2019-20 Vegas Golden Knights Need to Improve Their Play

2019-20 Vegas Golden Knights
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After two successful seasons under their belts, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are not doing that well this 2019-20 season. While they have earned 25 points in 26 games, they sit tied for fifth in the Pacific Division with the Calgary Flames and just one point ahead of theĀ Anaheim Ducks.

2019-20 Vegas Golden Knights Level of Play

Granted this was an expansion team and they did go to the Stanley Cup Final in their initial season, so expectations have been set to a lofty level of performance. When you begin to evaluate their statistics this season, you’d think they would be higher in the standings. They rank ninth in power-play efficiency (21.7%) and seventh (84.1%) in penalty killing. Yet, they have scored 77 goals while allowing 77 on defence.

Last season after 26 games the Vegas Golden Knights had 27 points with a 13-12-1 record. So, it seems that their level of play has not progressed. In their last 10 games, things haven’t gone too well for the Sin City club. They have just a 2-6-2 record and must play the next four of five games away from T-Mobile Arena. That will include an East Coast jaunt to visit the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and the hot New York Islanders.

What Can Help the Golden Knights

It seems as though they don’t have a right-shooting defenceman except for Deryk Engelland who may call it quits after this season. They could use someone like Alex Pietrangelo to give them the bump they need. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and is earning a hefty cap hit of $6.5 million. The Vegas Golden Knights will have just over $15 million in cap space next season.

Now, there will be teams lining up to sign Pietrangelo if he does go to free agency. And don’t think that the St. Louis Blues will give him up easily. He is playing very well this season and the 30-year-old rearguard will be a hot commodity if he decided to test the market. At 6’3″, 210 pounds he can do it all. He plays on the power play as well as the penalty kill units and the Golden Knights could use a player with his talents.

Pietrangelo has six goals, 13 assists in 25 games this season and has 0.76 points per game. If he continues at that pace he will accumulate about 62 points. Now that would certainly elevate the Vegas Golden Knights chances of going back to the Stanley Cup Final again.

What the Future Holds

If the Golden Knights wish to be in the hunt for even a playoff spot they need to start playing better. Right now, things seem to be in a funk. They still have one of the best, if not the best goalie in the NHL in Marc-Andre Fleury. He still is doing his thing with a 19-11-6 record. He carries a .919 save percentage to go along with a 2.54 goals-against average. It certainly would help Fleury if Pietrangelo was added to the defence, making his job a bit easier.

The Golden Knights need to go on a winning streak and things will be fine. With their current schedule that may not be too feasible. What needs to also be addressed is their inability to win close games. In one-goal games, they are a dismal 3-8. Throughout the entire season last year they were a more respectable 17-15 in close games.

The team is very talented offensively with players like William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, and Mark Stone leading the way. They must tighten up defensively and learn to finish off close games to fight in the competitive Pacific Division.

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