Fantasy Take: Vegas Hires Bruce Cassidy As Head Coach

Michael Clifford

2022-06-14

The moment the Boston Bruins said they were firing head coach Bruce Cassidy, most of the hockey world seemed to agree that he would not be off an NHL bench for very long. Considering the end of his Bruins tenure came a week ago, this might be a bit faster than anyone anticipated. Regardless, the Vegas Golden Knights made it Twitter-official on Tuesday night:

The news was originally broken by reporter Kevin Weekes. My analysis of the Bruins letting Cassidy go can be found here.

Cassidy's biggest impact for Vegas will likely come on the defensive end. Over the last five seasons, Boston had the fewest goals against at 5-on-5 in the league, as well as the lowest goals against overall (per Evolving Hockey). While we can chalk up some of the elite play to having elite players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the reality is that Boston had the exact same goals against rate at 5-on-5 with those two on the ice as they did without them on the ice (per Natural Stat Trick). Boston was largely able to lock things down defensively regardless of the five-player unit being used and Vegas needs some improvement here: they were 16th by goals against at 5-on-5 in 2021-22 and 13th by expected goals against. We can chalk some of that up to injury, but they weren't an elite defensive team the year prior, either. They do have top-end offensive talent but if they're going to push themselves back into contender status, they need to work on the defensive side of the game, and Cassidy should be able to help in this respect.

To that end, from a fantasy perspective, this is great news for the goaltending tandem of