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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Could Face Tough Goaltending Decisions Soon

Through 34 games, the Vegas Golden Knight's inexperienced goaltending tandem of Logan Thompson and Adin Hill has been strong. The duo took over with…



Through 34 games, the Vegas Golden Knight's inexperienced goaltending tandem of Logan Thompson and Adin Hill has been strong. The duo took over with unfortunate hip injuries to Golden Knights starting goaltender Robin Lehner and backup Laurent Brossoit.

But the team can't score at home, which has put more pressure on both Thompson and Hill to have near-perfect games. In both of the team's most recent losses, head coach Bruce Cassidy addressed his goaltending by stating that the team would need more big saves to win games.

"I think we could have better at managing the puck, and you also need saves at times, especially if the other guy is making them," Cassidy said after a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders, which Logan Thompson played in. The Islanders scored two empty-net goals in that game.

Cassidy echoed his goaltending comments after a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, which Adin Hill played in, saying that the team might have had enough offense to win the game in a close battle.

"Tonight could have been enough (two goals) to win; it really could have. We could have gotten the six-on-five goal, and if we got one more save now you're into overtime. So there's a little bit of that. We need a few more saves here if we are not going to score; that's just the way it is," Cassidy said.

The Golden Knights have not scored more than two goals in their last seven home games. It's certainly an issue, but given that Hill and Thompson are not Martin Brodeur, they really can't do much to improve the offense other than being confident and supportive.

"I mean, like, other than stopping the puck; you can try and show confidence in your team. We know we can score in this room like it's nothing. Just look at our roster; we obviously have guys that can put the puck in the net. Just some bounces aren't going our way, or we run into a hot goalie, right? All I can do is just focus on my job and have confidence in the team, and train them to have confidence, said Hill.

"It's obviously magnified right now. I think everyone needs to settle down. We're a first-place team. You know, I feel like every year since I have been a part of this organization, we go through a slump not scoring goals. So I think it's better just to get it out of the way. We are working the past 2-3 games, and we have had a lot of chances. But credit to the other team's goalies. We are working away," Thompson added.

Perhaps the main reason the team's goaltending has been under the spotlight recently is the play of Laurent Brossoit with the Henderson Silver Knights. Brossoit was assigned to Henderson in mid-November for a conditioning stint but has since stayed in the minors, given the VGK already have a tandem.

Most recently, Brossoit was named the AHL player of the week as he put up back-to-back shutouts with the HSK. 

Given that Brossoit is an NHL-level goaltender with over 100 games of NHL experience, it is only a matter of time before he makes it back into the NHL. But with what team is the true question. The Golden Knights have three NHL-caliber goaltenders this season with Thompson, Hill, and Brossoit. 

Someone will have to go at the NHL level, whether it be a trade, demotion to the minors or placement on waivers.

Thompson seems like the most likely candidate to stay in the NHL, given his strong play. Even with his struggles, he is up there with Pyotr Kochetkov as a Calder-worthy NHL goaltender this season. He has three years left on his contract worth $766K, which could make him easier to send down to the minors, yes, but he is the only NHL goalie outside of Lehner that has more than one year left on his deal.

The Golden Knights have both Brossoit and Hill as pending UFAs. Hill takes up $2.175 million and Brossoit $2.325 million. It will likely be a contest between the two to see who will become the team's permanent backup position. Brossoit is ready for his shot, and Hill doesn't want to get rid of his.

Sean Burke, Bruce Cassidy, and Kelly McCrimmon will be forced to make a tough decision here soon.