Happy Thanksgiving! Before eating excessive amounts of turkey, recklessly talking politics with your father in law and tearing your family apart in the process of completing a 16-hour game of Monopoly, we all must be sure to give our thanks.
And for Vegas Golden Knights fans, there’s a whole lot to be thankful for.
Vegas currently sits atop the Pacific Division with 27 points in just 20 games and averages a ridiculous 3.6 goals per game after an impressive come-from-behind win over the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night, which, for an expansion team, is kind of amazing!
Without the following five players, though, the Golden Knights would likely be in a completely different place. And, by God, you should be thankful for each one of them.
What a year it’s been for Perron. Coming off a successful 2016-17 season with the St. Louis Blues, the 29-year-old forward is putting together arguably the best campaign of his decade-long career. Perron averages nearly a point per game with six goals and 13 helpers in 20 contests as a Golden Knight, leading all of Vegas’ skaters with 19 points. He’s also formed an adorable bromance with Jonathan Marchessault, which has become one of the best backstories of the Golden Knights’ incredible inaugural season. Perron may be a possible trade target, but it doesn’t seem like Vegas will be in much of a hurry to move him in the immediate future.
As things stand right now, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes look to be the leading candidates to land the Calder Trophy at the end of the season.
Of course, that’s assuming the league doesn’t catch on to the magnificent campaign Tuch is putting together.
The 6-foot-4, 222-pound forward has been a revelation for the Golden Knights. At just 21 years old, Tuch has managed five goals and nine points in 16 games as a Golden Knight and, as explained in our recent evaluation of Tuch’s impressive season, has become one of the most important players on Vegas’ roster. Without Tuch, it’s very fair to assume the Golden Knights wouldn’t be leading the Pacific Division.
Leipsic has been in and out of the Golden Knights’ lineup all season, so you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world should I be thankful for him?”
Well, despite recording just six points (all assists) in 12 games, the Golden Knights have a 10-1-1 record with Leipsic in the lineup.
Surprising, right? It shouldn’t be.
Leipsic currently ranks third on the Golden Knights with a 53.75 Corsi For percentage at even strength, which basically means that Vegas is more likely to register shots on goal with him on the ice then when he’s on the bench. The 23-year-old has proven himself as a dynamic play driver and his presence, to this point, is paying dividends for Vegas.
Need I say more? Karlsson recorded his 10th goal of the season (a career-high) against the Kings Wednesday night and is playing like an All-Star.
From our own Danny Webster in his recent profile on Karlsson’s unparalleled start:
Karlsson, by all accounts (and through his own admission), is playing the best hockey of his young career right now. That comes as no shock considering it took Karlsson 10 games to match last season’s goal total (six), which took him 81 games to reach with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Karlsson recorded a career-high in points during the 2016-17 season with 25. Less than two months into the 2017-18 campaign, it’s looking like he could easily double that point total. Insanity.
Schmidt, the Golden Knights’ leader in ice time, has already become a fan favorite in Vegas. The 26-year-old’s 10 points ranks second amongst all Golden Knights blueliners and he, along with (shockingly) Luca Sbisa, has helped keep opposing team’s top playmakers in check all season.
And he’s easily the most fun player on Vegas’ roster.
Nate Schmidt decided he had enough questions from @GaryLawless. So he stole his mic and conducted his own interview about Thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/Dh3YhCbo9c— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 22, 2017
Seriously, just put this guy in the Golden Knights’ ring of honor right now.
From the KOI family to yours, enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends, family and loved ones. No matter where you are.