overhyped? Can Glass be the 1C they desperately need or is he not ready?  

  They are  still a top team in the West and a force. 

 

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As always, Yave, in depth and interesting takes.

I think this team will be fine in the next couple years.
Can still be contenders for not only the playoffs, but even continue to make runs at the Stanley Cup.

As you pointed out already, some questions will need to be addressed and I agree the biggest one has to be in goal.
Seems the relationship between MAF and the head coach is soured a bit......and having a 7M cap hit malcontent on the bench isn't ideal.

I'd say, if they can sign Lehner to a deal....maybe something in the 4 to 5 year range, and it is reasonable, that could solve that and MAF may asked to be traded to a team that would instill him as the #1 again.

As for top line C.....what team DOESN'T want a top line C?
With the way the Knights play, I'd say it isn't as essential for them, although one could easily argue that if they DID have one, perhaps they'd be champs by now instead of perennial runners up or near runners up.

Wild Bill Karlsson not a number one?
He might still be. His disappearances at times doesn't support that argument though, I get that much.

Maybe he buys a little TOO much into the whole team philosophy? Meaning, "Hey, well, if I don't do well, someone else will".
Instead of the usual alpha center mindset of "I want to be the guy...all the time...carry this team on my back...I will lead them to a title!" that most 1C's have.

Defensively, I think the team is solid there too, especially with the seemingly coming out finally, of one Shea Theodore.
I would say though, maybe the Knights should be looking around for another defenseman with some offensive capabilities.
Everyone outside of Theodore looks mostly of the middling or defense first types.
Nate Schmidt has nice wheels, but I don't consider him to be an offensive first type.....more like a do-a-bit-of-everything type.

Kevin Shattenkirk's contract will be up with the Bolts. Assuming they don't re-sign him (if he is looking for a big number, they probably won't), he might fit in well in Vegas' scheme and help take some of the offensive load from Shea Theodore.

Let's face it...if Vegas really needs some more scoring from say, a would be 1C and don't have it yet.....then the next best thing would be for the forward lines to keep playing like they do, and then the team could get goals from the blue line to help supplement that.
Right now, with just Theodore as the main threat from there, that would be difficult.

Shattenkirk, a Tony DeAngelo (he is rumored to be on the trade block from the Rangers), maybe a Mat Dumba from the Wild (there were some rumblings he may get dealt) or a Shayne Gostisbehere from Philadelphia would help Theodore and the Knights generate more offense from the blue line.

Come next season though, I fully expect Las Vegas to be in the playoff mix once again though.
GM George McPhee has done an outstanding job with this new franchise since day 1 and basically set them up to be good for quite a number of seasons.
Granted, the new NHL expansion rules helped him tremendously, but still, kudos to him for taking full advantage of each and every opportunity afforded to him as the GM of a new team entering the league.

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@TropicalFruitGirl26

 

Agreed the Knights are absolutely among the cream of the west, the Pacific is essentially them and then everyone else (although Edmonton/calgary have to be considered) so when you know that worst case scenario unless everything in the world goes bad you are at the worst in the top three of your division and therefor a lock for the playoffs, it is a matter of tweaking it to try to find the next level.

 

  Fleury could probably be dealt to a team who believes they are a goaltender away from being a real cup contender, Colorado comes to mind but no way do the Knights deal him in the West. Carolina? Washington is losing Holtby, Samsonov will get the bulk of the starts and is on a cheap ELC, how funny would it be if he were dealt to the Caps and they knocked the Pens out of a playoff spot, lol. Of course, who knows if MAF would even accept a trade. And this is a deep UFA goalie class and next years is even deeper.

 

  I would have to rank the Knights in the top two or three teams in the West, nothing in the fade that occured changes my mind about that.

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26 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

@TropicalFruitGirl26

 

Agreed the Knights are absolutely among the cream of the west, the Pacific is essentially them and then everyone else (although Edmonton/calgary have to be considered) so when you know that worst case scenario unless everything in the world goes bad you are at the worst in the top three of your division and therefor a lock for the playoffs, it is a matter of tweaking it to try to find the next level.

