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31 in 31

Vegas Golden Knights key statistics

Karlsson shooting percentage vital; Miller scoring on rise

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Vegas Golden Knights.


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1. Reaching new heights

The Vegas Golden Knights had an NHL-high 12 players who set single-season NHL career highs in points last season.

Center William Karlsson had the biggest improvement, increasing from 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 81 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016-17 to 78 points (43 goals, 35 assists) in 82 games for the Golden Knights. His 53-point improvement was the greatest increase among those who played at least 25 NHL games in 2016-17 and is tied for the sixth-largest increase of players who fit that criteria in the past 20 seasons.

The key for Karlsson was a big increase in shooting percentage. Based on his previous career shooting percentage of 7.9 percent in the American Hockey League and 7.7 percent in the NHL, Karlsson would have been expected to score 14 goals on 184 shots in 2017-18. Instead, he scored 43, with an NHL-high shooting percentage of 23.4 percent.

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2. Miller time

Colin Miller led Vegas defensemen with 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists), up from 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 61 games for the Boston Bruins in 2016-17. That increase ranked second among NHL defensemen who played at least 25 games in 2016-17, behind John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, who improved by 31 points in 2017-18 (68 points, up from 37).

Since his NHL debut in 2015-16, the Bruins and Golden Knights have outshot opponents 2,712-2,114 in 5-on-5 shot attempts with Miller on the ice, for a SAT of plus-598 that ranks 20th in the NHL, and Miller's teams have increased their share of shot attempts from 50.39 percent to 56.20 percent, for a relative SAT of plus-5.81 percent that ranks ninth among those to play at least 20 NHL games over the past three seasons.


3. In full bloom

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had an NHL career-best .927 save percentage last season, which ranked sixth among the 56 NHL goalies who played at least 20 games. That's up from .909 in 2016-17, which ranked 41st of the 54 goalies to play at least 20 games. That improvement of .018 was the fifth largest among those to play at least 20 games in each season.

His save percentage was .031 higher than the combined .896 save percentage of Vegas' four other goalies, which was the second-largest gap behind Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes (.041). Fleury's .738 save percentage in the shootout ranks 10th among the 60 active NHL goalies to face at least 20 attempts.

Vegas' .828 shootout save percentage in 2017-18 ranked third in the NHL, but its shootout shooting percentage of 20.7 percent ranked 29th. That may be one reason Vegas re-signed forward Brandon Pirri, who is 10 for 19 in the shootout; he's the only player on the roster with more than two career shootout attempts that has a career shootout percentage above 30 percent (52.6 percent).

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