Give NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League full credit. Although often bashed, they got something important done perfectly. Vegas has emerged as the ultimate big-league expansion franchise. Bettman knew that the old, bad expansion team formula wasn’t going to work in Sin City. Indeed, Bettman realized the Vegas franchise was too important to fail. Especially for a $500 million expansion fee. New rules were implemented for Vegas to fill their roster. And to their credit, the Golden Knights took full advantage. They became a big winner with the NHL odds. Gamblers have loaded up for 2021.
2021 Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas Golden Knights Team Overview
The 2019-20 Golden Knights finished with an online betting record of 39-24-6-2. First place in the Pacific Division was the result. Vegas ranked 13th in the NHL for goal scoring and 9th for the power play. Defensively Vegas ranked 13th for goals against and 27th for the penalty kill. Mark Stone was the leading scorer for VGK with 80 points. While Chandler Stephenson had a team-best +21. And goaltender Marc Andre Fleury posted 30 wins.
Subsequently, the Golden Knights defeated Chicago in the first round of the playoffs 4-1. Next was a tough 4-3 series win over Vancouver in the second round. In the Western Conference Final Dallas stunned Vegas 4-1.
Vegas Golden Knights Management and Coaching
General Manager Kelly McCrimmon took over his current position on May 2, 2019. He was assistant general manager when the franchise was formed. Last season, McCrimmon made the controversial decision to fire coach Gerard Gallant. It was Gallant that took Vegas to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
Concurrently Peter DeBoer is a veteran of the NHL. He was previously head coach of Florida, New Jersey, and San Jose. He led the Devils and the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final. DeBoer’s career record is 430-334-113 in the regular season and 46-38 in the playoffs. DeBoer went 15-5-2 after taking over for Gallant. On the whole, Vegas was much more consistent after DeBoer took over.
Vegas Golden Knights Key Players
At the onset of his tenure, DeBoer made a courageous move. He promoted Robin Lehner to number one goalie over Marc Andre Fleury. Of course, Fleury is the most popular and best-known player on the team. Lehner posted a .917 save percentage in the playoffs and a 1.99 goals-against average. Lehner was acquired from the Blackhawks at the trade deadline.
Left-wing Max Pacioretty arrived with great fanfare from Montreal in 2018. He is coming off a strong season. To illustrate Pacioretty scored 32 goals and 34 assists with a +18. He was a 2020 NHL All-Star.
Right-wing Mark Stone had 21 goals and 42 assists with a +15 in the regular season. And then he added 7 goals with 10 assists in the playoffs.
Defenseman Shea Theodore has been with VGK from the start. Last season Theodore impressed with 13 goals, 33 assists, and a +12.
So too is center Jonathan Marchessault an original Golden Knight. In 2019-20 Marchessault scored 22 goals with 25 assists and a +6.
Vegas Golden Knights History
Born in 2017 as an expansion team the Golden Knights immediately made history. To illuminate they made the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. The last expansion team to accomplish that was the 1968 St. Louis Blues.
Vegas Golden Knights Assessment
While Vegas is a fine team but lacks the depth of top tier contenders.