Could the Vegas Golden Knights Still Repeat?

With the Trade Deadline approaching it’s the chance to take a step back and assess teams before the stretch run of the season. In the Western Conference, the Canadian teams (outside of Calgary) are dominating the headlines and top the standings. Especially in the Pacific Division with Vancouver surprisingly sitting atop. Vegas did end the Edmonton Oilers’ 16-game winning streak coming out of the break. What are the chances the Vegas Golden Knights can still repeat?

Two teams that may see each other again come April. Vegas is 32-17-6 and sit 2nd in the Pacific Division behind the Canucks. Edmonton sits behind the defending champions by 3 points with 3 games in hand down the stretch. The Knights and Oilers will face off one more time in the regular season on April 10th in Edmonton.

The 2023 Stanley Cup champions have not had the strongest season but still boast a majority of their team from last year. A salary cap casualty in Reilly Smith is now with the Penguins and Phil Kessel is working out in Abbotsford. Adin Hill has made a recent return and has looked solid. Hill took over for Logan Thompson who made an All-Star game appearance before suffering multiple lower body injuries that cost his rookie season. 

Injury Issues

This season has been one to forget in terms of injuries with key players like Hill, Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore, and William Karlsson have missed significant time. Eichel is currently week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He sits 2nd on the team in goals, assists, and points. Theodore was removed from LTIR and took part in warmups against San Jose. Karlsson returned from LTIR after an injury in the Winter Classic.

Could the Vegas Golden Knights Still Repeat?

The downside of the success since the beginning of the franchise could be fatigue. The original players that remain have been through deep playoff runs in 4 out of their 6 seasons. Experience comes with the bumps and bruises of previous playoff runs. Many of the added faces like Alex Pietrangelo, Ivan Barbashev, and Mark Stone have had their fair share of experience in the postseason. Young players like Brendan Brisson and Kaeden Korczak will be expected to make an impact come the spring.

Could the Vegas Golden Knights Still Repeat? X-Factors

Three players can make the difference once again for this Vegas Golden Knights team. Jack Eichel had an incredible postseason last year with 26 points in 22 games. But is expected to do so making 10 million dollars for the next three seasons.

Another will be a combination of goaltending. Logan Thompson was the starter at the beginning of last year and can cover for Adin Hill if injured or needs a night off down the stretch. Hill himself was the unsung hero of last year’s postseason coming off the bench.

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The final x-factor might not be on the team quite yet. Since their inception, the Golden Knights have never been shy about making a big splash in free agency or the trade market. What Vegas needs to pick up for another playoff run is to be seen.

If there is another run in mind for the Golden Knights this regular season is not the greatest indication of what could be in store for Vegas come playoff time. Check out Area 51 Sports Network for coverage of the NHL Trade Deadline and beyond.