2 minutes with gawlik
Photo Credit: NHL

FSM Presents: 2 Minutes with Gawlik – Weekly VGK Update – Vol 15

Franchise Sports Media

 

Welcome to “Two Minutes with Gawlik, Volume 15.” This was by far the most important week of the regular season for the Vegas Golden Knights. It was a “slow” week as VGK only had three games to play. Another good week of hockey, however, the roster drama still exists due to injuries and salary cap issues.

 

Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: AP / John Locher

Wednesday, April 28th vs. Avalanche: This was THE game. The game has been circled on the calendar for quite some time. Both teams had injury concerns, more so for ColoradoWilliam Karlsson scored ten seconds in, and VGK logged a 5-2 win in a huge game. Colorado traded for Devan Dubnyk at the trade deadline. Dubnyk has had success over his career against VGK and got the start in this one as Philipp Grubauer was out due to injury. Dubnyk struggled and wanted at least three of the VGK goals back. This was far from the playoff version of the Avalanche that VGK might see; however, that does not discount Wednesday’s victory at all.

Friday, April 30th vs. Coyotes: One way to define the definition of a trap game is “Playing a lesser opponent just days before or after a big game.” To summarize, Friday’s game against Arizona was a trap game. The team had to lose at some point, and the ten-game winning streak was a franchise record. VGK was without Jonathan Marchessault on top of already being without Tomas Nosek, Nicolas Roy, and Ryan Reaves. Injuries forced another uncommon roster as VGK only dressed eleven forwards and seventeen skaters. VGK has not one once this season when dressing seventeen or less skaters. That trend would continue as VGK dropped the trap game 3-0. Robin Lehner did all he could to give VGK a chance to win. The team did not have it Friday night. If there is ever an acceptable time for a loss, it is after a ten-game winning streak. Moving on.

Saturday, May 1st vs. Coyotes: Saturday’s game was a prime bounce-back game. VGK seemed in control as they led 2-0 going into the third period, then the wheels came off. Untimely penalties, poor play by VGK, and the Coyotes playing desperate hockey led to a tied game, and overtime would be needed to determine a victor. The Coyotes were assessed a minor penalty for too many men on the ice, and Marchessault was able to convert a one-timer to give VGK the victory. The odd part about the too many men penalty in overtime is that the referee furthest from the puck made the call. Not to say the wrong call was made, but the linesmen and referee that trailed the play had a closer view and did not make the call. Arizona coach Rick Tocchet was hot, to say the least. Saturday’s victory was the cherry on top of an important week of VGK hockey. Max Pacioretty suffered an injury and did not play in the third period. No news as of Sunday has been announced concerning his injury.

 

VGK has now played fifty of their fifty-six regular-season games and leads the West Division by four points over the Colorado Avalanche and six points over the Minnesota Wild.

 

VGK has two games remaining against the Wild, two games against the St. Louis Blues, one game against the Avalanche, and the season concludes in San Jose. You can bet your last dollar that the Sharks will make the regular-season finale a nightmare for VGK, especially if they can play spoiler. The Avalanche have a bit easier schedule as they play two games against the Sharks, four games against the Los Angeles Kings, and one game against VGK. Minnesota has a tougher schedule than the Avalanche as they play the Blues two times, VGK two times, and twice against the Anaheim Ducks. VGK is in the best position to win the Honda West Division, but it is still a three-horse race.

 

Welcome, Seattle Kraken!  The Kraken are officially the NHL’s thirty second franchise and will begin play in the 2021-2022 campaign.  Seattle paid their six-hundred fifty-million-dollar expansion fee this past Friday.

 

Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Daily Herald

As a result, the Kraken may start conducting the business of building their roster. Note that VGK paid five hundred million to join the NHL. I would guess that the NHL has VGK to thank for being able to raise the expansion fee by one hundred fifty million!

Seattle will have a strong influence over many deals made once trading opens for next season. Teams will look to make deals with Seattle to take certain players in the expansion draft, not take certain players in the expansion draft, and make deals to take on bad contracts. VGK is also a silent partner in the expansion draft as they do not have to expose any players to Seattle. VGK also does not get a piece of the expansion fee. Teams may look to make deals with VGK to get something in return for a player that they would have to expose in the expansion draft. Plenty of wheeling and dealing on the horizon!

 

The American Hockey League will not have Calder Cup Playoffs.

 

COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the financial aspect of the AHL which led to the cancelation of the playoffs. Each division may determine its own path to crown a division champion. The Pacific Division will have a tournament to determine a division champion. The Hockey Players’ Association has voiced their displeasure over the scheduling of additional games past the regular season. I am curious to see if there will be any games scheduled once the AHL regular season concludes. Personally, if there is not going to be any Calder Cup Playoffs, I am for stopping the season once the regular season concludes.

It was another rough week for the Henderson Silver Knights. The HSK roster has been a revolving door as of late due to injuries at the HSK and VGK level. Help is on the way; Peyton Krebs will return sometime this week. Krebs logged forty-three points in twenty-four games for the Winnipeg Ice in the Western Hockey League. Krebs also had five points in five games for the Silver Knights before leaving for the WHL. It will be interesting to see how Krebs does in his return to the AHL. There is an outside chance that Krebs could join the VGK roster for the playoff run.

 

I look forward to having you back in the box for another “2-Minutes with Gawlik” next week right here on Franchise Sports Media.

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Chris on Twitter @TDChrisG

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