Since their inaugural season in 2017-18, the Vegas Golden Knights have taken the NHL by storm. Given the fact they were an expansion team, most expected them to struggle in the early going. Instead, they had a fantastic regular season and advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Though they have not been able to get back to the Stanley Cup Final since, they have had continued success in the regular season and remain one of the league’s top contenders. That won’t change in 2021-22, as aside from no longer possessing one of the top goaltending duos in the league, their roster looks as good as ever. In fact, they have a chance this year to have their best regular season in franchise history.
Feasting on a Weak Pacific Division
The best regular season points wise the Golden Knights have had since their inception was the 2017-18 campaign, one in which they put up 51 wins and 109 points. However, had the 2020-21 season been a full 82 games, they likely would have surpassed those totals, as they had an extremely impressive 40 wins and 82 points in just 56 games.
That success came in the West Division, which was a realigned division that was put together due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It certainly wasn’t the best throughout the league, as it contained all three of the struggling California teams, but had some strong competitors as well in the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and the St. Louis Blues.
“We’re getting now into the meat of the schedule where you’re not going to get a chance to take a breath for a while here,” head coach Peter DeBoer said Monday. “Good teams every night, playing every other day… not critical points already, but important points already.”
Now that they are back in the Pacific Division again in 2021-22, they will have some new rivals. The division will once again have all three California teams, all of which are expected to struggle, similar to last season. They will also have a brand new expansion team in the Seattle Kraken, who remain a major question mark. The final three teams are Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks.
Aside from the Oilers, none of these teams are anywhere near contending status, which is great news for the Golden Knights. They have a chance to rack up a ton of divisional wins this year, and as a result, could be in store for their best regular season to date.
Looking even further, it could also have some serious benefits in the postseason, particularly the first round, where they will likely get a very soft divisional matchup. Anything can happen in this league, but by all accounts, they should dominate this Pacific Division and have a great chance of not only leading it by seasons end, but putting up their biggest win total in a regular season to date.
Of course, given the recent news on the injuries sustained to both Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, this could be somewhat more difficult, but thankfully neither player is expected to miss an extremely lengthy period of time. On top of that, this roster is one of the deepest in the entire league, meaning they do have other players who are more than ready to step up and fill in for the time being.
“You start really testing the depth of the organization if we don’t start getting some of these guys back,” DeBoer said.
Share This Article
Support independent news coverage by sharing on your platforms