Three Things About The Opposition
This season we figured we’d reach out to our friends in the Pacific Division and ask them to tell you and us three things about their team for the upcoming season. It could be any three things, but we wanted them to inform you about the Flames biggest rivals in the NHL.
It’s time to learn a little bit about the Vegas Golden Knights as the 2019-20 season approaches. Danny Webster (@KnightsOnIce) from Knights On Ice gives us the lowdown on what to expect from Sin City.
1. The Golden Knights failed this offseason. That doesn’t mean they won’t be contending for the Stanley Cup. Vegas accomplished one of its top goals in re-signing William Karlsson to an eight-year contract, but failed in coming to terms with Nikita Gusev and traded him to the New Jersey Devils for a couple of draft picks that likely won’t result in much. The top questions surrounding the Golden Knights with opening day looming is who plays on the third line with Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch (likely Valentin Zykov) and who plays on the blue line (rookie Nic Hague could make the jump barring crazy circumstances). While there are some holes, there’s no doubt this team is a Cup contender.
2. The reason why Vegas is a Cup contender is because of its top six. The new makeshift top line of Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny and Mark Stone lit the world on fire with their play in the first round against San Jose. That took a ton of the pressure off the former top line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith. All things expected, the Stastny line should be the top line this season with Karlsson’s line following suit. It’s hard to find many top sixes that can rival Vegas and a full year together provides endless possibilities.
3. Marc-Andre Fleury is still the backbone of this organization three years in. He’s made timely gargantuan saves when needed, and has also been reliable when in need of a victory. But he does turn 35 years old in November, and it would be beneficial to get him some rest every now and then, especially on back-to-backs. Malcolm Subban is the backup for now, but this might be his last season to prove worthy of such a role. He needs to be better when given the chance, which is why Fleury played so much last year. Nevertheless, Fleury is one of the best in the game and continues to be stellar in the crease. Strong goaltending, coupled with a full year of Stone, gives Vegas elements they didn’t have in the first two years even as one of the best teams in the league.