 

  Fleury could probably be dealt to a team who believes they are a goaltender away from being a real cup contender, Colorado comes to mind but no way do the Knights deal him in the West. Carolina? Washington is losing Holtby, Samsonov will get the bulk of the starts and is on a cheap ELC, how funny would it be if he were dealt to the Caps and they knocked the Pens out of a playoff spot, lol. Of course, who knows if MAF would even accept a trade. And this is a deep UFA goalie class and next years is even deeper.

 

  I would have to rank the Knights in the top two or three teams in the West, nothing in the fade that occured changes my mind about that.

I think the Knights have to get a little faster defensively, and up front. The problem is, I don't think they have the caproom at the moment. They will still likely be in one of the top 3 spots in the West, though, even if they don't add to their roster.

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5 minutes ago, FD19372 said:

I think the Knights have to get a little faster defensively, and up front. The problem is, I don't think they have the caproom at the moment. They will still likely be in one of the top 3 spots in the West, though, even if they don't add to their roster.

 

Looking over at capfriendly, seems the Knights have a bit of wiggle room....almost 5M in space.
Now, if they plan on signing Lehner, that 5M may have to go to him....which means they will have to move a player or two to be able to possibly re-sign guys like Nick Cousins or a Tomas Nosek......or just let those guys walk while pursuing someone else instead.

You are right...they would have to be mindful of their cap space, but seems George McPhee is usually ahead of the game when it comes to that sort of thing.
If Lehner really will be chosen as the number one, MAF definitely will want out and the Knights can utilize his modified NTC to facilitate a deal that would free up 7M for Vegas.

Also, a guy like Ryan Reaves, fresh off his playoff hype, can be moved to a team that would like a tough bottom six winger at just under 2M, so that can free up more space and possibly a roster spot if the Knights accept a late round pick for him instead of a player.

If Vegas sees a defenseman they want to add, but are short on roster spots, they could also move guys like McNabb or Nick Holden, both of which could be desirable for teams looking for a bottom pair big hitter (McNabb) or a decently defensive player with a bit of offensive skill for their 2nd or 3rd pair (Holden).
Combined, those guys carry a cap hit just over the 4M mark, so again, more room there that can be freed up.

If McPhee has taught us anything by now, is that he is always thinking. I trust he will have this team ready to make another run...maybe a bit faster like you suggested, come the new season.

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      PRESEASON OUTLOOK Far and away the best opening two years in pro sports history for an expansion team, a SCF appearance followed by a great regular season in year two before bowing out ungracefully to the Sharks in last years playoffs. It was universally thought that the Cali clubs would be collectively down, the Canadian teams all had glaring holes so the Knights looked to be the best bet to come out of the Pacific this year.   FINAL RECORD 39-24-8 first place in the Pacific, Breezed
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      As always, Yave, in depth and interesting takes. I think this team will be fine in the next couple years. Can still be contenders for not only the playoffs, but even continue to make runs at the Stanley Cup. As you pointed out already, some questions will need to be addressed and I agree the biggest one has to be in goal. Seems the relationship between MAF and the head coach is soured a bit......and having a 7M cap hit malcontent on the bench isn't ideal. I'd say, if they can sign L
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      @TropicalFruitGirl26   Agreed the Knights are absolutely among the cream of the west, the Pacific is essentially them and then everyone else (although Edmonton/calgary have to be considered) so when you know that worst case scenario unless everything in the world goes bad you are at the worst in the top three of your division and therefor a lock for the playoffs, it is a matter of tweaking it to try to find the next level.     Fleury could probably be dealt to a team who beli
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      I think the Knights have to get a little faster defensively, and up front. The problem is, I don't think they have the caproom at the moment. They will still likely be in one of the top 3 spots in the West, though, even if they don't add to their roster.
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      Looking over at capfriendly, seems the Knights have a bit of wiggle room....almost 5M in space. Now, if they plan on signing Lehner, that 5M may have to go to him....which means they will have to move a player or two to be able to possibly re-sign guys like Nick Cousins or a Tomas Nosek......or just let those guys walk while pursuing someone else instead. You are right...they would have to be mindful of their cap space, but seems George McPhee is usually ahead of the game when it comes to t

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