The Vegas Golden Knights entered the 2022-23 season with a lot of question marks and unknowns when it came to the goaltender position. With two goalies on the Long term injured list and three relatively unknown and unproven goaltenders, the experts had every indication to assume that the Golden Knights would virtually struggle out of the gate and through out the grind of the season. On top of a brand new coaching staff, expectations were that the Golden Knights would even struggle to maintain a potential playoff spot.
Now we are 15 games into the season. Granted, it is not the ultimate guide to being the indicator for an entire season, but it often serves as an appetizer.
Brossoit clears wavers, joins Silver Knights in AHL
Laurent Brossoit has cleared the NHL’s wavier wire, which clears him to report to the Henderson Silver Knights in the AHL. The 29-year old was placed on waivers prior to the Golden Knights 7-4 win over Buffalo on Thursday evening. The move assures Logan Thompson and Adin Hill will remain as the goaltender tandem of record for the Golden Knights franchise.
Brossoit, as a Golden Knight, has appeared in 24 games dating back to last season and has a 10-9-0-3 record. His goals against average last season was 2.90 with a save percentage of .895 with one shutout. His totals last season were all career highs including the number of games played in a season.
With Brossoit returning from hip surgery and the issues surrounding the cap space, the Golden Knights suddenly find themselves in a position where they have an overabundance of talent at the goaltender position. The situation has gone from being a major question mark entering the season to a major strength just 15 games into the season.
Logan Thompson steps up and becomes the man in net
Thompson is performing so well that he has been named by some experts as a potential Calder Trophy winner for Rookie of the Year and also a Vezina Trophy candidate for the best overall goaltender in the league. Through Thursday’s contest in Buffalo, Thompson has an 8-2-0 record between the pipes with 2.31 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. He already has two shutouts this season with the first coming against the Blackhawks on October 13 and then against Anaheim on October 28. Thompson has played in four of the five road trip games with the games against Ottawa, Toronto and Buffalo seeing three goals or more in each.
While the Golden Knights continue to win hockey games, the recent goal output by the opposition is quite noteworthy, but there is no reason to sound the alarm just yet. As long as the offense does it’s job and Thompson puts the team in position to win hockey games, Cassidy and company will continue make him the team’s main work horse between the pipes.
Adin Hill becomes a high quality back up
The trade acquiring Hill has been nothing short of genius on the part of general manager Kelly McCrimmon and the Golden Knights coaching staff. Hill’s play has effectively mirrored Thompson in many ways and coach Bruce Cassidy makes no secret about how impressed he is with Hill’s play.
As the back up to Thompson, Hill has played in five games with a perfect 5-0-0 record on the season. In those five games, Hill has a 2.17 goals against average with an impressive save percentage of .925. There can be a case where Hill continues his winning ways and makes a run at Thompson’s job. That remains to be seen but it is not likely considering the expectations of what Thompson has given us so far.
What may play out in the future at goaltender
With Brossoit and Michael Hutchinson both in Henderson, the Golden Knights have some options in case Thompson and Hill either get injured or become a reliability in the net. The other looming factor on the roster is Robin Lehner, who will not be ready until next season. The reality of the situation is that Thompson, if he continues to pave the way for the Golden Knights to maintain their spot atop the Pacific Division and even the Western Conference, Brossoit and Lehner both could be either traded or simply waived through the system. In Brossoit’s case, he would not be eligible to go back on waivers until he plays 10 or more NHL games or sits on the main roster for at least 30 days.
That being said, there is a more likely chance that the Golden Knights closer to the trade deadline, finds a trading partner for Brossoit. If Thompson works out, this will also put the Golden Knights in a position to also trade off Lehner in the off-season or re-sign Hill to another extension, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the current season. The most likely picture looking beyond the current season could be Thompson as the starter and Lehner as the back up, but we are looking to far into the future and anything could still happen this season.
Bottom line is the Golden Knights have plenty of options and back ups. What was once a weakness of the team with Lehner and Brossoit going down, has become a luxury that many teams in the NHL would love to have.