By: Kevin Ebert
I don’t think anyone predicted the inaugural season for Vegas would end in a Stanley Cup loss, especially to the Capitals. Players like William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and Brayden McNabb were expected to be 2nd - 3rd liners but made the team look like a star-studded team. The question is, can they do it again?
William Karlsson erupted last year for 43 goals in 82 games. To put it in perspective, he had 18 goals in his prior 183 games which is just insane. I don’t think he’ll put up the same kind of numbers, but I also don’t think he’ll need to in order for this team to climb the mountain again. In net, Marc-Andre Fleury was amazing last year. After being let go by Pittsburgh in the expansion draft, Vegas’s netminder came to life. He had a great season and an even better playoff run. Fleury carried this team in the playoffs and with a new 3-year extension, Vegas management certainly thinks he can do it again.
Vegas not only brought back players like Karlsson and Fleury, but also signed Paul Stastny and traded for Max Pacioretty. Bringing in Stastny replaces the empty slot that James Neal left with his departure to the Flames. He’s a great scorer and will be a great center on the second line.
Pacioretty is a great leader and is a 60 point player that can be on the wing with his longtime friend Stastny and Erik Haula.
Expect Vegas to take a small step back this next season, but not much as they continue to cement themselves as a contender. Don’t underestimate them just yet.
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