After reaching the Stanley Cup Final in season 1, season 2 was almost certainly going to be less successful for the Vegas Golden Knights. And it was. Call it a sophomore slump or just reality setting in, season 3 will be the Knights’ turn to return to the finals.
Notable Players In: Nicolas Roy
First Key Game: October 2nd vs. San Jose Sharks
Odds to win the division
20:21 (1st overall) (via Betway)
Is this a bet worth taking?
Run. Run as fast as you can. This is arguably one of the worst bets you could make. Vegas is going to be good, but you should never bet on Vegas in Vegas. I want to say that the house always wins, but then that would mean that you should place the bet or you shouldn’t? None the less. You will lose money if you place this bet, so don’t do it.
Keys To The Season
Story to watch
With 10 minutes and 47 seconds remaining in Game 7 of the first round, Cody Eakin took a 5 minute penalty. No problem. The Knights are up 3-0 over the San Jose Sharks. Big problem. Over the 5 minute powerplay San Jose scores 4 goals, eventually winning in overtime. And that, unceremoniously, is how the Vegas Golden Knights season ended. Is one really bad penalty kill enough to derail a playoff run? Yes. Clearly. But is it enough to derail a franchise? Well, that’s up to the players to decide. For a team as new as Vegas, they have had almost zero difficulties to over come on the ice. Now that this crew has some adversity to overcome, they’ll have to prove that they have what it takes.
Player to watch
Mark Stone: Vegas made their big free agent splash at the trade deadline, trading for and then subsequently signing Mark Stone to a healthy 8 year, $76 million deal. He then went and scored 5 goals in the remaining 18 games and 6 goals in 7 playoff games. Mark Stone is the real deal and having an entire season of him will certainly be a treat for Vegas fans. Managing to escape the Senators organization, it’s time to see what he can do on a team with really good linemates. It’s a good time to be Mark Stone. Let’s see what he makes of it.
Defensive depth: Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb and Nate Schmidt are a very good front half on defense. Behind them, it gets really thin, really fast. Marc-Andre Fleury can certainly hold his own in net, but with less talent in front of him, he’ll have to be on top of his game. It’s not ideal to put your hopes in the hands of a 34 year old goaltender to bail out your defense, but that’s what Fleury will be called on to do sometimes this season. With a big collection of draft picks still, Vegas would be wise to pick up a defenseman via the trade market at some point this season,
If the Golden Knights were an animal, what would they be?
“Hey Google, what does a shark eat?” Turns out that they eat almost everything in the sea. For the sake of the Knights, let’s hope that they are not a flounder, as that would not be a way to bounce back from a rough playoff exit. A dolphin would put up a very good fight against a Shark. On a scale of flounder to dolphin, the Knights are a tuna. They put up a solid effort, but in the end, they don’t make it out.