Historically, the VGK have struggled against Minnesota. But why do they struggle so much?
Simply put; Not taking advantage of their scoring chances. Vegas has gone a staggering 0/12 on the power play in the last four games against Minnesota. The Golden Knights were once potent on the man advantage in the COVID shortened 2019-20 season, boasting a 22% power play percentage, serving as ninth best in the entire NHL. However in 2021, their power play has taken a noticeable dip. Vegas now sits 22nd in the league, with an 18% power play percentage this season. The lack of power play scoring has gone hand in hand with the one-to-two goal losses at the hands of Minnesota in the last four games.
The Golden Knights have scored a measly six goals in the four losses against Minnesota along with one shutout loss to boot. The lack of scoring is eerily similar to the scoring drought seen in last year's Playoff bubble in Edmonton. Vegas’ offense dried up during a hard-fought seven-game series against Vancouver. It also contributed to their loss in the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars.
Now, what would be an answer to these scoring woes?
Buying at the deadline.
The NHL’s trade deadline falls on April 12 this season, giving Vegas some time to find out what they need to do to improve. Bobby Ryan of the Detroit Red Wings is a solid depth piece to add to Vegas’ forward corps, seeing that the 33-year-old makes just over $1 million per year. Ryan could help the floundering power play if he rekindles his magic from his 2018-19 campaign with the Ottawa Senators, where he tallied seven goals on the power play. Ryan has seven goals and an equal seven assists for 14 points in 33 games with Detroit this year, with one of those goals coming on the man advantage.
Other more expensive options have cropped up around the league, however Vegas’ cap struggles will make any at the deadline difficult. Regardless, moves should be made.
The Golden Knights have been favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, however many fans and hockey writers alike have been declaring this iteration of the VGK do not have enough to make a Cup run. Pieces can and should be moved at the deadline to bring a fix to their struggles, specifically against Minnesota. They have been the kryptonite to Vegas, making the possibility of a playoff loss to Minnesota considerably high.
Players like Nick Holden who have been bouncing on and off waivers all season could prove useful to a team in need of defenseman to bulk up their blue line depth. Fans love Ryan Reaves and the grit he brings to the team, however he may need to be moved as well for Vegas to replicate the fourth line scoring other powerhouse teams around the league have.
What general manager Kelly McCrimmon does at the deadline is out of everyone’s control. Golden Knights fans can only hope McCrimmon makes moves and proves this skid to be a brief hiccup during the season.