Vegas Golden Knights Season Review

Courtesy of @PhilliesToday

2018-19 Record (43-32-7) 93 points

Season Recap

The Vegas Golden Knights had a fairly good year placing third in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, getting 93 points on the season. Marc-Andre Fleury got the “Save of the Year” award, and much more. The Golden Knights made the playoffs. In the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they faced the San Jose Sharks and lost in the best-of-seven series in seven games after a very controversial call.

Season MVP: Mark Stone

Embed from Getty Images

Mark Stone was the only Golden Knight to be nominated for an award. He was nominated for the Frank J. Selke award for the Best Defensive Forward. With 122 takeaways, he tied an NHL record for the most takeaways by a forward in one season.

Most Improved: Alex Tuch

Alex Tuch (Courtesy of Dinur Blum @rabbi_d via Flickr)

After only scoring 37 points in 2017-18, Tuch improved immensely in 2018-19. He scored a total of 52 points while playing four fewer games. His plus-minus went up from a plus-3 to plus-13 over the course of the season. Scoring six game-winners for the Golden Knights this year, Alex Tuch showed that he has improved this year.

Disappointment: Malcolm Subban

After coming off a 13-4 season last year, Malcolm Subban’s record dropped down to a whopping 8-10 while allowing five more goals in one less game than last season. His goals-against-average (GAA) increased by 0.25 from 2017-18 to 2018-19. Subban was expected to put up a higher number this season.  

Highlight of the Year

Fleury making a ridiculous save on Claude Giroux that will later win Save of the Year.

Current Depth Chart

According to CapFriendly:

Forwards:

Line 1: Pacioretty-Stastny-Stone

Line 2: Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith

Line 3: Pirri-Eakin-Tuch

Line 4: Carrier-Nosek-Reaves

Defense:

Pair 1: Theodore-Schmidt

Pair 2: McNabb-Holden

Pair 3: Merril-Engelland

Scratched:

Reid Duke, Jake Bischoff

Goalies:

Starter: Fleury

Backup: Subban

Top Five Prospects

#1- Cody Glass (Forward)

Drafted with the sixth selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Glass was the first-ever selection in franchise history. He is expected to play in the NHL next season as a bottom-six forward for the Knights. He was named one of Team Canada’s top three players at the World Juniors this year. With the Portland Winterhawks (WHL), the Chicago Wolves (AHL), and Team Canada (WJC-20), Glass scored 80 points in 49 games. This is an amazing stat line for him, but wait it gets better…Glass scored 102 POINTS IN 64 GAMES! This man is clearly a beast in the WHL/AHL level, let’s see how he can perform in the NHL.

#2- Peyton Krebs (Forward)

Drafted with the 17th pick in the 2019 Draft, Krebs fell due to his Achilles injury. “He’s a 200-foot player”, SinBin.Vegas stated. With the Kootenay Ice in 2018-19, he scored 68 points. With Canada in WJC-18, he got ten points in seven games, for a total of 78 points in 71 games. At first, I marked him as number one, but the injury moved him down to number two.

#3- Zach Whitecloud (Defense)

Signed as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2018, Whitecloud played the entire season with the Chicago Wolves. In 2018-19, he got 28 points in 74 games. In the playoffs, he got 15 points in 22 games. He also had a plus-39 plus-minus rating.

#4- Lukas Elvenes (Forward)

Drafted with the 127th selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, Elvenes is expected to play in the AHL for a few more years. With Rögle BK in the SHL, he got 20 points in 42 games. He played in the Sweden U20 this year.

#5- Isaiah Saville (Goalie)

Drafted with the 135th selection in the 2019 Draft, Saville has already earned a nickname for himself as “The Mayor of Save-Ville”. We are in major need of a backup goalie, and he could be the goalie of the future. Right now he should be expected to compete at the AHL level. Subban is not a trustworthy backup for us.

Players Primed for a Breakout Season 

Shea Theodore

Theodore showcased his Offensive Defenseman ability by getting eight points in seven games against the San Jose Sharks in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 2018-19, he scored 37 points, a career-high in the NHL. Theodore is only 23 years old. There has been a consistent pattern in his plus-minus rating. In 2015-16 his it was a plus-seven, in 2016-17, it went down to a minus-six. In 2017-18 it was a plus-five rating. This year in 2018-19 he got a minus-four, so if this pattern continues, he should have a positive plus-minus rating.

Alex Tuch

Alex Tuch broke out last season scoring 52 points, also earning the Most Improved Award, but trust me, he will be out to prove himself again. Although he won’t be in the best position to prove himself, guess what, he will. The Golden Knights have two of the best right-wingers in the league in Stone and Jonathan Marchessault, it will be difficult to pass by them but he will. Tuch will most likely surpass his rookie numbers this season, if not better. He should be the leader of the third line. The Golden Knights have two really effective lines, so the third line should be able to feast on the weaker teams, effectively getting more points, and making Tuch a breakout player. 

Key Additions/Departures

  • Erik Haula was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Nicolas Roy and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • Colin Miller was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round pick in the 2021 Entry Draft and a fifth-round pick in 2022 Entry Draft
  • Acquired goalie Garret Sparks for David Clarkson and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 Entry Draft
  • Ryan Carpenter signed by the Chicago Blackhawks

Trade Bait

At this point, there are no pieces of trade bait. Our only one was Nikita Gusev but he was traded to the New Jersey Devils.

Offseason Needs

The Golden Knights have been actively shopping for a backup goalie. Marc-Andre Fleury is 34 years old and he might retire soon. Subban was awarded the biggest disappointment award so how are you going to know he is going to be any good this season? We cannot trust him as our starter. It shows after drafting goaltender Saville with the 135th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. We also acquired Sparks from the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it’s clear the Golden Knights are not confident in their backup goaltending.

Trending Up

After re-signing William Karlsson and Stone to long term contracts, the Golden Knights are definitely trending up. I predict them to make it to the Western Conference Finals again.


Jonathan Oderon is a contributor at Overtime Heroics. You can follow him on Twitter @oderon_jonathan

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