If you are a big fan of the Vegas Golden Knights like I am, then you know the usual suspects who are expected to lead the team in scoring. But, who are the unsung heroes on the team who could end up being the difference makers who surprise everyone during the 2022-2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Every playoff season, there seems to be a third or fourth line player who raises his game to a new level during the quest for the Stanley Cup. His name will be up there amongst the superstars of the game who everyone expects to shine during the “second season.” On the Vegas Golden Knights, we expect Captain Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Chandler Stephenson and William Karlsson to be up there amongst the team leaders in scoring. On defense, we expect Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo to be the top scorers. Which player on the roster might surprise us and sneak into the top five in scoring?
Well, it is usually someone who gets some ice time during the power plays. During the playoffs, every team amps up their defensive play. The referees tend to call only the most obvious infractions and let more hooking, holding and interference go without calling a penalty. They expect the players to “skate through” the extra tough defensive tactics. Plus, during a seven game series, each team learns their opponent’s tendencies and is better able to defend against them. All of this attention to defense tends to make playoff games lower scoring than in the regular season.
So, special teams become even more important during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If one of the five players below gets some extra ice time during power plays, or is able to break through the other team’s defensive tactics, he may outpace some of the Golden Knights’ star players to shine during the playoffs. Take a look below and see if you agree.