Wild West Summer Series 2018: Las Vegas



I suppose we are officially into preseason at this point, but for continuity’s sake we can keep calling it the summer series. This week we are taking a look at Las Vegas. Vegas has been at the center of a few trades recently so if you want the most up to date projections make sure you grab Dobber’s Fantasy Guide. Cam also had a great look at Eastern Conference right wings in the Eastern Edge Series so check that out.


* * Buy the 13th annual DobberHockey Fantasy Guide here – always updated and you can download immediately * * 


The idea for these columns to compare end of 2017-18 Fantasy Hockey Geek rankings for individual players with an expected ranking based on their average draft positions from the start of the year. This process does not necessarily identify who was the most important player to each team but gives us not only an idea of who was a steal/bust on draft day, but where each player was valued going into this season. I will also be adding some thoughts on whether or not that is the new normal for the player in question and if we should be adjusting our draft positions. For a deeper dive on each team plus full projections make sure to get your copy of Dobber’s Fantasy Guide, out now!


And now for the technical details. We will be using the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool to get a ranking that combines all of a player’s stats for the searched categories. Like for the previous series, the ranks are based on a 12 team, head-to-head league, using the categories of goals, assists, power play points, shots, hits and blocks for forwards/defensemen and wins, saves, save percentage and goals against average for goalies. Player eligibility for this series is based on Yahoo, and draft ranks are based on average draft positions compiled from Yahoo, ESPN and CBS by FantasyPros.


Las Vegas



The Vegas Golden Knights started their inaugural season with a bang, taking advantage of the Vegas Flu and winning eight of their first nine games. The regression never kicked in and the took the NHL by storm finish atop the Pacific Division with 109 points and charging all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.




 [insert team roster here]


Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith:

There has been a ton of ink on the Golden Knights as a whole, and on this line in particular. These three were the archetype of the ‘Golden Misfits.’ All were players who spent their previous seasons buried on other team’s lineups. In Vegas though they finally had the opportunity to show the NHL what they could do. They exploded for career highs across the board. In this case it was clearly all about opportunity, top deployment and a chip on their shoulder was all they needed.


The big question is what to do for next season. The Golden Knights certainly improved their forward depth adding Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty, and we don’t exactly yet know what that means for their lines. There is certainly a case to be made to keep Marchessault, Karlsson, and Smith to stay together, but it isn’t a guarantee. The danger with these three, and several other Golden Knights is their draft position. Part of their incredible value in 2017-18 was that they were waiver wire adds who produced 70 point paces. Now they are one of somewhere around 50 players with at least that potential and they are highly recognized names. For 2018-19 Marchessault and Karlsson are being drafted in rounds 5-6 (in standard 12 team leagues), while Smith is falling to the 10th round. The concern here is the price, and given there are at least 10 players with similar potential being drafted after them, it is one that I am not sure I will be paying in 2018-19.


Colin Miller:

While much of the above description can be applied to the whole team I wanted to take a brief look at Colin Miller.  We already know he was a value pick, and there he is, the 79th ranked player in the league and the 27th ranked defensemen. Those ranked around him have an average draft position of 136, while Miller was not drafted.


Morgan Rielly




Dougie Hamilton




Colin Miller




Dion Phaneuf




Colton Parayko





Miller was coming off of a reasonably successful season with the Bruins, though with very few minutes. That changed when he reached Vegas and, as is the case with the rest of the team, showed he was worth the investment.


Games Played




Points/ Game




PPlay Points













It is not a wonder he saw career highs across the board when he increased his total time on ice by an average of four minutes a game, and added a minute to his average power play time.


For 2018-19 he does have some competition from Shea Theodore, who started taking some of the power play one duties toward the end of the season. That could be a bit worrisome as 17 of Miller’s 41 points came on the power play. On the plus side though, the additions of Stastny and Pacioretty could provide enough forwards to ice a strong second, or 1B power play unit. If that were the case it could give both Theodore and Miller a good power play option to work with. He also also has strong hit, and decent shot numbers. He is currently being drafted relatively late (14th round) according to data from Yahoo, so even if is sees a slight drop in points he could still provide some value at that position through his hits and shots.




So given the incredible success of this team, it was a little hard to pinpoint some disappointments. There are certainly two players I would like to bring up, but as neither are still with the team it seems just a little unfair.


Vadim Shipachyov:

Shipachyov was Vega’s big splash before the expansion draft. He was an older KHL star who many thought would anchor the team’s top line. He was draft 173rd overall and as much as there were expectations for anyone on Vegas before the season began, they were on Shipachyov. Apparently he less than impressed though seeing only three games in October before jumping ship to return to the KHL. It does not appear that he will return so don’t draft him and let that mistake just fade into the history books.


Tomas Tatar:

 Vegas traded for Tatar at the trade deadline and the hockey community wondered if the fabled Vegas magic would rub off on him too. The well seemed dry though as he managed to scrape only six points through the final 20 games and was a healthy scratch in much of the playoffs. The most useful thing he accomplished for the Golden Knights was as a bargaining chip that landed them Pacioretty. Pacioretty on the Vegas is certainly something I am interested in for 2018-19, Tatar on the Canadiens is not.


Thanks for reading.


Next week: Winnipeg


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