"The VGK brass might not have set the world on fire with offseason acquisitions, but they are most certainly banking on a supremely talented nucleus keeping them in the hunt for the Stanley Cup for years to come."

— Marc Scott, Executive Officer

VGK Offseason Review

Ostensibly, the Vegas Golden Knights’ season ended with a Cody Eakin penalty. More succinctly, it ended with one of the most controversial major penalties ever called in NHL history. VGK was up against their rivals, the San Jose Sharks, 3-0 in the 3rd period and they looked to be cruising easily in a game 7 that would have sent them to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Instead, Sharks’ center Joe Pavelski put forth an Oscar-worthy performance after taking a hit from Eakin off a faceoff that at first glance looked egregious. Instead it turned out to be an egregious flop that conned the refs into calling a 5-minute major that would actually have the NHL issuing an official apology to the Golden Knights after the league reviewed it. Now, it can be argued that all-everything goalie extraordinaire Marc-Andre Fleury shouldn’t have given up 4 unanswered goals after that, but that’s another article for another day. Whatever the case may be, VGK ended up losing the game and series in overtime.

Fast forward to the offseason, and the number one priority for General Manager George McPhee was to get Vegas under the salary cap. That didn’t stop them from extending Wild Bill Karlsson a very friendly deal of 8 years at $5.9 million per year. Karlsson has become a bonafide star in Las Vegas and they rewarded the young phenom’s 24 goals and 32 assists with the assurance that he’ll spend his prime years playing hockey at T-Mobile Arena.

While keeping William Karlsson was certainly good news, the one move that had fans in an uproar was trading away Nikita Gusev. The VGK faithful barely got a glimpse of the former Kontinental Hockey League MVP and goal-scoring aficionado before he was unceremoniously shipped off to the New Jersey Devils for a less-than-impressive collection of draft picks. Some thought the 27-year-old from Moscow was a superstar in the making so losing him with such porous compensation stung.

The other three signings of note for VGK started with the inking of Deryk Engelland to a one year extension. The 37-year-old defenseman and longtime Las Vegas resident has had a nice run with the Knights and is a fan favorite. Backup goalie Malcolm Subban also re-signed with the club and he’s been a solid option behind Fleury, particularly in shootout situations. He is also on a one year deal. Lastly, journeyman skater Brandon Pirri was at times instant offense for VGK. He scored 12 goals and handed out 6 assists for the season. The Knights played musical chairs with him a bit, sending him down to their affiliate the Chicago Wolves quite often, but they rewarded Pirri with a 2-year deal for his troubles.

The VGK brass might not have set the world on fire with offseason acquisitions, but they are most certainly banking on a supremely talented nucleus keeping them in the hunt for the Stanley Cup for years to come. Their first line is absolutely loaded with Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and Paul Stastny. Their 2nd line is almost as good, with Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault. They’ve also got the toughest goon in the business, Ryan Reaves, on their side and skilled skaters in their own right, Alex Tuch and William Carrier.

VGK Offseason Review

The Fortress and the Drumbots will be expected to rock to playoff hockey for the 2019-20 campaign. That’s what happens when you make a Cup final and the first round in back-to-back years of your inaugural run and 2nd season. The puck drops September 15th for the Golden Knights’ preseason opener against the Arizona Coyotes. Regular season hockey gets underway as they welcome the hated Sharks to T-Mobile on October 2nd. From there, we’ll see just how good this team can be.