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Five Reasons Why the Golden Knights Remain Stanley Cup Contenders

Despite the first-round playoff exit to the Dallas Stars, the Vegas Golden Knights aren’t hitting the panic button. Here are five compelling reasons why the Golden Knights will continue to be Stanley Cup contenders:

1. Dependable Goaltending

The duo of Adin Hill and Logan Thompson ranked 11th in goals-against average (2.96) and 10th in save percentage (.907) this past season. Although both goalies will become unrestricted free agents after next season, the Golden Knights can expect their goaltending to remain among the NHL’s best.

2. Improved Special Teams

The additions of Tomas Hertl and Noah Hanifin are set to enhance the Golden Knights’ power play. With a full training camp and preseason to integrate Hertl’s net-front presence and Hanifin’s point play, Vegas should see significant improvements. Last season, the Golden Knights’ power play ranked 20th with a 20.2% success rate, but with these upgrades and if key players like Mark Stone and Jack Eichel stay healthy, they should crack the top 10.

3. Cassidy’s Impact

Coach Bruce Cassidy’s response to the playoff loss indicates a strong commitment to returning to championship form. Expect him to experiment with line combinations throughout the summer, especially regarding the futures of Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson. Cassidy is also likely to focus on improving the penalty kill, which was mediocre at 79.5% last season. His track record suggests he’ll extract better performance from the team next season.

4. Eichel’s Peak Performance

Jack Eichel, at 27, is poised to enter the prime years of his career. He has the potential for a 40-goal, 90-point season given his skill, consistency, and determination. Health will be key, as Eichel has missed 23.2% of his games over his nine-season NHL career. If he can stay on the ice, expect a breakout season.

Five Reasons Why Golden Knights Are Still Contenders

5. Narrow Margins

The Golden Knights’ fourth-place finish might seem like a step back, but they were only one point out of third place and six points out of second. This indicates more of a minor slump than a major setback. With Hanifin on board for the full season, Vegas will boast one of the league’s top defensive units. Additionally, the Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken, Anaheim Ducks, and San Jose Sharks are unlikely to overtake Vegas by next season, and the Oilers may face significant changes depending on their playoff outcomes.

Given these factors, there’s strong reason to believe the Golden Knights will remain in contention for the Stanley Cup next season.

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