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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Potential Playoff Opponent: Winnipeg Jets

In the leadup to the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we're starting a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now<...

In the leadup to the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we're starting a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now where we will look at potential teams the Vegas Golden Knights could play. While a playoff trip is not yet guaranteed for the VGK, it is much safer to assume this team makes the postseason this year compared to last year.

Standings will fluctuate up until the NHL's last day of the regular season on April 13. So the Golden Knights will not have a set opponent for some time. In the meantime, we can do some speculation on which teams the VGK would match up well against, and which teams they would not.

Today we will look at the Winnipeg Jets, who the Golden Knights would play if the Stanley Cup Playoffs started today.

Winnipeg Jets

How it Could Happen: The Golden Knights would need to finish atop the Pacific Division in points and the Jets either in the first or second Wild Card spot. The matchups could be VGK (P1) v WPG (WC2) or VGK (P1) v WPG (WC1).

2022-23 Season Series: 10/20 VGK 5-2 W, 10/30 2-1 VGK OTW, 12/13 6-5 VGK.

While not in the same division as the Golden Knights, the Winnipeg Jets have quietly put together a nice season after they missed the playoffs last year. They are led by two players that could be in the conversation for major NHL Awards this season, Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina) and Josh Morrissey (Norris).

As a defenseman, Morrissey has 67 points in 66 games and is only behind Erik Karlsson in defensive point scorers. Hellebuyck has backstopped his team to 29 wins with a .919 save percentage and 2.61 GAA. Kyle Connor, Nick Ehlers, and veterans Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele are also key pieces.

At the deadline, they added Nino Niederreiter and Vladislav Namestnikov for extra forward depth.

This matchup, at the moment, lacks any big storylines. Laurent Brossoit played three seasons with the Jets and Nate Schmidt is a former Misfit. Both Zach Whitecloud and Keegan Kolesar are from Manitoba too. 

This would be the second time these teams have met in the playoffs, with the first being in the 2018 Western Conference Final, the VGK winning 4-1.

Matchup Pros

While they are somewhat similar in their lack of depth, the Golden Knight's forward group outclasses the Jets' on paper. The Jets do not have as skilled of a player as Jack Eichel, who we still have never seen play in the postseason. 

The Jets have Josh Morrissey on their blue line, yes, but outside of him they have a collection of veteran guys that don't compare to the complete Golden Knights D-unit led by Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore.

History is also on the Golden Knight's side with a 3-0 record in the season series and a 1-0 series record all-time against Winnipeg. 

The Golden Knights have also never worn these jerseys.

Matchup Cons

Connor Hellebuyck might be the best goaltender in the league not named Andrei Vasilevskiy. He's fully capable of stealing a playoff series and could shut down top scorers like Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault, and Chandler Stephenson, sending them into scoring slumps. He outclasses the Golden Knight's entire goalie corps and whoever they will put in the net by a large margin. 

Kyle Connor, Nick Ehlers, and Mark Scheifele are dynamic scorers and have Josh Morrissey feeding them the puck. Rick Bowness is also a no-nonsense coach with a good resume in the NHL, most recently going to the Stanley Cup Final with the Dallas Stars in 2019-20.


This is a winnable series for the Golden Knights. While the Jets are a good team that will compete hard to the finish line, we see the Golden Knights simply having the better team on paper. The play of Connor Hellebuyck, no matter who the Jets play in the first round will likely decide the series.

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