The Vegas Golden Knights are 2019-20 Pacific Division Champions.
With the NHL announcing that the 2019-20 Regular Season is now complete and 24 teams will jump into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Vegas Golden Knights can raise a Divisional Banner for the second time in three years.
Not bad at all for an expansion team.
It was an incredibly busy and hugely significant news day in the NHL on Tuesday, with Commissioner Gary Bettman revealing the full Play To Plan.
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We’ve done a deep dive into the Press Conference here but, in a nutshell, the year is now done for seven teams including the likes of the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks and the Buffalo Sabres.
For the 24 team other teams, Training Camps will open in July in two Hub Cities – one for the Eastern Conference and one for the Western Conference.
The top seeds, including the Golden Knights, will play a three-game, in-conference round-robin tournament which will go towards seeding for the 16-team Playoffs.
While those tournaments are going on the other 16 teams will battle it out in a Play-In game, with each series a best-of-five.
The winners of those series will proceed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the NHL yet to decide whether the opening two Rounds will be best-of-five or a best-of-seven series.
Also, the 2020 NHL Lottery Draft will take place on Friday, June 26 and will determine the order of the first 15 picks at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
The seven teams who are now done for the year, coupled with the eight teams that fail to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, will be included in the Lottery.
So, that’s a brief recap of the main talking points from the NHL’s Return to Play Plan, but we thought we would delve into what the completion of the 2019-20 Regular Season means for the Golden Knights.
Pacific Division Champs
Again, we covered this on Tuesday but the Vegas Golden Knights are officially the 2019-20 Pacific Division Champions.
After finishing third behind the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks in 2018-19, the Golden Knights reclaimed the crown this year for their second Divisional Banner in the short history of the franchise.
Prior to the NHL going on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Knights were top of the Pacific with 86 points having gone a stellar 8-2-0 in their last ten games.
They finished the year with a record of 39-24-8, 227 Goals For, 211 Goals Against, a home record of 22-11-4 and a road record of 17-13-4.
Vegas was also 3-2 in games decided by the Shootout in 2019-20.
The Golden Knights were ranked 13th in Goals For Per Game (3.15), 13th in Goals Against Per Game (2.94), 9th on the Power Play (22.0) and 27th on the Penalty Kill (76.6).
Another interesting caveat is the fact that, were it not for the 3-2 Overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers on March. 9, Vegas’ final regular-season game, the Knights would have been contesting a Play-In series because of the regulation wins tiebreaker.
All in all, while some will argue that the 2019-20 Pacific Division Banner doesn’t count for much because the regular-season was cut short, the Golden Knights still battled their way to the top of the Division after 71 games so I don’t buy into that argument.
With the 2019-20 NHL Regular Season now in the books, things like award winners can start to be decided upon.
Now, while the Golden Knights won’t have a player up for any of the major awards, we thought it would be a good idea to run through some of the final stats from the regular season.
With all stats up to the NHL going on hiatus now final and in the process of being etched into the record books, let’s look at how it has all shaken out for the Golden Knights.
For starters, Max Pacioretty is now officially the points leader for Vegas in 2019-20 with 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists) in 71 games.
The main caveat here is that Pacioretty will miss out on capping off arguably the best year of his career by recording a new career-high in points.
Pacioretty needed just two more points to beat his previous high of 67 points in 2016-17, but the likes of Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak, who were both within touching distance of reaching the 50-goal plateau, are in the same boat.
It is just the nature of the new world we live in, sadly.
On a brighter note, Shea Theodore carved out a hell of a year in 2019-20 with a career-high 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists) in 71 games.
Theodore also finished 2019-20 ranked 10th in the NHL in points among defensemen, and 10th in goals among blueliners.
Mark Stone finished second on the Knights in points with 63 (21 goals, 42 assists) in 65 games, while Reilly Smith (54 points), Jonathan Marchessault (47 points) and William Karlsson (46 points) rounded out the top five.
And, to finish off, Pacioretty led the team in goals (32) and power play points (19), Stone led the Knights in assists (42), Chandler Stephenson led the franchise in plus / minus (+19), William Karlsson led the way with five shorthanded points and Reilly Smith was at the front of the pack with six Game Winning Goals.
Finally, Marc-Andre Fleury finished the 2019-20 NHL Regular Season with a 27-16-0 record in 48 starts to go along with a 2.77 Goals Against Average and a .905 Save Percentage with five shutouts.
So, that’s a quick roundup of the final stats for the Vegas Golden Knights from the 2019-20 Regular Season.
Now all eyes will be on the Stanley Cup Playoffs where the Golden Knights will be out to win the greatest prize in all of sports.