Las Vegas–With the Vegas Golden Knights top 6 forwards already graded at the midway point of the 2017-18 season, we take a look the 3rd and 4th lines to see what letter grade they earned at the break.

Bottom 6 Forwards

Leipsic-Eakin-Tuch

Brendan Leispic

Previous Team: AHL-Toronto Marlies (18 goals, 33 assists for 51 points and was a +4 thru 49 games)

Granted that the numbers he produced down in the American League last year were impressive but Leipsic is in the NHL now. Back in the 2015-16 campaign when Leipsic played in 6 games with the Maple Leafs he produced 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points and was -1.

This season as a member of the Golden Knights bottom 6, Leipsic has played in 33 games and has produced 1 goal, 11 assists for 12 points and is currently a +3. I guess if you were to take the two separate stints that Leipsic has played in the NHL, you could say that his best performance to date is with the Golden Knights given that he’s skated in roughly 80% of the first half games.

For Leispic we are going to have to wait and see where exactly he ends up at the completion of basically his first full season in the NHL. Grade: B+/A- 

Cody Eakin

Previous Team: Dallas Stars (3 goals, 9 assists for 12 points and was a -7 with 60 games played)

Eakin’s career high in goals when his was a member of the Dallas Stars came during the 2014-15 season where he produced 19. This season centering the Golden Knights third line, Eakin has recorded 6 goals added 12 assists for 18 points and is a -2 at the break thru 41 games which are much better than last year totals of 3 goals, 9 assists, and 12 points.

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The question moving forward into the second half of the season, can Eakin reach the double digit mark in goal scored? We think that with 41 games remaining on the schedule, Eakin has the opportunity to reach that mark once again.

He has done it three previous times before joining the Golden Knight via the Vegas Draft. Eakin could also record when the regular season is over and done with over 20 assists. Grade: B-

Alex Tuch

Previous Team: Iowa/Minnesota Wild (18 goals, 19 assists for 37 points and was a +7 thru 63 combined games between the two clubs)

With this season practically Tuch’s first full NHL campaign he has provided the Golden Knights with depth scoring as he has produced 9 goals added 12 assists for 21 points. All three categories are currently his career highs in the NHL. When he played in 6 games with the NHL Wild organization he came up empty in both goals and assists.

In the second portion of the season, can Tuch double up those number’s he recorded in the 1st half of the campaign, we think there is plenty of time left where he can reach that mark. Grade: A

Nosek-Bellemare-Carrier/Lindberg

Tomas Nosek

Previous Team: Grand Rapid Griffins/Detroit Red Wings (16 goals, 26 assists for 42 points and was +3)

He scored 1 goal with the Red Wings last season so based on his current production of 3 this season with the Golden Knights, Nosek is having a career year. His 5 assists are also an NHL high for him along with his 8 points and a +6.

So as the second half of the season gets underway later this week, Nosek will be working on improving those numbers he recorded in the first two quarters of the season. Grade: B+

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Previous Team: Philadelphia Flyers (4 goals, 4 assists for 8 points and was a -1 thru 82 games)

Bellemare has already matched his career high in goals scored as a member with Vegas that he set last season with the Flyers at 4. He’s halfway in reaching his assist total from last season as well, Bellemare is also 2 points away from tying his career high of 8 from the prior campaign.

During the second portion of the 2017-18 season, Bellemare will have the chance to shatter his previous career highs in goals, assists and total points with the Golden Knights. Grade: A

William Carrier

Previous Team: Buffalo Sabres (5 goals, 3 assists for 8 points and was a -1 thru 41 games)

In 23 games this season as a member of the Golden Knights, Carrier has produced 1 goal, 1 assist for 2 point thru 23 games at the break. If he was in 18 more games at 41 his numbers could have been much higher.

If he wants to match the numbers he set with the Sabres last season he’ll need a strong performance in the second half of the season to accomplish that. Grade: C+/B-

Oscar Lindberg

Previous Team: New York Rangers (8 goals, 12 assists for 20 points and was a +2 thru 65 games)

In his first season with the Golden Knights, Lindberg ranks 2nd behind Tuch in goals scored in the bottom 6 with 7 at the break which put’s him just 1 goal shy of last years mark. He is also 11 assists away from reaching 12 which he recorded with the Rangers in the prior campaign.

There is no question that he’ll reach at least 8 goals during the course of the second half of the regular season, heck he maybe can even record 10 or more, but can he produce 10 more assists and hit the double digit mark for the third time in his career that remains to be seen.

I think for us given that Lindberg at the break is a 8 total points he might have some challenges ahead for him if he wants to reach the 20 point mark for the third time in his career so his assist game with need a major boost in the second half of the season. Grade: B/B+

Part 3 we will look at the blueliners and hand them out our mid-term grades.

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3 Comments »

  1. Looking at fancy stats (Thanks Natural Stat Trick!), you are spot on with your grades on Eakin and Bellemare.
    I’m not sure if you can ask much more of a 4th line center that has an offensive zone faceoff percentage just a tick under 45, while has a Corsi for that is nearly 52 and a high danger Corsi of 56(!).
    Eakin has an OZ faceoff percentage of 49, which is right around his career numbers, but his Corsi has dipped from around 50 to 47, with a high danger cf of 48. You would like that line to flip the ice a little more. Could just be meshing with his line mates, as that line tends to rotate more. Of course I then looked at Marcus Kruger’s numbers and nearly wanted to throw my phone. I’m still mad that McPhee was only able to get at 5th for him.

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