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With Paul Stastny injured long-term, Nate Schmidt suspended for 14 more games, and Vegas off to a slow 2-4-0 start, it's easy to see why some are concerned about the Golden Knights. I'm still pretty optimistic about their playoff chances, though.
They deserve much better results than they've garnered so far (very ironic, I know). In ~300 minutes of 5v5 play, the Golden Knights have recorded 103 more shot attempts, 32 more chances, and 15 more high-danger chances than their opponents. And yet they've been out-scored 14-8 in that game state – largely due to an unsustainably low shooting percentage (5.23) and save percentage (88.8%).
They've consistently controlled the run of play and have once again been very disciplined (they rank 2nd in penalties taken per 60 minutes). If that continues, it's only a matter of time before they start to get some results.
The Golden Knights should definitely be concerned about their slow start. The salary cap almost guarantees that there will be only a couple points difference between 8th and 12th, so missing out on early season points is always going to hurt.
However, while they shouldn't ignore the fact that they're losing, they seem to be putting up some solid underlying numbers - for example, they are the current fourth best possession team in the league and have heavily outshot their opponents.
Their team 5v5 shooting percentage is only 5% and their only getting 88% goaltending. These numbers are pretty much a guarantee to go up eventually.
So while it's worrisome that they are losing, due to the closeness of the standings brought on by parity, the odds are that they turn it around and start to win more than they lose.
As long as the cold streak doesn't last too long, it'd be tough to bet against such a strong 5v5 team to miss the playoffs. (Assuming they keep it up).
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick and Corsica.Hockey.
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