Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 4:30 PM EST
10:35 PM EST. OT included. The Vegas Golden Knights made their first trade deadline acquisition as part of a three-way transaction Friday, retaining part of Derick Brassard's salary and trading prospect Tobias Lindberg to get a fourth-round pick and Ryan Reaves. WTF? The Golden Knights need Ryan Reaves because why? Is it because he’s a tough guy for the playoffs? The dying breed of tough guys are somewhat valuable to protect superstars like Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid but not guys like James Neal or Jonathan Marchessault.
Reaves will now get playing time over talented young wingers like Tomas Hyka and Brendan Leipsic (updated note is that Leipsic was traded today) who are already having enough trouble cracking the lineup. Reaves has eight points in 58 games this season. He has never recorded more than 13 points in a season and averages 7:51 of ice time throughout his career. He’s also never played more than one minute on the penalty kill in a single season. This year, he has no time on ice, exactly zero seconds, on the penalty kill. The Knights' fourth line? They're penalty killers and Reaves does not fit that profile. So where exactly will be play? This appears to us to be some ridiculous move by the Knights and the first chink in their armour. You know...if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ll see how it plays out but we doubt this move can energize anyone or improve the team, especially when Reaves goes out there and takes a two-minute goon penalty like he inevitably will. This will be the Knights first game since the acquisition and while it’s not a major deal, it adds a less skilled player into the lineup when deserving players are out.
As for the current state of the Knights, well, they just keep on keepin’ on. Vegas has won two in a row and five of six. They have scored 13 times over their past two games so their stock is soaring once again but it’s not all peaches and cream and it’s not sustainable either. We’re not here to discredit what this franchise has accomplished but massive luck has played a role too. The Knights have drawn two minor penalties or less in seven straight games and rank 27th in the league in xGF/60 over that stretch. They have scored 19 goals on 82 shots on net over their past three victories, which is close to a 25% shooting percentage. The league average is around 9%. They’ve also dropped down in their Corsi numbers over the past five weeks too. We could write lots more about the Knights extreme puck luck that has not let up all season but the above is a sample of it. It’s very simply not sustainable.
The Knights’ story and success has really taken on a life of its own. When it’s over and no matter how it ends this season, it’s going to be one of the great sports stories in history. That’s nice and we love a great story as much as the next guy but we’re more interested in an opportunity than a story. In that regard, the prices on the Knights are becoming silly already. Two games ago at home the Kings were -124 over Dallas (with Jeff Carter back, no less) but today they’re a much smaller price against Vegas. One month ago, the Kings were -135 at home against Pittsburgh and today they’re much less against the Knights. Yeah, we can lose but we’ll repeat that the prices on Vegas are getting out of hand and therefore they must be faded. The Vegas pot has been stirred a bit so the timing might be good too.
Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks
LOS ANGELES -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)