There are a little less than four weeks left in the regular season, and things are getting interesting for the Knights. Let’s get to it:
“Has the first line essentially been replaced by the second line?” — Jeff (email)
There’s a debate as to which line is the Knights’ “first” right now.
William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith were the team’s top group last season and most of this one, but they’re no longer receiving the most playing time. Mark Stone, Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty averaged 13:14 of 5-on-5 ice time in the past seven games while Karlsson, Marchessault and Smith averaged 11:37.
“I don’t think you notice (the ice time),” Stastny said. “We have two, three lines that can play against (opposing) top lines, so I think for (coach Gerard Gallant) it makes it a little bit easier to roll the lines.”
Karlsson’s line has created 46 scoring chances and allowed 25 in the past seven games, compared to 51 chances for and 40 chances against for Stastny’s line. Gallant also flipped their playing time Sunday against the Calgary Flames after giving Stastny’s line more 5-on-5 time for five straight games.
Karlsson’s line played 12:52 in the 6-3 loss while Stastny’s line played 11:49.
“Everyone is happy with their role right now and doing their job of helping this team win hockey games,” Pacioretty said. “You see us rolling four lines for an entire game and everyone contributing, and that makes for great team morale.”
“Show me a place that’s not easy to get used to for $9.5 million (average annual value) and no state (income) tax.” — @VegasPlayerGuy (Twitter)
Stone has said all the right things since arriving in Las Vegas, but it’s probably hard not to with the payday he has coming.
Stone signed an eight-year extension worth $76 million total ($9.5 million average annual value) Friday, which ties him for the 12th-highest cap hit in the NHL next season. He signed in a good spot, too, as only the Knights, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars play in locations with no state income tax.
“It’s a great city so far,” Stone said. “You have everything here. You’ve got great neighborhoods, an unbelievable practice facility. You have the downtown area, which is obviously awesome. We have an unbelievable fan base for home games, and even on the road we get tons of fans.”