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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Latest NHL Power Rankings: VGK A Multimillion-Dollar World Of Imagination

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the new year the Golden Knights haven’t been at their best. Vegas is 1-2-2 in 2022 but still managed to add four points to their Pacific Division leading 23-14-2 record. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Golden Knights dominate opponents like they did throughout the month of December, which may have changed minds across the league. When in reality, Vegas picked up four points in five games without playing up to their potential and missing a myriad of starters.

Every so often we like to check in on NHL power rankings across the league. Vegas was a preseason Top 5 team but ever since the injuries piled up they’ve mostly been stuck in double digits. According to aggregate site Power Rankings Guru, this week the Golden Knights checked in at #11.

The consensus was, Vegas had an incredible month of December but took a step back once the calendar year ended. A little dramatic if you ask me.

Let’s start with the league’s site. Vegas rounded out the top ten for the second straight week on NHL.com. Up until they’re fully healthy expect Vegas to be ranked in bottom part of the top ten.

NHL.com – #10 (Previously #10)

The Golden Knights won an NHL record 14 straight regular-season games decided in overtime before losing 5-4 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, the first time they lost in OT since Dec. 19, 2019 (5-4 at the Vancouver Canucks).

ESPN had a little fun by publishing a Disney themed NHL power rankings. Greg Wyshinski and crew went light on Vegas, only dropping them one position.

ESPN – #12 (Previously #11)

To honor this magical place, and with no small amount of corporate synergy, we’ve decided to use this week’s NHL power rankings to match all 32 teams with the Disney World attractions — rides, food, characters — that best fit their vibes.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A multimillion-dollar world of imagination that offers thrilling rides, lasting memories and the unwavering feeling that it never goes quite as far as you’d like it to go. That weird feeling in your stomach about the Golden Knights in the playoffs is not because you drank too much blue milk …

Sportsnet has routinely had Vegas outside of the top ten. One of the reasons for the lower grade is the injuries to Jack Eichel, Max Pacioretty and Alec Martinez. Once those three impact players return I’m sure SN will raise the local boys in their rankings.

Sportsnet – #12 (Previously #13)

Jonathan Marchessault is leading the Golden Knights’ goal-scoring charge with 18 – good for 10th in the NHL – and is on pace for his best statistical season yet.

Rookie Optimism Edition: The first three draft picks in Knights history — Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — have all been traded. Their fourth selection in 2017 was defenceman Nicolas Hague, who looks like a good one. No. 5 was 62nd overall pick Jake Leschyshyn, who has played 19 games with the club in his NHL debut this season. For what it’s worth, their next pick that year — third-rounder Jonas Rondbjerg — also cracked the NHL this year and has two goals in 13 games.

Out of all hockey publications SI has believed in the Golden Knights the most. Last week they had them ranked fifth overall in the league and ninth before their December run. Stephenson also impressed the printers of the Swimsuit Issue. I can only imagine how much more they’ll like him when he’s anchoring a threatening third line.

Sports Illustrated – #7 (Previously #5)

Chandler Stephenson. On Tuesday, less than halfway through the season, the 27-year-old forward reached a new career high in points with 36 in 38 appearances.

CBS and NBC Sports lost faith in the Golden Knights the most since the start of the new year. Both networks previously had Vegas in their Top 5 but dropped them significantly after a mediocre five game stretch.

CBS Sports – #10 (Previously #3)

One of the only things keeping the Golden Knights from being a well-oiled machine is their goaltending. Robin Lehner has been surprisingly leaky so far, and Laurent Brossoit has been… Laurent Brossoit. I don’t expect the former to keep struggling, so maybe Lehner finds his game after returning from injury.

Sure, Vegas’ goaltending hasn’t mirrored the success of last season however it’s rarely costing them games. Lehner’s .905 is still top ten in the league even though he’s averaging three goals allowed per 60. CBS can certainly have goaltending concerns now but we all know it’s been offensive droughts that’s eliminated the Golden Knights from past postseasons.

NBC Sports – #7 (Previously #4)

Being traded to Vegas was a career-altering move for Chandler Stephenson. He is currently their leading scorer. Vegas has lost three out of four, but every day that goes by brings us closer to Jack Eichel’s debut.

Stephenson continues to impress the rest of the league with his 0.95 points per game. The center has been a massive impact this season for Vegas. When he scores the Golden Knights are 7-3 on the season but most importantly he’s performing far above his pay grade. Once Eichel is healthy, Stephenson could be a lethal addition to the third line in the playoffs.

There’s no doubt the Golden Knights are considered a Stanley Cup contender but as for right now they’re not considered the favorite, or even close. However, the Golden Knights should be considered one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Without their stars Vegas is considered an unknown threat, but they’re secretly in the back of every contenders minds. Fully expect to see the Golden Knights in everyone’s power rankings by the end of the season.

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