The Vegas Golden Knights enter the 2023-24 season with two starting-caliber goaltenders. Logan Thompson performed at an all-star level prior to multiple injuries. Adin Hill had a remarkable playoff run that led the Golden Knights to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Vegas Hockey Now asked coach Bruce Cassidy if he had a plan in mind for the goaltenders, “How we divide up their starts? Let’s get through training camp healthy and then we will make a decision who is going to play a little bit more or if it’s going to be split equally. We’re not playing one guy 60 games, I can promise you that. Will one play more than the other? That will be decided down the road by how they play. I don’t think one will play a lot more than the other.”
This is Cassidy’s way of saying there will be a competition for starts, but he does not want to overuse either goaltender.
The Golden Knights had an ace in the hole with Laurent Brossoit last season. With Thompson and Hill both injured down the stretch, Brossoit went 7-0-3. Brossoit performed well in the playoffs going 5-2 before getting injured. The Golden Knights did not offer Brossoit a contract extension and the 30-year-old signed with the Winnipeg Jets.
The ace in the hole this season for the Golden Knights is Jiri Patera, and his two NHL starts.
Vegas Hockey Now asked Kelly McCrimmon about the confidence level at the goaltending position in the event Thompson or Hill miss an extended period of time, “It was interesting last year, we had no goaltending injuries for 54 or 55 games, and then we had a number of them. This year we got Logan and Adin coming in healthy, feeling at the top of their game. We did get a chance to evaluate Jiri Patera in NHL games. Of course, you get to see the players in the American Hockey League. When you get a chance, whether it was Pavel Dorofeyev, Kaedan Korczak, Braden Pachal. The guys that get to come up and play NHL games. It really helps paint a picture in your mind of what their capabilities and potential might be. I think we liked what we saw with Jiri and he’s the No. 3 goalie in our situation and if we had an injury, he’d be called on.”
Patera made a positive impression in his two NHL starts last season and McCrimmon is comfortable having him as the No. 3 goalie in the organization.
The Golden Knights have 160 games of regular season experience and 16 games of playoff experience at the goaltender position entering this season. The lack of experience in the goaltending position should not be a concern. Thompson was an all-star and Hill put up the second-highest playoff save percentage of all time last year.
McCrimmon is not concerned about how Patera will perform should he have to spell Thompson or Hill for a long period of time.