1. Can William Karlsson rediscover the Golden touch?
One of the biggest stories of the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural year was no doubt center William Karlsson, who was a bottom-six grinder with the Columbus Blue Jackets, before completely flourishing in Sin City.
Karlsson looked like a new man with the Golden Knights, carving out career-highs in almost every category as he recorded 78 points (43 G, 35 A) in 82 regular-season games.
All of a sudden, the Vegas Golden Knights had their franchise center.
Developing into one of the best two-way centers in the game and earning votes for the Selke Trophy in his first two seasons with the Knights, Karlsson can do everything and he’s also a lot of fun to watch.
However, the forward’s production dipped in 2018-19, which was to be expected, but he regressed again last year with just 46 points (15 G, 31 A) in 63 regular-season games, before struggling in the postseason.
Karlsson was inconsistent in 2019-20 and endured a few cold spells, and some had wondered whether he had reached his offensive peak in 2017-18.
But, likely to start the 2020-21 NHL season back with his two partners in crime in Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault after spending chunks of last year between Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, there is every chance that Karlsson can benefit from being back with two players he shares insane chemistry with.
As a result, don’t be surprised if the 28-year-old has a real bounce-back year.
After all, he has still done everything else to a high-level even when he’s dipped offensively and, with an absolute stud on the backend in Alex Pietrangelo who is likely to only create more opportunities for his forwards, Karlsson could really feast on what is an average West Division after the big three in Vegas, the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues.
So, if William Karlsson can rediscover the Golden touch that made him such an offensive threat in 2017-18, then that is just another reason to add to the list as to why the Vegas Golden Knights could be unstoppable in 2020-21.