Golden Knights Analysis
Golden Knights In Yet Another Chapter Of Their Goalie Saga
The Vegas Golden Knights, even as an expansion team, have had one of the most complex goalie situatio…
The Vegas Golden Knights, even as an expansion team, have had one of the most complex goalie situations in the National Hockey League recently.
From taking future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury in the expansion draft and playing five goalies in year one, to the rough transition to Robin Lehner and the current state of the team that now has Jonathan Quick on it, Golden Knights goaltending has always been a fascinating story.
Things are about to get even more hectic as the team gears up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with four NHL goaltenders on their roster.
Here's a "quick" review of where we're at.
Robin Lehner: It was announced in August of 2022 that the VGK's starting goaltender would miss the entire 2022-23 season, recovering from hip surgery.
Laurent Brossoit: Brossoit, who also had offseason hip surgery was still recovering at the start of the season. When he was ready to come back, Logan Thompson and Adin Hill bumped him down to the AHL where he played 23 games with the Henderson Silver Knights before he was recalled in mid-Feburary after Thompson went down with an injury. Brossoit then played in three games before he got injured yet again and has missed the last 11.
Brossoit is traveling with the Golden Knights on their current three-game road trip and is expected to return from injury soon.
Logan Thompson: With both Lehner and Brossoit out to start the season, Thompson got the perfect opportunity to emerge in the NHL as a starter. For the most part, he succeeded winning 20 games and was named to the 2023 NHL All-Star Game. However on Feburary 10, Thompson left a game against the Minnesota Wild and has gone on to miss the last 17 games with a lower-body injury.
Thompson is also traveling with the Golden Knights on their current three-game road trip and is expected to return from injury soon.
Adin Hill: The Golden Knights traded for Hill in August of 2022 after the news to both Lehner and Brossoit came to pass. Hill backed up Thompson throughout most of the season playing in 27 games and winning 16. Once Thompson was injured, Hill got a little stretch of games where he was the starter, but got injured in early March. He came back to play in another game against the Florida Panthers but apparently re-injured himself and is now out.
Outside of Lehner, he is the only current Golden Knights goaltender who is not skating and is timetable is unknown.
Michael Hutchinson: The Golden Knights signed Michael Hutchinson in the offseason for goaltending depth. Although he never played in an official game for the VGK, he backed up Hill after the team lost all of Lehner, Thompson, and Brossoit. He was then traded in the deal for the next goaltender on our list.
Jonathan Quick: With so many goaltenders playing musical chairs with the net, the Golden Knights traded for Quick at the trade deadline after he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Quick is the only Golden Knights goaltender who has not been hurt this season, playing in five games and winning four.
Jiri Patera: Once Hill went down with an injury, the rookie Patera backed up Quick for a few games before being able to start, and win two games. He has since been re-assigned back to the Silver Knights with Thompson and Brossoit expected to come back on this upcoming road trip.
Golden Knights Goaltending Challenge
The Vegas Golden Knights now enter this three-game road trip with one healthy goaltender and two that are very close to being able to come back from injury. From the way head coach Bruce Cassidy has made it sound, it looks like Logan Thompson will be the first to goalie back.
"For me as long as we've got a guy in there that is playing well I'm happy… In general they have been really good, responded well, and worked hard. Eventually 'who is the guy' will have to take place," said Cassidy.
As pointed out by Cassidy, the Golden Knights are now in crunch time in the leadup to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with no true starting goaltender in place. They have 12 games remaining to potentially play all four goaltenders, three of which are coming off injury.
"The goaltending is going to play itself out here over the next three weeks to a month. Eventually we are going to have to go with a guy. But we are a ways away from that I think… We've got 12 games (left). We don't have enough to give everyone what they want, I do know that," said Cassidy.
The Golden Knights 12 remaining games feature 8 matchups against Pacific Division teams and 6 against current playoff teams.
"We're going to have to sort through that in a hurry. But let's get them each in right now before we worry about that… Let's hope LT and LB find their game, but how many starts we can give them is the tough part. I'm not that worried about it to be honest with you,"
For Cassidy, this is a unique situation and one he has never been in before despite coaching in the AHL, where guys are often traded or claimed on waivers.
"I can't imagine there are many years where five different goalies get wins for you… It's just a sign of the year. We have lived through some adversity and found a way to still win hockey games," said Cassidy.
The Golden Knights will play the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. and there we will get a peek at which goaltender is likely healthier as someone will have to backup Jonathan Quick tomorrow night.