Las Vegas–Tonight, Vegas Knights of The Roundtable takes an in-depth look at the goaltending carousel situation that has been a main focal point of the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in the National Hockey League.
Most teams in the NHL have a starting goaltender and a designated backup to carry them over the course of the 82 season. However, for the Golden Knights that has not been the case, thru 17 games played in the 2017-18 campaign, they have had to rely on a rotation of 5 goalies.
Before the season started, the Golden Knights were originally going to go with a Marc-André Fleury and Calvin Pickard tandem. Pickard’s NHL record was 28-44-0-6 with a GAA of 2.77 and a .914 save percentage.
That was not to be as Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee decided to put Pickard on waivers to the Chicago Wolves.
On the day that Pickard cleared waivers, McPhee traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Tobias Lindberg and a 6th round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft in 2018.
Two days prior to this trade that went down the sent Pickard to the Eastern Conference Leafs, McPhee claimed Malcolm Subban from the Boston Bruins, the team that originally drafted him.
Subban brought with him to the Golden Knights, a 0-2-0 record of regular season playing time with a 5.81 GAA and a .727 save percentage.
So this changed the dynamics for the Golden Knights going forward as the Fleury-Subban duo would be the franchises first ever 1-2 tandem between the pipes.
Before Fleury went out of commission, he carried the torch in net for the Golden Knights in their first 4 games of the season where he recorded a 3-1-0 record with a GAA of 2.48 and a .925 save percentage.
His only loss came on the night against the Red Wings where he suffered a concussion injury by Detroit forward Anthony Mantha. This injury came in the games 2nd period, where Mantha’s right knee collided with Fleury’s head. The concussion he sustained by Mantha played a factor in his 6-3 defeat to the Red Wings.
So with Fleury out, this provided an opportunity for backup goaltender Subban to take the reigns for the Golden Knights and for Oscar Dansk to become the new backup for Vegas.
Subban made his debut for the Golden Knights against his former club the Boston Bruins where he recorded his first win for Vegas that featured a 1.00 GAA and a .955 save percentage performance.
His second start between the pipes for Vegas was a lot tougher in comparison to his first where he gave up 4 goals against Jack Eichel‘s Buffalo Sabres and faced 34 shots and a completely below average save percentage of .882. The Golden Knights won that contest in overtime courtesy of a David Perron goal.
It was on the night against the St. Louis Blues where Subban was the second Golden Knights netminder to be bitten by the injury bug at the 50:50 mark of the game. Subban was taken out of the contest with a lower-body injury.
So the Gallant inserted Dansk in relief where he eventually recorded his 1st NHL career win. He followed up with 2 more victories against the Chicago Blackhawks (29 save performance) and Colorado Avalanche (32 save night).
Maxime Lagace would serve as the team’s new backup to Dansk going forward.
Dansk in the span of 2 full starts, he made history for the Golden Knights where he recorded the first-ever shutout for Vegas in a 7-0 win against the Avs.
With Dansk as the Golden Knights go to man in net, Vegas left for the Eastern Conference on a 6-game road swing away from “The Fortress”. Their first opponent was John Tavares and the New York Islanders and it was 34:50 in the game the injury bug came calling once again where Dansk was chased from between the pipes for Vegas as he became the second goalie to suffer a lower-body injury.
This caused Gallant to make another in-game goalie swap for the 2nd time this season with Lagace as their last line of defense.
Lagace took over for the Golden Knights on their 6 game road trip where his only win was recorded against the Ottawa Senators in the teams 5-4 victory. In that span, his overall record was 1-4-1 with a 3.87 GAA and a below average save percentage of .866. His worst GAA on the roadie was from the New York Rangers game that was recorded at 5.04.
This wasn’t what the Golden Knights hoped for on their first major road trip away from Las Vegas.
Included in the east coast road swing, McPhee made the call all the way down to juniors and called up Dylan Ferguson from the Kamloops Blazers on an emergency basis only as he served as Lagace’s backup.
After Vegas returned home from their worst road trip in club history, Lagace put the Golden Knights back on the winning side of things with a .931 save percentage night with 2 goals allowed on 29 total shots he faced vs. the Winnipeg Jets in their 5-2 victory.
This brief stop back in Vegas, put the Golden Knights back on another road trip, this time to Western Canada for 2 games against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
In their matchup against Connor McDavid and the Oilers, it was the 7th goal of the night that sealed the deal for Lagace when Gallant finally pulled the trigger and made the goalie swap for 19-year-old Ferguson with 9:41 left in the 3rd in relief. Ferguson recorded a .500 save percentage in relief for Vegas.
The good news for the Golden Knights is that they may have dodged another injury bug as Lagace was practicing with the team today in Vancouver with Subban and Ferguson.
Goalies On The Ice This Morning
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 15, 2017
For Subban, he has not been cleared yet by team doctors to return to the ice and backstop the Golden Knights.
Could tomorrow’s matchup against the Vancouver Canucks be Ferguson’s 1st NHL start in net for the Golden Knights or will Lagace return between the pipes, we will have to wait and find out.
Vegas takes on the Canucks at Rogers Arena tomorrow with a 7:00 pm start time.