Vegas Golden Knights: David Perron Injury Alters Lineup

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 24: David Perron #57 of the Vegas Golden Knights passes the puck with Joakim Ryan #47 of the San Jose Sharks defending during the game at T-Mobile Arena on November 24, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 24: David Perron #57 of the Vegas Golden Knights passes the puck with Joakim Ryan #47 of the San Jose Sharks defending during the game at T-Mobile Arena on November 24, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Vegas Golden Knights will be without one of their top-six forwards once again on Sunday evening.

A three-game losing skid isn’t an ideal situation for the Vegas Golden Knights. However, the NHL’s newest franchise remains in second place in the Pacific division. And they’ve been doing it without a boatload of players in the lineup.

The Golden Knights have overcome injuries from Erik Haula, Jonathan Marchessault, Luca Sbisa, William Carrier, Malcolm Subban, Oscar Dansk and number one goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The players that have stepped up are now playing a vital role in this hockey club. Except for Carrier, Fleury, and Dansk, everyone is back from injury. But on Saturday night versus San Jose, the Golden Knights suffered a critical injury to their top six forward core.

David Perron took a hit from Sharks forward Timo Meier, and he sustained an upper-body injury. Meier wasn’t not suspended for his actions but I feel he should’ve faced some form of discipline because he does have a prior history. But the real story here is the injury to Perron and how this affects the Golden Knights lineup.

Perron has become one of the most critical players on the roster. In the 2017-18 season, he’s scored six goals and 13 assists in 21 games played. If he can come back and stay healthy, there’s a chance he could reach 60 points for the first time in his career.

As for the Golden Knights as a whole, an injury to a top-six forward is not what this team needs. They’ve still found ways to score goals in Perron’s absence, but the lines seem a bit out of sync. Heres what Head Coach Gerard Gallant has for a top six:

Reilly SmithWilliam Karlsson– Jonathan Marchessault

Alex Tuch– Erik Haula- James Neal

Obviously, I wouldn’t touch the first line as it remains one of the leagues most productive lines. But I would start tinkering around with the second line. Tuch could be a valuable player down the road, but he’s in his rookie year, and he’s being asked a lot.

I would try to jumpstart two snakebit players either Brendan Leipsic or Oscar Lindberg. Leipsic has zero goals in 17 games played, and Lindberg also has no goals in his last 13. If I had to choose one player to take over the second line role it would be Leipsic.

The 23-year old works his tail off night in and night out. He’s one of the Golden Knights fastest players and has a ton of potential. He could be in for a breakout if he works his way up to a second line spot.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native only has 8 points on the year, but he’s averaging about 13 minutes a game. A player like Leipsic needs more ice time to excel in an expanded role. Gallant would have to take into consideration Leipsic’s shotty defensive game as it’s not the strongest.

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All in all, the loss of Perron is a tough one. However, he has been skating the past few days in a red non-contact sweater. A return to the lineup could be imminent, but the team is playing it cautiously because of Perron’s concussion history. But when he does return, he’ll boost the Vegas Golden Knights top-six immediately.