Story of Vegas Golden Knights gets more and more surreal
January 02, 2018 5:26 PM
by Alan Berg
The story of the Vegas Golden Knights gets more and more surreal. First it was in a playoff spot for months, then it was leading the Pacific Division, and now first place in the Western Conference going into 2018.
Entering Tuesday’s game vs. the Nashville Predators at T-Mobile Arena the Knights have won an expansion record seven straight. Among those victories – note the list of quality teams – Penguins, Panthers, Lightning, Capitals, Ducks, Kings and Maple Leafs. That’s the two leading point teams in the East, the defending Stanley Cup Champions and two division road wins. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a contender.
It will be very interesting to see what GM George McPhee decides to do with this roster. Currently James Neal, David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault are all unrestricted free agents after this season. Plus William Karlsson and Shea Theodore are of the restricted variety. Will he start extending these guys or will he deal them for the assets he likely intended when he built this team?
It’s going to be an interesting time for Golden Knights fans. I think he at least makes one big trade to capitalize on the value trading one or two of these guys would bring, thus, adding even more future firepower to an already stacked cabinet of draft picks and young players. Hopefully he doesn’t tinker with this chemistry too much.
Speaking of chemistry, the second line of the Golden Knights has been outstanding. Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Marchessault combined have 99 points, more than the top line of Neal, Perron and Erik Haula, who have been great as well with 83.
Karlsson was named the second star of the week in the entire NHL, totalling four goals, one assist his last three games. He has a 12-game point streak and ranks sixth in the NHL in goals with 20.
The amazing thing about Karlsson’s season is he has more goals near the halfway mark of the season than he scored in two seasons with Columbus – nine in 2015-16, six in 2016-17. Clearly Vegas has worked out well for the fifth year player.
Vegas at St. Louis
PROJECTED LINE: KNIGHTS +140, BLUES -160
Lately the Blues have struggled, dropping seven of 10 games, while the Knights prior to the Nashville game were 9-0-1. Still, St. Louis should be respected as they have been a perennial playoff team.
With that said the Knights are rolling at a level I think it’s hard for anyone to deal with. If you actually see a number this high off a win over Nashville it’s a must play. If they lost to Nashville it’s still a lean for me. KNIGHTS
Vegas at Chicago
PROJECTED LINE: KNIGHTS +145, BLACKHAWKS -165
The Blackhawks rolled into T-Mobile Arena back in October and there was talk around the city that, ok, now here is a team the Knights can’t beat. However, just like everyone else, minus the Red Wings, down went Chicago.
Coming off the game the previous night and the Predators game, this is the one I think the Knights fall to the home team. BLACKHAWKS -1.5
NY Rangers at Vegas
PROJECTED LINE: RANGERS +150, KNIGHTS -170
The Knights head back to the Castle, coming off a two-game road trip. The Rangers sit in the playoffs starting the week but have been awful on the road at 5-7-2.
While I think it’s likely Vegas is the right side here with the situation, I look more at the total as I expect a large amount of shots and some early pucks in the net. OVER