Now that the Vegas Golden Knights have a full team, they need to figure out some line combinations. This will be pretty tough considering they have a wide array of players from many different teams. Here is what I would do:
Line 1. David Perron Jonathon Marchessault James Neal
Line 2. Erik Haula Oscar Lindberg Reilly Smith
Line 3. Temmu Pulkkinen William Karlsson William Carrier
Line 4. Pierre E. Bellemare Cody Eakin David Clarkson
Obviously, they are not going to be the most skilled team offensively next season, but first let’s touch on some bright spots. Their first line can be very dangerous since they combined for 71 goals last year and are a nice mix of age. That line has amazing talent for a seasoned team, nonetheless a first year squad. Perron, Marchessault and Neal will have to create a ton of offense if this team wants to have a successful season. The third line is a very young bunch that could make a huge impact in the NHL for years to come. Karlsson had 25 points in his first full season in the NHL, but showed that he could be very useful on both sides of the ice. Carrier played half a season with only 8 points, but Vegas thinks they could have found a diamond in the rough with him. Pulkkinen has not found his stride in the NHL yet, but at 25 a fresh start may be exactly what he needs. They also have a fourth line with a plethora of NHL Experience. David Clarkson has been getting under the skin of opponents for years and scored over 100 goals in his career. Bellemare has played in over 200 NHL games and really shined in the World Cup of Hockey. Finally, Cody Eakin who is a face-off machine. With the ability to play on both the power-play and penalty-kill, Eakin is very beneficial for his team. Overall I give the forwards a C+. Let’s move on to the defense:
Line 1. Nate Schmidt Brayden McNabb
Line 2. Lucas Sbisa Colin Miller
Line 3. Jason Garrison Deryk Engelland
When you look at the defense for the Knights, the first thing that comes to mind is experience. No one on their defense has played less than 100 games while Jason Garrison and Deryk Engelland have upwards of 450. They do not have much offensive help on the back end, but Nate Schmidt and Colin Miller have both shown they can chip in. Also, they will be solid quarterbacks on the power-play. Finally, they have some big bodies on defense which will help clear the front of the net and block shots. Overall, I give their defense a C-. Now, the goalies:
Starter. Marc-Andre Fleury
Backup. Calvin Pickard
Marc-Andre Fleury is the backbone of this team, and their success will land on his shoulders. The 32 year old helped the penguins to their second straight Stanley Cup and his third. He has racked up 375 wins and a career goals against of 2.58. Fleury will serve as a mentor for their young backup, Calvin Pickard. The 25 year old didn’t have it easy as he played for The Avalanche, the worst team in the league. With a great role model ahead of him, and a new beginning, Pickard could be the starter before we know it. Overall I give the goalies a B.
Overall team grade C.
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