The Vegas Golden Knights have one game remaining in the regular season and still have no starting goaltender set in stone for the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's been a chaotic season for goaltenders, and whichever goaltender plays for the VGK will certainly affect the NHL spreads.
Here's a comprehensive review of where we're at with the Golden Knight's goaltending, player by player.
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. Lehner has also gotten into some trouble off the ice, filing for bankruptcy and being accused of fraud.
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 level, where he played 23 games with the Henderson Silver Knights. He was recalled in mid-Feburary after Thompson went down with an injury. Brossoit then played in three games before he got injured again, missed 13 games, and then returned. Now, Brossoit has played in four games since his injury, winning every one.
Right now, it looks like Brossoit is the most likely candidate to start game one of the playoffs, given his health, and recent success.
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 February 10, Thompson left a game against the Minnesota Wild and then missed 18 straight games. He returned on March 23 against the Calgary Flames and re-injured himself.
Thompson is currently practicing with the VGK and could return from injury soon.
Adin Hill: The Golden Knights traded for Hill in August of 2022 after the news to both Lehner and Brossoit. 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 then 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.
Most recently, Hill is back skating and played one game with the Henderson Silver Knights on a conditioning assignment.
Michael Hutchinson: The Golden Knights signed Michael Hutchinson in the offseason for goaltending depth. He never played in an official game for the VGK, but 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, 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 nine games and winning five.
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 but then got injured himself. The VGK then signed Jesper Vikman for HSK goalie depth.
If you were to ask me who I think the Golden Knights will start in game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs right now, I would say Laurent Brossoit. There are plenty of things that LB has that other goaltenders on the team do not have right now. The main two are health and consistency.
Brossoit, while only playing in a handful of games for the team this season, has yet to lose a game in regulation, going 6-0-3 this season. He's been the most consistent goaltender in terms of reliability and giving the team a chance to win as of late.
It's clear that head coach Bruce Cassidy has the most faith in Brossoit right now, giving him the start in seven of the last nine games. He even chose to start Brossoit against the Los Angeles Kings, opting out of playing Jonathan Quick despite his history with the franchise.
Brossoit has responded with four straight wins and has given the team a glimpse of stable goaltending that they have craved all season.
"He has helped his cause every time he has been in the net, I'll say that. He's not, I won't say, the healthiest, because Quick is healthy too, but has played the most recently and is the closest to being on top of his game. I like where he is at," said Cassidy.
While Cassidy can vouch for Brossoit's strong play, he has yet to name a starter for the playoffs, or even Thursday, for that matter. With so many moving parts, Cassidy, goalie coach Sean Burke, and the VGK coaching staff are taking things one day at a time.
"We know we've got two guys we can put in there, the other guys are still working themselves back. But we don't even know who we are going to put in Thursday yet, which is a very important game," said Cassidy.
The motivation for Brossoit is also there. He spent most of the season in the AHL, recovering from injury and just waiting for the right chance to re-enter the NHL. There was no doubt that LB would return to the NHL level, the question was just when and where.
Now, the Golden Knights have the spot for him, and Brossoit has been making his case to be the starter for the start of the playoffs.