Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vegas Golden Knights 2019-20 season preview



      Cap space was a common theme throughout the NHL offseason, but it may have applied to the Golden Knights the most. The Golden Knights had players to sign, including William Karlsson, and they started the offseason over the salary cap. Vegas got through the offseason, but they had to trade some players along the way.

      Additions: Garret Sparks, Jaycob Megna, Patrick Brown, Tyrell Goulbourne,

      Subtractions: Colin Miller, Erik Haula, Nikita Gusev (rights), Ryan Carpenter, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Daniel Carr, Tomas Hyka, Maxime Legace, David Clarkson (contract)

      Forwards
Jonathan Marchessault fell from an amazing first season in Vegas in 2017-18, but he still had a good season. His 25 goals and 59 points lead the Knights. William Karlsson wasn't going to keep up his league high +49 rating and 23.4 shooting percentage, which led to a career high 43 goals. Those numbers came in 2017-18. In 2018-19, he scored 24 goals with 56 points. The Golden Knights made the biggest trade at the trade deadline, acquiring Mark Stone from Ottawa, then extending him to an eight year deal. Stone scored five goals with 11 points in 18 games after the trade, with six goals and 12 points in seven playoff games. Overall in the regular season, Stone's 33 goals and 73 points had him finishing 12th in Hart voting. As a winger, he finished 2nd in Selke voting. Reilly Smith had another solid season, with 19 goals and 53 points. Alex Tuch signed a seven year extension, and followed it up with a 20 goal, 52 point season. Max Pacioretty had a tough first year in Vegas. The five time 30 goal scorer scored 22 goals in 66 games, with 40 points. His -13 rating was the worst on the team. Paul Stastny played in just 50 games, but he still scored 13 goals with 42 points. Cody Eakin had a career high in goals (22), points (41), and plus/minus (+19). Brandon Pirri played in just 31 games, but he still scored 12 goals, for an 82 game pace of 31.75 goals. A known enforcer, Ryan Reaves scored a career high nine goals and 20 points, while racking up 74 penalty minutes. Tomas Nosek and William Carrier compete for the final spot. Both scored eight goals last year. In 68 games, Nosek had nine assists, while Carrier had just one in 54 games. Valentin Zykov scored two goals in 10 games in Vegas.

         Defensemen
Shea Theodore emerged as the top defenseman, with 12 goals and 37 points. However, Nate Schmidt isn't far behind. After returning from a PED suspension, Schmidt had nine goals with 30 points and a +22 rating in 61 games. Brayden McNabb finished with 16 points and a +11 rating. In his first season in Vegas, Nick Holden had 15 points and a +5 rating. Jon Merrill had a career high 15 points and a +16 rating. Deryk Engelland re-signed. He had 12 points in his age 36 season.

         Goalies
Marc-Andre Fleury had a .913 SV% with a 2.51 GAA, and finished 4th in Vezina voting, and received Hart votes as well. Malcolm Subban took a step back. He had a .902 SV% and a 2.93 GAA. Garret Sparks comes from Toronto, where he was the backup last year.

         Deep Depths
Jaycob Megna comes to the Golden Knights after spending three seasons in Anaheim. He had four points in 28 games last year. Curtis McKenzie has 99 games of NHL experience. In 71 AHL games last year, McKenzie scored 20 goals with 112 penalty minutes. Due to many injuries, Patrick Brown played in eight playoff games for the Hurricanes last year despite not playing in any regular season NHL games. In the AHL last year, Tyrell Goulbourne had 135 penalty minutes.

          Up and Coming
Cody Glass has a great chance of making the team. He had 69 points in 38 WHL games. He had 15 points in 22 playoff AHL games. Defenseman Nic Hague had 32 points in 72 AHL games. He could play in an NHL depth role.

          2019 draft class
Round 1, 17th overall: Peyton Krebs
Round 2, 41st overall: Kaedan Korczak
Round 3, 79th overall: Pavel Dorofeyev
Round 3, 86th overall: Layton Ahac
Round 4, 110th overall: Ryder Donovan
Round 5, 135th overall: Isaiah Saville
Round 5, 139th overall: Marcus Kallionkieli
Round 5, 141st overall: Mason Primeau

            Management
Gerard Gallant won the Jack Adams award in 2017-18, but the Golden Knights' winning percentage went down by 98 points. He is definitely not on the hot seat. To avoid Kelly McCrimmon getting a GM gig with another team, the Golden Knights moved McCrimmon to GM, and promoted former GM George McPhee.

           Projected Lineup
Max Pacioretty - Paul Stastny - Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith
Brandon Pirri - Cody Eakin - Alex Tuch
Tomas Nosek - Cody Glass - Ryan Reaves
Extras: William Carrier, Valentin Zykov

           Shea Theodore - Nate Schmidt
           Brayden McNabb - Jon Merill
           Nick Holden - Deryk Engelland
Extras: Jimmy Schuldt, Nic Hague

                        Marc-Andre Fleury
                        Malcolm Subban
Extras: Garret Sparks, Oskar Dansk

             Prediction
The Golden Knights had a rough season last year. But, they are still very talented. They are just a year removed from a Stanley Cup Finals experience, and their entire first line wasn't even on that team. I think the Golden Knights will finish 1st in the Pacific Division, and win the Stanley Cup in 2019-20.

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