Connect with us

Golden Knights Analysis

IF the Golden Knights Make It Into the Playoffs Will It Be Worth It?

Published

on

Brett Howden and Cale Makar Vegas Golden Knights Colorado Avalanche (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via NHL.com)

The Stanley Cup Playoffs bring out the best and most unpredictable hockey from the 16 teams that make it to the postseason and that’s why we love them so much. The focus right now for the Vegas Golden Knights is simply making them for the fifth-straight season.

Things are looking up after an overtime win against the Washington Capitals and the Dallas Stars losing to the Calgary Flames. Here are the updated Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoff odds.

But looking ahead a tad bit if the Golden Knights are able to make it into the playoffs can they do damage? The two routes we have been hypothesizing over the last few weeks for the Golden Knights to sneak into the playoffs would be the second Wild Card spot in the West or third in the Pacific Division.

With the Calgary Flames clinching the Pacific Division on Thursday night, we now have a good understanding of what some of the playoff matchups will be like in the West.

The Colorado Avalanche have clinched first in the Western Conference and will play whoever the second Wild Card team will be. The Edmonton Oilers are more or less guaranteed to remain second in the Pacific Division as they have two games at hand on the Los Angeles Kings who are third.

So with these three teams in mind, let’s do a quick premature playoff preview for the Golden Knights, assuming they do end up making it to the dance. Can this team go on a run?

Experience and Intangibles

It’s worth noting that the Golden Knights have three active Stanley Cup Champions on their roster Chandler Stephenson, Alex Pietrangelo, and Alec Martinez. Both Pietrangelo and Martinez know a thing or two about sneaking into the playoffs and going on a run.

The 2019 St. Louis Blues, led by captain Pietrangelo, were in last place in the standings in January but rallied to make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. Martinez and the 2012 Kings were the last-seeded team in the Western Conference but went on a run thanks to Jonathan Quick and won the Stanley Cup as well.

But on the opposite side of the spectrum, the Golden Knights have two very important members of their team that have literally no playoff experience. The first is Jack Eichel, whose six years in Buffalo got him nowhere close to the playoffs. We all know how crucial his play could be in a potential cup run.

The second is Logan Thompson, who may end up being the Golden Knight’s starter if they are able to sneak into the playoffs. The debate over whether or not Thompson should play over Robin Lehner is ongoing. But Thompson has proven to be a solid and reliable young goaltender for the VGK and his workload would greatly increase if he ends up getting the call in the playoffs.

Reinforcements

Another thing working in the favor of the Golden Knights if they make the playoffs will be the players that can return from injury. It’s no secret that the Golden Knights have seven players on LTIR for the purpose of salary cap management. But once the playoffs start Kelly McCrimmon can take a huge sigh of relief and activate some of his players that are ready.

Head coach Peter DeBoer has confirmed that Reilly Smith will be available if the Golden Knights make the playoffs, so already that is a huge addition to the team. Then you have guys like Nolan Patrick, William Carrier, Brett Howden, Nicolas Hague, and Laurent Brossoit all potentially available.

Perhaps, if the Golden Knights do make the playoffs, we can finally see what this team can do at full strength.

2nd Wild Card- Colorado Avalanche

Let’s switch gears now and delve into the potential playoff matchups if the Golden Knight do sneak in. I won’t go into too much detail here just yet as these series are not confirmed.

The Colorado Avalanche are a complete wagon and arguably the best team in the NHL. This team has been waiting for the postseason since the start of their schedule. The pressure is on for this core to win a Stanley Cup and 2022 might be the year they end up doing so.

They have a goal differential of +83, seven players with 50+ points, three players with 30+ goals, and Nathan Mackinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, and Cale Makar all on their team.

I do not see any scenario in which the Golden Knights make it out alive against this powerhouse team.

“If you are a Wild Card team I sure as hell would not want to play Colorado in the first round, because it’s gonna be a waste of eight days,”- March 15th quote from Darryl Sutter- Calgary Flames head coach.

3rd Pacific- Edmonton Oilers

A first-round matchup against the Avalanche is currently the most likely scenario for the Golden Knights if they do squeeze into the postseason. But if the Los Angeles Kings fall out of the Pacific, the VGK could be up against the Edmonton Oilers. This is a series that could go end up going the Golden Knight’s way.

Obviously, you have the threat of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to worry about but even with some improvements this season, the Oilers remain a top-heavy team. Goaltending is also sketchy for the Oil as Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen either underperform or become brick walls.

Oh, and another playoff series against Evander Kane is well… I’ll let you decide what that could mean.

Panties in Bunch

Of course, this article could be outdated soon if the Golden Knights end up missing out on the playoffs. They still have a lot of work to do to make it to the dance. Four games remain on the schedule for the VGK. They will play their final regular-season home game Sunday at 7:00 pm against the San Jose Sharks. Then, they take on the Stars Tuesday in a game that will likely decide the fate of the team’s season.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get VHN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

VHN on Facebook

Vegas Team & Cap Info

Get VHN in your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.