Vegas Golden Knights MVP of October: James Neal

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 06: James Neal #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates with Nate Schmidt #88 of the Vegas Golden Knights and Oscar Lindberg #24 of the Vegas Golden Knights after scoring the first goal in team history against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on October 6, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 06: James Neal #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates with Nate Schmidt #88 of the Vegas Golden Knights and Oscar Lindberg #24 of the Vegas Golden Knights after scoring the first goal in team history against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on October 6, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Since game number one, “Real Deal” James Neal has stepped up for the Vegas Golden Knights in a big way.

October ended sourly for the Vegas Golden Knights as they dropped their last two to both New York teams in heartbreaking fashion. But, the NHL’s newest franchise ended their first month of existence with the best start in expansion team history at 8-3-0. Not bad, not bad at all.

No one expected this kind of start from a team that lost their top three goaltenders and a couple of key forwards at the same time. However, the Golden Knights persevered and are five games over .500. If this team could keep this kind of pace up, who knows we might be talking playoff hockey in April.

But we’re very far away from playoff hockey, and we don’t know what the other six months have in store for this hockey club. What we can talk about is the month of October. Who carried this team through October?

Some will say Nate Schmidt for going up against the top players on each team, night in and night out. Some will even say Reilly Smith for his well-rounded two-way game and his ability for clutch goals in critical spots. And the three goaltenders combining for eight wins also deserve some credit as well. However, at the end of the day, there’s one player that stood out from all the rest and that player is “Real Deal” James Neal.

Neal had an outstanding start to his Golden Knights career starting game one where he scored the first two goals in franchise history. It didn’t take long for him to get going as he even got the first two game-winners in club history. Through the first two weeks, it seemed like Neal was an unstoppable force.

Overall, the Whitby, Ontario native scored a team-high seven goals, three assists, and ten points through 11 games in October. He was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Even when he wasn’t scoring, Neal provided the most scoring chances on the entire team.

Neal plays with David Perron and Cody Eakin on the first line, and he also gets a ton of time on the power play. The one downside is he only has one power play point which is a little bit concerning thus far. Hopefully, as time passes on, the first power play unit will step up with the addition of Shea Theodore.

Next: Vegas Golden Knights Have Problems In The Crease.

All in all, the 30-year old should be just fine going forward especially when he gets his teeth back. Neal is an integral part of the Vegas Golden Knights success. If this hockey club wants to reach the postseason, they need “Real Deal” to keep up this pace.