Erik Haula looked primed to enjoy another hugely productive year for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018-19 but, sadly, injury struck to bring his season to a premature end.
Erik Haula: Grade C
We push on with our 2018-19 Vegas Golden Knights Report Cards today as we look at Erik Haula’s year, which ended before it ever really started…
Erik Haula was lights out for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 after being taken in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He totalled 29 goals and 26 assists for 55 points in 76 regular season games, in addition to a further nine points (three goals, six assists) in 20 playoff games.
Haula began 2018-19 with two goals and five assists for seven points in 15 games, with a plus/minus rating of +1. He was logging an average of 16.35 minutes of ice time per night and was winning 51.3 percent of his draws in the faceoff circle.
However, disaster struck on Nov, 6, when he suffered a mysterious but brutal knee injury that halted his progress and ravaged the rest of his season. He was never seen again after being dealt that blow and, perhaps ironically, that game turned out to be his last in a Vegas jersey following his trade to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this offseason.
Haula was on pace to record roughly 38.2 points if our calculations are correct prior to his injury, although that total could have been higher based on the assumption that the 28-year-old would have gone on an absolute tear at some point during 2018-19 if it were not for suffering that blow to his knee.
He recorded six blocked shots, 11 hits and 12 takeaways prior to his injury and spent 18.71 percent of his 15 games on a line with Tomas Hyka and Alex Tuch, and 17.84 percent with Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny on the second-line.
Haula was important to this Golden Knights team based on his ability to provide secondary scoring, and his absence no doubt contributed to Vegas’ poor and disjointed first-half of the year. He had a 62.6 CF% and 60.0 oZS% in 15 games and, although that is a small sample size, they are still some impressive stats.
Haula saw himself as a second-line center but that clashed with the Golden Knights’ view, who saw the forward as more of a dangerous weapon on the wing due to their abundance of riches at center on the depth chart. That could have presented a problem at some point down the line, although it was avoided earlier in the offseason when he was dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes for Center Nicholas Roy and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, a move designed to help create some cap space.