Of course, the Vegas Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season of existence in 2017-18, losing to the Washington Capitals. Could the Knights go all the way this season – if the NHL actually does stage a postseason? Let’s take a closer look at their season along with NHL Odds and Stanley Cup Odds.
Vegas Golden Knights 2020 NHL Season Analysis
When the NHL suspended its season, Vegas led the Pacific Division with 86 points, three ahead of Calgary and eight back of St. Louis for home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
The Knights were playing great hockey, having won 11 of their final 13. They were 3-2 overtime winners in Edmonton in their last game on March 9. Shea Theodore scored 2:13 into overtime to win it. Theodore picked the top corner off a feed from Jonathan Marchessault, who scored the tying goal with eight minutes left in the third period. Since the Golden Knights debuted, they’ve never had a true, elite No. 1 defenseman. Theodore — who leads the team in ice time and has 46 points — is coming close to that status this year.
The Knights’ season turned around when they fired coach Gerard Gallant and replaced him with Peter DeBoer. DeBoer himself was fired earlier this year by the San Jose Sharks. Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon, while thanking Gallant for the “real special moments” by the franchise, said he believed the team has underperformed this season. When Gallant was canned, the Knights were 24-19-6 in 49 games. Their .551 points percentage ranked them ninth in the conference.
“It’s just the feeling that you have that a change might be needed,” he said in a news conference. “I wish I could be more specific than that, but that’s really how we felt. We thought about this a lot. It certainly wasn’t something that we did in haste.”
DeBoer has led both the Panthers and Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with both, but lost both times.
There’s a chance that blueliner Deryk Engelland’s playing career may be over if the remainder of the NHL season is canceled. Vegas has six defenseman under contract for the 2020-21 season. That doesn’t include Nicolas Hague, Jimmy Schuldt, Dylan Coghlan, Kaedan Korczak and Jake Bischoff who will be competing for spots at training camp.
Engelland can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. He has lived in Las Vegas for more than 15 years and may not want to go to another city after spending three seasons with the Golden Knights. Engelland played in just five of 22 games since DeBoer took over behind the bench.
When the season was stopped, Vegas had just lost winger Max Pacioretty for a week or two due to a lower-body injury. Vegas already had a slew of injured forwards before Pacioretty sustained the injury. Pacioretty has scored 32 goals and 66 points through 71 games this season. He led the team in points, goals, power play goals (8), power play points (19) and shots (307). Pacioretty was averaging 17:55 minutes of total ice time per night with 90 hits, 35 blocked shots and 32 takeaways.
Fellow winger Mark Stone hadn’t played since Feb. 26 due to a lower-body injury but was expected back at some point in the regular season.
Vegas Golden Knights odds to win Stanley Cup
Vegas is +650 Odds to win the Stanley Cup in just its third season of existence.