One last New Years' post before we take the Christmas Tree down and focus more on 2023.
The Vegas Golden Knights had a strange 2022 calendar year. Here are the top-five surprising stories from the year.
5) Golden Knights Make a Coaching Change
On May 16, the Golden Knights fired head coach Peter DeBoer after three years with the organization. The Golden Knights falilture to make the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs was a main catalyst on the decision. A lot was out of his control in terms of injuries, other teams performing well, and pure luck, but there were also areas in which DeBoer perhaps could have been better. He has since moved on to become the head coach of the Dallas Stars.
On June 14, the Golden Knights hired new head coach Bruce Cassidy, who is off to a 26-12-2 start with the VGK.
The firing of DeBoer was a bit shocking, but this past offseason also saw the likes of Cassidy, Jim Montgomery, and Barry Trotz fired as well.
4) Robin Lehner Out For The Season
On August 11, it was revealed that Golden Knights starting goaltender Robin Lehner would miss the entire 2022-23 season with a hip injury. This was, and still is extremely unfortunate news for Lehner, who was supposed to take the reigns as the starter from Marc-Andre Fleury.
There were several hints last season that suggested Lehner was playing through an injury, and it looks like it was a significant one.
The VGK's current goaltending duo of Logan Thompson and Adin Hill have held down the fort well, with Laurent Brossoit sitting in the minors.
3) Evgenii Dadonov Trade Void
It made sense for the Golden Knights to trade forward Evgenii Dadonov at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline last season. The VGK were in salary cap trouble as they prepared to take both Mark Stone and Jack Eichel off LTIR at the same time.
Trading away Dadonov's $5 million AAV made sense, and the VGK attempted to do so on March 21, AKA trade deadline day.
However due to some upper management issues between the Golden Knights, Anahiem Ducks, and Ottawa Senators, the VGK ignored Dadonov's no-trade list and traded him to the Ducks, which were one of the teams on his no-trade list.
The deal was then voided officially by the NHL. Dadonov returned to the Golden Knights for the remainder of the season before Golden Knights general manager tried to trade him again in the summer, and successfully did to the Montreal Canadiens.
2) Max Pacioretty is Traded
Another move motivated by cap space, the Golden Knights traded both Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations on July 13. This freed up over $7 million in cap space for the Golden Knights, but they literally acquired nothing in return for two roster players.
Pacioretty spent four years with the Golden Knights and is one of the greatest players they have ever had in the organization. He was injury prone, yes, but tallied nearly 200 points in 224 games played. Unfortuntaley Pacioretty is currently out with an Achilles tendon injury and has not played at all this season.
A surge of free time has allowed him to go on podcasts and state that the Golden Knights have "no accountability when losing."
1) The Golden Knights Miss The Playoffs
Injuries, COVID, goaltending, depth scoring, consistency, opponents, compete level, coaching, leadership, accountability, etc. You can make excuses for the Golden Knights missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season all day, but the fact that they didn't make it still stands.
The VGK finished with a 43-31-8 record, good for 94 points, but were beaten to the second Wild Card spot by the Nashville Predators and to the third Pacific Divison slot by the Los Angeles Kings. This is, so far, the first and only time the Golden Knights have ever missed the postseason.