Las Vegas–With the Vegas Golden Knights having this impressive 8-1-0 start of their inaugural season so what does this mean for the team’s overall depth and can they continue to play and produce at a high level for the rest of the campaign.
With Friday’s 7 goal performance by the Golden Knights over the Colorado Avalanche, the team received contributions from seven different players and it does paint a picture that the organization is getting scoring production from all areas of the ice and down to their 3rd and 4th lines.
With an 8-1-0 record, the Golden Knights are +15 in goal differential at 34-19.
Currently, the team has 19 active players with at least a point to their credit this season, the only player that does not have a point recorded is 25-year-old defenseman Jon Merrill. For Merrill, he’s only been in two games played with the Golden Knights and registered just 2 shots on goal.
Leading the charge is a usual suspect in forward James Neal who is the team’s leader in goals with 7 on the season.
Neal was pretty much the Golden Knights go-to man in the scoring department early on in the season as he was the organization’s first player to score the franchises first goal in history, the first game-winning goal, and an overtime goal.
Neal also had a 4 game scoring the started in the season opener game in Dallas and lasted until the 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
The big question for the Golden Knights here is, can Neal return to the days of scoring 30 or more goals like he did back in the 2011-12 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2015-16 Nashville Predators?
For the Golden Knights, they haven’t had to rely on just Neal to put the puck in the back of the net as there are other players who have stepped up and answered the call.
Oscar Lindberg is the next man up on the list of the Golden Knights roster who has produced 4 goals and is in second place in the goal scoring department.
Lindberg comes to work every day and plays the game very well and doesn’t give up on a play, in particular with yesterdays contest against the Avalanche where he took on three Colorado players to score on Varlamov.
Last season with the New York Rangers, Lindberg scored 8 goals in 65 games played. As a member of the Golden Knights, he’s halfway there in tying his second career best. His career best was back in the 2015-16 season where he recorded 13. If he stays healthy he could have himself a career year with the Golden Knights.
Forwards David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault have been equally up to the task for the Golden Knights in goal scoring department as both players have recorded 3 each on the season.
In recent times, Perron netted the franchises second overtime marker against the Buffalo Sabres where they beat them 5-4, he also scored earlier in that contest. Marchessault has produced 3 in the last three contests that he’s played in.
Last season with the Florida Panthers Marchessault recorded 30 goals and if his goal production can pick up with the Golden Knights in this year’s campaign he could be on his way to another great season.
For Perron, he’s had three seasons in the NHL where he produced 20 or more goals (2008-09 STL, 2011-12 STL, and 2013-14 EDM). His career high was 28 goals. With Perron being a top 6 forward on the Golden Knights he has the potential of getting back there with consistency.
Down the line for the Golden Knights in the scoring department is William Karlsson, Alex Tuch, Tomas Nosek, Erik Haula, and Reilly Smith who all have 2 goals each to their credit.
These five players have provided the additional scoring outside the usual of top 6 forwards Neal, Perron, and Marchessault. Smith and Karlsson played an important role in the overtime period against the St. Louis Blues where these two teamed up for the OT winner.
With Nosek, he was the first player in franchise history to net the first regular season goal at home for the Golden Knights vs. Arizona on opening night that featured a 5-2 win, he also scored in the 4-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.
When Tuch was called from the Chicago Wolves Tuch’s impact was felt immediately when he scored his first NHL goal against the Boston Bruins that featured a 3-1 victory. He followed that up with scoring a goal in the Buffalo game.
In his first game back since being on the IR, Haula netted his second of the season in the 7-0 slaughter over the Colorado Avalanche.
The team also has had some contribution from the blueline as in Nate Schmidt, Deryk Engelland, and Colin Miller.
Schmidt, Engelland, and Miller have combined for 3 of the Golden Knights 34 goals scored this season.
For Schmidt, he scored an important goal against the Arizona Coyotes late in the 3rd period that eventually led Neal scoring the 1st overtime winner in club history.
On opening night at T-Mobile Arena Engelland was part of the 1st-period scoring barrage that featured four goals by the Golden Knights. This was in response to the organization’s “Vegas Strong” initiative to help the city of Las Vegas healing from the “Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting”.
With Miller, he was part of that power play second period against the St. Louis Blues last week. He is one of five Golden Knights players this season to score on the man advantage.
Forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Cody Eakin, and William Carrier also have a goal recorded this season.
Bellemare, Eakin, and Carrier each recorded their first goals of the season this week against the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche respectively.
So this goes to show you that the Golden Knights are getting goal production from practically everyone on the ice, from the top 6 to the bottom 6 and even the blueline.
If the Golden Knights can keep this up for the rest of the season along with solid goaltending they should be in very good shape and battle for a playoff spot in their first year in the NHL.