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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights: Path to the Playoffs



Vegas Golden Knights, Mark Stone

There are just 17 games between now the the NHL trade deadline on Friday, Mar. 8. The Vegas Golden Knights have 55 points which ranks second in the Pacific Division and fifth in the Western Conference. The playoff cutline is 49 points.

The Golden Knights are averaging 1.25 points per game played and would need to collect at least 21 points over the next 17 games to maintain that average. That would give the Golden Knights 76 points at the trade deadline with 19 games remaining. The Golden Knights would finish the season with 100 points if they maintain their 1.25 points per game average over the final 19 games of the season.

The problem? Injuries to Jack Eichel, Adin Hill, William Karlsson, Shea Theodore, William Carrier, and Ben Hutton have their lineup looking like a distant shadow of the team that opened the season 11-1.

The Golden Knights have just five wins in their last 14 games with no overtime or shootout losses for a 0.71 points-per-game average. If the Golden Knights maintain a points-per-game percentage of 0.71, they would have 67 points at the trade deadline. The Golden Knights would need approximately 30 points in the final 19 games of the season to qualify for the playoffs as a wild-card team. That would be a dangerous spot to be in.

The date of the trade deadline is key because Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, Michael Amadio, and Alec Martinez are unrestricted free agents after the season. Stephenson and Amadio are due for sizeable raises. Marchessault could draw as much as $6 million AAV on the open market. Martinez could be a key piece for another team wishing to make a deep playoff run.

If the Golden Knights are out of the playoff picture, which is a realistic possibility, General manager Kelly McCrimmon could opt to trade players with expiring contracts. The Golden Knights have a window to compete for a Stanley Cup through the 2026-27 season. Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, Ivan Barbashev, Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Whitecloud, William Karlsson, and Nicolas Roy are signed through the 2026-27 season.

McCrimmon is in the unique spot to shop expiring contracts for draft picks, prospects, or players that can help the core listed above next season. However, this only happens if the Golden Knights are out of the playoff hunt come the trade deadline.

The Golden Knights are projected to be in a better spot with injured stars returning to the lineup in the not-so-distant future. Adin Hill could return in the next couple of games which would give the team a big boost. Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned that Eichel will be back this season. The hope is Karlsson and Theodore can return in the next few weeks.

The Path to the Playoffs

The Golden Knights need healthy stars in the lineup first and foremost. A comfortable place for the Golden Knights is 72 points by the trade deadline. If they can get to 72 points by the trade deadline, the Golden Knights would need 25 points in the last 19 games of the regular season to make the playoffs.

The night is darkest before dawn. Golden Knights fans prefer “Knight Time” over this version of nighttime.