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Has Acquiring Ryan Reaves And Tomas Tatar Helped The Golden Knights In Their Struggles?
(Photos by Getty Images)
Las Vegas–Vegas Knights of The Roundtable takes a look at the acquisitions of forwards Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar.
Before heading into the deadline window, the Golden Knights won 5 games and recorded two losses. In the span, Vegas found the back of the net 29 times while allowing the opposition to score 18 goals.
However, since the NHL Trade Deadline it’s presented the Golden Knights a different story as they have won 3 games and lost 4 with the additions of Reaves and Tatar. In addition, Vegas has seen a decline in goal production with only scoring 17 times and have allowed their opponents to produce 19 goals.
Included in that story is the Golden Knights have been without the services of James Neal who has scored 24 goals and posted 40 points in his first campaign with Vegas. Neal was taken out of commission back on February 23 with an illness which he missed three games.
Following his illness, he suffered a hand-injury that has kept him out of the lineup since the deadline which is not good at this time of the year to be hit with the bug, especially in the prime of the Stanley Cup Playoffs chase.
If matters couldn’t get any worse for Vegas as they would be down another top six forward in Reilly Smith who was hit with the bug during the Columbus Blue Jackets game. In William Karlsson‘s return to Columbus he suffered an upper body injury and logged 10:32 of ice time on the Golden Knights top line.
With the absence of both Neal and Smith, have the pick ups by General Manager George McPhee been the problem for the hockey team’s decline of success on the ice?
In the Reaves deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins they acquired him because the Golden Knights was missing a piece in the lineup that exercises physical presence to the opposition on nightly basis.
Another thing with the Reaves trade was the facilitate Derick Brassard move to Pittsburgh where the Golden Knights retained 40% of his salary at $2 million per season for the remaining portion of the current campaign and next year.
The former St. Louis Blues forward has experience out west as he has issued out 1,324 hits in his 7 seasons. With that said, Reaves prefers playing in the Western Conference as he called it “I like the west a lot better, a lot heavier, more physical game, it’s right up my alley.”
In his first two games as a member of the Golden Knights Reaves was penalty prone that resulted in six minutes of penalty time against division rival Los Angeles. His undisciplined play factored into two Kings goals, the Jeff Carter power play marker at Staples Center and his second at T-Mobile Arena in the home at home series.
This caused a bit of a concern with the Golden Knights fandom and the organization which has forced Reaves to play a more conservative style in an effort to keep him from marching into the box. Well the good news is it has worked, he has not been penalized since then.
Notables for Reaves is that he has 16 hits and 1 assist as a new member of the Golden Knights.
But let’s face reality here for a moment, the Golden Knights didn’t acquire Reaves for his offense they picked him up for his toughness and physical playing style for the playoffs.
In terms of Tatar they grabbed him from the Red Wings to add scoring depth to their roster for the stretch run and the postseason. Vegas sent back to Detroit the following assets, 2018 1st round pick, 2019 2nd round pick, and the 2021 3rd round pick.
Before he came over to the Golden Knights, Tatar scored 16 goals, posted 12 assists for 28 points. This season he played on their top two scoring lines with the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, and Dylan Larkin.
For Tatar he has been struggling to find offensive success with the Golden Knights as he has only been able to score just one goal that happened in the New Jersey Devils game that started off their 5 game road trip.
The problem with Tatar’s case is that he’s been playing on three different lines in the last six games which hasn’t really allowed him the opportunity to establish chemistry with his line mates on a nightly basis.
His worst performance was during the Ottawa Senators game where he played with forwards Erik Haula and David Perron, in the 5-4 loss as they posted a combined -9.
Tatar did however score his first goal for the Golden Knights in their 3-2 win against Taylor Hall and New Jersey Devils. That goal was the game winner for Vegas.
With Vegas playing against the Philadelphia Flyers this Monday it will complete the 7 game transition window that Head Coach Gerard Gallant highlighted in his post deadline remarks on Tatar.
For the Golden Knights and their fans let’s hope that when they play the Flyers on the tail end of their last Eastern Conference road swing Tatar will finally flip the switch and gel with his teammates as well as being that goal scorer that he was when he played for Detroit.