What Needs To Go Right For The Vegas Golden Knights After The Break

One team that is looking forward to the break is the 2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights. This is a team that once had a cushion with the division lead, and now it’s anybody for the crown. With a bit of a slump and injuries piling up, this team needs to hit the reset button and regroup.

What Needs To Go Right For The Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights are by no means a bad hockey team. They are well-coached, have depth, and have a core group that is hungry to win. After a stellar start to the year, things have not gone their way. In an 82-game season, things are bound to go negatively because that’s just life and in the hockey world. In addition, Vegas lost its final four games before the break, all on the road. They got outscored 13-5 and are searching for answers. In order to right the ship, here are some things the team needs to do going forward.

Getting Healthy

As we saw last season, injuries were piling up for the Vegas Golden Knights. Due to that, they missed the playoffs. Despite them being in playoff position, the injury bug is back and in full force. However, players have made their way back to the ice, but two key players remain out. Zach Whitecloud and Mark Stone both remain out through the break, and their timetable to return is to be determined.

Whitecloud is a solid shutdown defenseman. He has primarily been paired with Nicolas Hague, and together have formed a solid third pair. Stone is a huge boost and his impact is missing from the lineup. The line of him, Jack Eichel, and Chandler Stephenson is one of the best in hockey. They have the 12th-best expected goals for (61.2%), and they have a team lead of 18 goals as a line. Getting him back and healthy impacts the lineup. But aside from them returning, health is key the rest of the way for everyone.

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Special Teams Play

The 2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights are one of the better 5v5 teams in the league. They have a team Corsi For of 49.55% but rank sixth in expected goals percentage (53.65%). This demonstrates that when they are possessing the puck, good chances are happening. But one area that could help them is special teams, especially the power play.

In the month of January, the team had 22 power play opportunities, but only scored three goals. That simply won’t cut it, especially when the games begin getting more meaningful. They’ve generated the 8th fewest high-danger chances for (19) with 12 getting on goal. The team is 18th in power-play goals, and given the firepower on this team, it is an area that can do serious damage down the stretch.

Winning On Home Ice

This was an area in need of improvement, but the Vegas Golden Knights need to start winning on home ice. With the possibility of having a home-ice advantage for the playoffs, being able to win in your own barn is crucial to success. Currently, they are 14-13-0 on home ice and that is not striking fear into any opponent who makes their way to the Sin City.

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Making A Trade

The Vegas Golden Knights do not need to do anything drastic, but any decision from up top hinges on the health of Mark Stone. But given the roster construction of this team, the biggest weakness is on the wings. Vegas could use another high-impact winger. Not a knock of Paul Cotter or Michael Amadio as they are great depth players, but they could use another top-six winger. Vegas has $3 million to work with as the deadline approaches. However, once Whitecloud is activated from the injured reserve, the space dwindles to nothing.

They will have to get creative, but if Stone is out long-term, the team can pivot to some attractive names that are on the market. Getting someone to play with Jack Eichel is crucial to their offensive success as well as his.

Final Thoughts

The Vegas Golden Knights are a very good hockey team. They are in a position to make the playoffs and go on a deep run. There are things they need to work on, but so does every other team. The break came at the right time and this team can clear their heads, hit the reset button, and get to work. It will be exciting to see how they play right out of the gate.

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