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Who Starts for Golden Knights? Thompson vs. Hill

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Vegas Golden Knights, Adin Hill, Nic Hague

Vegas Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy has a goaltending decision heading into Monday’s Game 1 against the Dallas Stars. That’s much different than a goaltending problem.

Cassidy must decide whether to start Adin Hill who took Vegas to the Stanley Cup championship last June, or Logan Thompson who is 8-2-1 in his last 11 NHL decisions.

Those are two good options, but he also has a third option. He could use both goalies. There’s been speculation that rotating goalies could be a more popular option this season than it has been in past playoffs. The Boston Bruins rotated Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark and could continue in the postseason.

But we have heard that talk before, and coaches have stuck with the time-honored belief that one goalie is better than two in the postseason.

With that mind, let’s compare Thompson’s and Hill’s candidacy for the starter’s job:

Case For Adin Hill

Hill’s playoff resume starts with the declaration that he has been there, done that when it comes to leading a team to a Stanley Cup championship.

The 6-foot-4 goalie was 11-4 with a 2.17 goals-against average and noteworthy .932 save percentages. He was 4-1 in the finals with a 2.36 GAA and .923 save percentage.

He started this season as the Golden Knights’ No. 1 goalie. But his season was undermined by injuries. He was limited to 35 games, and had a 2.71 GAA and a .909.

Hill was not at his best down the stretch. He was 5-10-1 in his last 16 decisions. Hill only had a save percentage above .900 in four of those decisions. He gave up three or more goals 14 times in those starts. But playoff experience can be invaluable. Can he be the same goalie he was last spring? That’s the question has to answer.

Case for Logan Thompson

When the Golden Knights were trying to clinch a playoff spot, Thompson was the team’s No. 1 goalie. The Alberta native is 8-2-1 in his last 11 decisions. Thompson gave up only one goal seven times during that surge.

Thompson’s season numbers are very similar to Hill’s numbers, although he was sharper than Hill later in the season.

The one negative about Thompson is he has no postseason experience. But Hill didn’t have any postseason experience last season when he started carrying load for Vegas.

 

“I think (Thompson’s) mindset is good going into the playoffs,” Cassidy said. “He hasn’t played playoff hockey, so that’s another animal. So to say, ‘OK, Logan, you’re going to be the guy,’… he’s never played, is that fair to him, especially after what Hilly did last year?