Offense has been the biggest struggle for the Vegas Golden Knights (34-28-4, 72 points) as they have gone two games without scoring a goal. They will look to not only fix this but earn an essential two points against the Nashville Predators (37-23-4, 78 points) Thursday night at home.
One guy that could help the Golden Knights in their offensive efforts is Evgenii Dadonov, who has had an eventful week, to say the least. General manager Kelly McCrimmon tried to trade Dadonov at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline to the Anaheim Ducks (keyword- tried).
The NHL voided the deal Wednesday as Dadonov’s 10-team no-trade list was not honored by the Golden Knights. He remains a Vegas Golden Knight and will likely play tonight.
Here’s the best analogy of the Dadonov situation I found.
Imagine your parents put you up for adoption without notice so they can adopt another child they like more.
But then you show back up at home with a legally binding contract that says you can’t be put up for adoption.
And they can only afford to feed one of you.
— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) March 23, 2022
Dadonov will not be the only scoring winger the Golden Knights will bring back into their lineup against the Predators. Max Pacioretty skated Thursday morning and is listed as a game-time decision.
Jonas Rondbjerg, Daniil Miromanov, Zack Hayes, and Paul Cotter have all been reassigned to the AHL.
Laurent Brossoit was absent from morning skate and Jiri Patera skated as a backup goaltender. DeBoer stated that Brossoit was able to backup Logan Thompson the last few games, but now has an injury that has reached a point where he cannot anymore so Patera will serve as backup.
DeBoer also said that Brayden McNabb and Robin Lehner are the two closest players to returning for the Golden Knights on the injury front, outside of Zach Whitecloud and Michael Amadio who are in COVID protocols. Mark Stone and Reilly Smith are still a ways out from returning per DeBoer.
Keys to the Game
Water Under the Bridge
The Evgenii Dadonov situation is certainly unique, and something we have never seen in the NHL. But for Dadonov and the Golden Knights, this issue should be water under the bridge entering Thursday’s game. While things may be a little awkward between Dadonov, his agent, and management, his play on the ice and relationship with his teammates should not be affected.
Dadonov was essentially robbed of two games from his NHL career. He wasn’t injured, he was just in a state of limbo that should have never happened it resulted from bad management on behalf of two different NHL teams.
“If there is anyone who can handle this situation, it is him,” said head coach Peter DeBoer on Dadonov.
Before this strange scenario, Dadonov scored five goals in his last seven games. The Golden Knights need Dadonov to come back and put up these numbers again in his re-debut with the VGK.
Games at Hand
One thing that might come back and bite the Golden Knights was their late-December/early January schedule when the NHL postponed over 100 games due to COVID-19. The Golden Knights only had four of their games postponed, and have since been at the top of the NHL in overall games played.
This means that the Golden Knights have no margin for error during the stretch run to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Teams that are battling the VGK in the Western Conference playoff push such as the Dallas Stars (4 games), Edmonton Oilers (2 games), Nashville Predators (2 games), and LA Kings (1 game) all have games at hand on the Golden Knights.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Evgenii Dadonov- Jack Eichel- Nicolas Roy
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson- Keegan Kolesar
Mattias Janmark- Chandler Stephenson- William Carrier
Jake Leschyshyn- Brett Howden- Nolan Patrick
Ben Hutton- Alex Pietrangelo
Shea Theodore- Dylan Coghlan
Zack Hayes- Daniil Miromanov
Logan Thompson/Jiri Patera
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
18.13% Powerplay (26th) and 78.75% Penalty Kill (18th)
PP1: Eichel, Stephenson, Marchessault, Karlsson, Theodore
PP2: Patrick, Stephenson, Roy, Coghlan, Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Roy, Pietrangelo, Hutton
PK2: Stephenson, Leschyshyn, Theodore, Coghlan
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Alec Martinez (face), Mark Stone (back), Brayden McNabb (hand), Max Pacioretty (undisclosed), Reilly Smith (knee), Robin Lehner (lower-body), Laurent Brossoit (unknown), Nicolas Hague (unknown), Michael Amadio (COVID), Zach Whitecloud (COVID)
Projected Nashville Predators Line Combinations
Filip Forsberg- Ryan Johansen- Matt Duchene
Eeli Tolvanen- Mikael Granlund- Luke Kunin
Yakov Trenin- Colton Sissons- Tanner Jeannot
Nick Cousins- Michael McCarron- Philip Tomasino
Romas Josi- Alex Carrier
Mattias Ekholm- Jeremy Lauzon
Mark Borowiecki- Matt Tennyson
Juuse Saros/David Rittich
Nashville Predators Special Teams
24.50% Powerplay (6th) and 80.45% Penalty Kill (12th)
PP1- Johansen, Granlund, Duchene, Forsberg, Josi
PP2- Cousins, Sissons, Tomasino, Tolvanen, Ekholm
PK1- Sissons, Jeannot, Borowiecki, Carrier
PK2- Granlund, Trenin, Josi, Ekholm
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Matt Benning, Dante Fabbro
How to Watch/Listen
7:00 pm on At&t Sportsnet, ESPN+, and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.