Alex Tuch has been one of the Vegas Golden Knights’ best players throughout the regular season. He finished tied for third in goals for the team during the regular season while averaging third-line minutes. His production rate and commitment to both sides of the puck saw him getting more opportunities higher on the depth chart when the Golden Knights suffered an injury.
Now, with the playoffs in full swing, Tuch has managed to not only continue his dominant play but expand on it. With Max Pacioretty out of the lineup, Tuch has been slotted into the first-line left wing position. So far, he has made the most of it.
New Line, Same Results
When the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, Tuch was originally slated to stay on the third line with his usual linemates. Mattias Janmark was given the opportunity on the top unit with Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson. However, with the lack of offense in Game 1, head coach Peter DeBoer decided to switch up the lines for the next game.
This saw Tuch be promoted to the first-line, and the results almost came instantly. In his first game playing with this line, Tuch scored twice and was credited with the game-winning goal. During Game 2, he also had more ice-time and was featured on the penalty kill and at the ending of the game when the Minnesota Wild were making their final push. He would also go on to score a highlight-reel goal in Game 4.
However, his move to the top unit is not only beneficial to himself. Both of Tuch’s new linemates are finding themselves at the top of the stat sheet. Stone is currently leading the team in points with four in four games, while Stephenson is close behind with three points of his own. So far, this line has combined for 10 points in the three games they have played together. So even with their main scorer out of the lineup, the Golden Knights have found a suitable replacement moving forward.
Tuch’s Playoff History
Although it may seem like Tuch broke through in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he has a good track record of producing in the postseason. In his career, he has 27 points in 51 games. He has 18 goals and nine power-play points as well. From his first season in the NHL to now, he has found a way to raise his game for the playoffs. This is quite impressive as he is only 25-years-old and has less than five full years of experience in the NHL.
One remarkable part of Tuch’s postseason stats is that he is able to produce at about the same rate as he does during the regular season. Over his career, he has a point per game average of .55, while in the playoffs, it is .52. This is interesting when taking into consideration that he was playing on the third-line during the majority of that time.
Another noticeable stat is his playoff shooting percentage. As of right now, Tuch currently is scoring on 14.2% of all his shots in the postseason. This is four points higher than his current regular-season percentage. This could mean that he is either being more selective with his shots or positioning himself in higher scoring areas and finishing on his chances. Also, his S% has increased in each postseason, excluding 2018-19, when the Golden Knights were eliminated in the first round. This shows his progression as a player into one of Vegas’ top scoring options. This is also furthered by the fact that he is currently the all-time leading playoff goal scorer in Golden Knights franchise history.
As it would seem, Tuch will be a feature on the first-line for the time being. With Pacioretty’s status still up in the air, it seems like it will be Tuch’s time to shine. Looking at his career numbers, he should be a consistent player on both ends of the ice. Also, there is the chance that his scoring numbers increase due to the increased ice-time. Overall, his playoff track record should have Vegas very excited for his and the team’s future.