The Vegas Golden Knights head into the 2021-22 NHL season as the second favorite to take home the Stanley Cup. The Golden Knight are -650 at BetMGM to win the pro hockey championship. Vegas’ odds are only behind that of the rival Colorado Avalanche, at -500.
The Golden Knights are coming off another great season in 2020-201. Well, it would be great for most teams, but the bar has been set high for the Golden Knights that fans some were let down despite reaching the Stanley Cup semifinals.
Vegas won a league-best 40 games with 82 points during the strange, shortened season that was realigned due to COVID-19. Last year, the Golden Knights had 191 goals and only gave up 128. The latter was the best in the NHL. Key to the team’s playoff run was no doubt its league-leading penalty kill percentage of 86.8%.
The 2020-21 season was good but not perfect as the Golden Knights fell short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, courtesy of a surprising series win by the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals. Just Win Baby isn’t just the mantra of the Las Vegas Raiders.
This season will have a similar schedule to NHL seasons prior to the coronavirus pandemic. And Vegas is moving forward with a new starter between the pipes.
Golden Knights move on from fan favorite in goal
The biggest change for the Vegas Golden Knights this season begins in goal. Fan favorite and Vezina Trophy winner Marc Andre Fleury was shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks during the offseason.
Robin Lehner, who shared starting goaltender duties last year, will be unchallenged as the starting keeper this season. Lehner is no slouch, to be sure. He was a Vezina Trophy finalist with the New York Islanders in 2019.
While Fleury is a fan favorite and well accomplished, the trade had little to no effect on betting odds. Earlier this year, Jeff Davis, assistant sportsbook manager at Circa Sports, told PlayNevada:
“I would say the move would shorten their price if we were going to move it. It frees up cap space to sign a bigger name forward. The difference in price in a one-game situation between Fleury and Lehner isn’t more than a few pennies.”
Lehner was in goal for 13 Golden Knights wins in 19 starts last season. The outspoken goaltender will have to improve on his middling 2020-2021 season. His goals-against average was a solid 2.29 but the save percentage of .913 was mediocre at best.
Lehner’s performance this year could be the key to the Golden Knights having the best defense in the league and returning to the Stanley Cup Final once again.
Golden Knights offense looks familiar
While much of the offensive players remain intact, the Golden Knights traded Ryan Reeves to the New York Rangers for a draft pick during the off-season.
The top two lines for the Golden Knights will look familiar. Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stevenson will start the season as the first line. Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson will hold down the second line.
The will be a change with the addition of Nolan Patrick centering the third line to start the season. The former Philadelphia Flyer was the number two pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. While he didn’t live up to his potential in Philadelphia, there are hopes he can turn things around in Las Vegas.
Coincidentally (or not), Patrick played for Kelly McCrimmon, now general manager of the Knights, with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League. The move could be a major with for the Golden Knights if Patrick can show the same form in Vegas as he did when he played for then-coach McCrimmon.
Former Ottawa Senators forward Evgenii Dadonov looks to jump back to his Florida Panthers days as he joins the Golden Knights as well. He could also add a boost to the offense this season — specifically on the power play.
Payton Krebs made his NHL debut last year and is looking to make the Golden Knights roster to start the 2021-2022 season. He’s off to a good start with four points this preseason.
Golden Knights team, player betting odds for 2021-2022 NHL season
Sometimes a team is greater than its individual parts. The Golden Knights are a good example of that. Vegas is favored to win the Pacific Division at BetMGM. In fact, there’s only one team with better odds to win the Western Conference and Stanley Cup.
- To win Western Conference: +300 (Avalanche better at +210)
- Win Pacific Division: -165 (favorite)
- To win Stanley Cup Championship: +750 (Avalanche better at +600)
Meanwhile, the individual players all have fairly long odds to win awards this season.
- Hart Trophy (MVP): Mark Stone +5000, Max Pacioretty +5000, Robin Lehner +4000, Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Pietrangelo +8000
- Vezina Trophy (Best goalkeeper): Robin Lehner +1600
- Calder Trophy (Best rookie): Peyton Krebs + 5000
- James Norris (Best defense): Alex Pietrangelo +2000, Alec Martinez +6600
Nevada Gaming Control has a limit to which awards sportsbooks can offer for betting. BetMGM has a couple more awards betting options for anyone outside of Nevada. If anyone was compelled to place these wagers, they can cross the border into Arizona and sign up online for a new non-Nevada BetMGM account.
- Jack Adams Trophy (Best coach): Peter DeBoer +1600
- Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (Most points): Max Pacioretty +2500, Mark Stone +4000
Opening night odds
The season is ready to get underway with the Golden Knights kicking off the season at home against the newest NHL expansion team, the Seattle Kraken.
Unsurprisingly, the Golden Knights remain huge favorites for that Tuesday night matchup.
- Moneyline: -245
- Puckline: -1.5 (-130)
- Total: 5.5 (Under even/Over +110)
Let’s drop the puck on another season of hockey in Vegas.