The last post you would’ve seen from Vegas Hockey Knight served as something of a mic drop moment for the blog. A piece by Jim Lynch titled “The moment the Vegas Golden Knights have been waiting for” celebrated the franchise officially securing their first Stanley Cup this past June. Then, things went dark.
In some ways, it was the perfect ‘walking off into the sunset’ moment. Think Scotty Bowman capping off his legendary coaching career by retiring immediately after his Detroit Red Wings hoisted the 2002 Cup.
But… we’re back! I am thrilled to be part of the team that is taking the mantle and bringing fun, informative VGK coverage to FanSided. Just as life has gone on for Vegas after spending most of the summer celebrating their triumph, we at Vegas Hockey Knight are ready to move forward as well.
As you all know, we are now comfortably into the 2023-24 title defense season of the slightly retooled Golden Knights.
Gone is Vegas original Reilly Smith, who was shipped off to Pittsburgh in order to make room to re-sign Ivan Barbashev to a five-year, $25 million that he, quite frankly, hasn’t lived up to yet. In net, playoff hero Adin Hill has returned to the crease thanks to a two-year, $9.8 million off-season contract. He was essentially chosen over fellow free agent Laurent Brossoit, who signed in Winnipeg.
As these roster changes took hold, Vegas hit the ground running in impressive fashion. A dominant 7-0 blowout of the Colorado Avalanche on November 4 in a battle of the two most recent Cup winners raised their record to an undefeated 11-0-1.
Things have been a bit bumpy since then, however. Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime road win in a big showdown with the Dallas Stars helped slow down a slide of what had been five losses in their previous seven games. Heading into the post-Thanksgiving stretch, they still lead the Pacific Division with a 14-4-2 record through 20 games.
Although Barbashev (six points in 20 games) has struggled since landing that big off-season contract, cornerstone players like William Karlsson, Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore and Mark Stone have all produced. Hill, meanwhile, has carried over the Vezina-caliber form (9-2-1 with a 1.97 goals against average and .932 save percentage) that we saw last spring.
With all that in mind, we are ready to hit the ground running with fresh new coverage of a club that looks poised for another deep playoff run of hopes of defending as reigning champs. This is going to be fun!