The Vegas Golden Knights, after losing Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, needed to try and find a way to maintain offensive production. Over the course of the past couple seasons, Pacioretty and Stone have accounted for a large portion of the teams offense. Not to mention the role’s they have within the organization such as; Mark Stone being their captain.
When naming a captain, the person who get’s the ‘C’ on their uniform is usually because of what he means to the team in terms of production and his leadership. In the Vegas Golden Knights case, that is true for Mark Stone. When he get’s on the stat sheet, the team as a whole always seems to play better. For Example, take this past game against the Dallas Stars.
The Vegas Golden Knights, this past Tuesday, played against the Western Conference: Dallas Stars. After the first period, the Vegas Golden Knights were 0/3 on the power play. On the other hand, the Dallas Stars were 3/3 on the power play. However, after Pete DeBoer pulled Robin Lehner out of net, it gave the Knights a much needed boost. After being down 3-1, the Knights somehow found a way to claw their way back into the game and walked away with a win.
The reason I stated that was because, Mark Stone, got on the stat sheet with two goals including one goal that tied the game up in the mid/late third period. Mark Stone is a game changer when he is out there, but for a period of about a month, he wasn’t.
The Vegas Golden Knights were without Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty for what felt like a couple months. However, after losing two of their most productive players, someone needed to step-up-Luck for us, Someone did: Chandler Stephenson.
Here’s Why Chandler Stephenson Should be Considered a Top Center
While Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty were out with lower-body injuries, there was a lack of established offensive talent. Now, you can argue there wasn’t because of Jonathan Marchessault or Reilly Smith, but there is a different name who really stepped up: Chandler Stephenson.
After William Karlsson went down, head coach Pete DeBoer slotted center, Chandler Stephenson on the misfit line. However, if you look at the stats, that’s not where he really shined. Where he shined was in his ability to play in multiple different lines, and still produce on a nightly basis.
Chandler Stephenson was asked to man the center on various different lines after the Knights caught a case of the injury bug, and yet his production has never better. During a 12 game period, Stephenson has three goals and seven assists for 10 points.
During that point, Stephenson was almost averaging a point per game and that was without much help from some of the other top tier players that the Knights have. He was making people better while he was out there on the ice, and that’s exactly what a elite center does. He makes people better.
Although Stephenson doesn’t quite have the same production as guys like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, and Aleksander Barkov, he still is almost averaging a point per game this season, Which has to account for something.
A point per game player, although it’s becoming more common, is still a huge achievement. If you average a point per game, your are generally going to be in elite company with some of the best in the game. So if Chandler Stephenson can average a point per game, and do it with no line consistency and without some of the most productive players on the team, how does he not get put into to elite category?