Las Vegas–Today Vegas Knights of The Roundtable is at the halfway point of the 8 part series on how the Vegas Golden Knights will match up against the competition around the National Hockey League.
We already have gone over the complete Pacific Division along with the 1st three teams in the NHL’s Central Division with Chicago, Minnesota, and St. Louis.
Part 2 finishes off the division with the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, and Colorado Avalanche.
Last season, the Nashville Predators went on the shock the hockey world in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round.
Nashville opened the playoffs with back-2-back shutouts courtesy of Pekka Rinne stellar performance in net. In game 1, Rinne stopped all 29 shots that Chicago fired on him, the following game he ended up being a brick wall once again with 30 saves.
They would go all the way the Stanley Cup Finals for the 1st time in franchise history only come up two wins short as they were defeated by Pittsburgh in a 6 game affair.
The Predators completed the regular season with a 41-29-12 record at 94 points. They completed the campaign with a GF of 240 and GA of 224.
In terms of special teams, the Predators were 16th overall with a success rate of 18.92% and scored 49 times. On the other side, they had a penalty kill rate of 80.91% which was dead center in 15th place in the league.
Wingers Viktor Arvidsson and Philip Forsberg led Nashville in scoring with 31 goals each. Centermen Ryan Johansen was their assist leader with 47.
On defense, Nashville had the pleasure of the services from Roman Josi and P.K. Subban who logged big minutes for them last year. Josi had an ATOT of 25:04, while Subban came in a close second at 24:24.
Again I as mentioned yesterday Vegas will need to decide who their 20+ minute guy will be this upcoming season to log those important minutes for them.
Ever since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated and became the new Winnipeg Jets franchise they have year after year in struggling to find their game.
When they transferred from the Eastern Conferences Southeast Division to Western Conferences Central Division they have yet to put together a winning season.
From the 2012-13 to 2016-17 seasons they have finished the campaigns at 5th and 7th places twice. In that span, they made the postseason once and got knocked by the Ducks in the 1st round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
They completed the regular season with a 40-35-7 record at 87 points. Their GF was 245 and GA was 256.
In terms of special teams, they were near the bottom of the top 20 at 18th place with a conversion rate on the power play of 18.18% and scored 48 times. On the other side in the killing penalties department
Probably the best thing that happened to the Jets last season came with Patrick Laine goal scoring performance as he completed the campaign with 36 goals.
The last player in a Jets (the new franchise of course) uniform to score at least 30 or more was Evander Kane during the 2011-12 where he put 30 in the back of the net.
Mark Scheifele also provided some offensive positivity with 50 assists and led the Jets in that category.
Big Buff as he known around the league Dustin Byfuglien was the Jets workhorse on defense as he logged heavy minutes for them with an ATOI of 27:27. This was a career high for him patrolling the blueline.
The Golden Knights players need to watch out for Big Buff because he likes to use his heavy body to hit people especially when he employs his hip check.
For the Dallas organization, they did not have a really good season for them last year in terms of everything (offense, defense, and goaltending).
After being a participant in the 2015-16 Stanley Cup Playoffs and making it to the 2nd round, this past season, the Stars did not even qualify.
Their record last year was 34-37-11 at 79 points. This was a significant drop for them as the prior season, they collected 109 points.
Their GF and GA was 223 and 262 respectively.
This was in part due to goaltending as Dallas couldn’t establish who was their starter for the season. Both Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi were not that great between the pipes for the Stars last season as they posted save percentage of .902 and .892 respectively.
Lehtonen’s GAA was 2.85 while Niemi’s was 3.30. It will be interesting to see who Dallas starts in net this upcoming season.
Forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin finished the regular season tied in goals with 26 apiece, while Seguin edged out Benn in assists 46 to his 43.
24-year-old defenseman John Klingberg was Dallas’s big minute’s eater last season as he had an ATOI of 23:21.
On special teams, they came in 20th overall on the power play with a success rate of 17.90% and scored 46 times while on the man advantage. On the other side in the killing penalties department, they managed to come in dead last in the league at an embarrassing 73.9%.
If these struggles continue for Dallas, the Golden Knights might want to take advantage of this weakness when they are on the power play.
The last place Colorado Avalanche had the worst among the rest of the league as they completed the season with a 22-56-4 record at 48 points.
In the prior season, they posted a better record of 39-39-4 for 82 points and that was under Patrick Roy.
Mikko Rantanen was the only Avs player to reach the 20 goal threshold last season with 20 goals scored and Matt Duchene led the team in assists with 23.
25-year-old blueliner Tyson Barrie logged the most minutes for the Avalanche last year with an ATOI of 23:18.
On special teams, they were fragile on both sides of the game. Their power play percentage was 12.55 (dead last) and the penalty kill was at 76.64 (2nd to dead last).
In the league last season, they had the worst GF 166 to GA at 278.
These numbers could motivate the Avalanche in playing better this upcoming season so Vegas will need to be prepared for a much hungrier Colorado team.
Tomorrow we are shifting to the Eastern Conference and dive into the Atlantic Division.