In December, you couldn't find a single Vegas Golden Knights fan who had a positive thing to say about Logan Thompson. The numbers speak for themselves: Thompson allowed an average of 3.14 goals a game and had a save percentage of .887. It was nothing but negative vibes around the goaltender, with fans saying things such as:
"LOGAN THOMPSON SUCKS!"
"WE SHOULD'VE TRADED LT!"
"WHEN IS ADIN HILL COMING BACK?!"
All this caused poor LT a lot of grief. In fact, it got to the point where the goaltender felt mentally exhausted, moving on from "the toughest month of his career." You had to feel for the guy as he took a beating from everyone.
Fast forward to January, when the goaltender has stepped up. This month, Logan Thompson has produced a save percentage of .929 (!) and a GAA of 2.15. The Calgary native has single-handedly swung the narrative, establishing himself as a good goaltender for the Golden Knights.
Logan Thompson Has Also Changed the Golden Knights's Fortunes
Going back to the Winter Classic in Seattle, it was clear nothing was clicking for the Golden Knights. Offensively, they weren't capitalizing on scoring chances. Defensively, shots were getting by and Logan Thompson was still shaky.
But January 6, 2024, arrives. The New York Islanders are underachieving and reeling, so much that they'll fire their head coach a couple weeks later. What a good opportunity for Thompson to redeem himself, right?
That's exactly what he did, stopping 27 shots in a 5-2 Golden Knights victory. That would start a round of winning for Vegas, where the Golden Knights would win four of their next six. With victories over solid goaltending teams like Boston, Nashville, and the New York Rangers, hope had finally returned to Sin City.
In a time where injuries have decimated the Vegas Golden Knights, they needed a "knight in shining armor" to save them. It's not going to be William Karlsson, Jack Eichel, or William Carrier now. Those guys are injured and recovering.
However, Thompson has stepped up incredibly, helping Vegas keep pace in a chaotic Pacific Division. Granted, Vancouver has also stepped their game up and Edmonton is red-hot. But Thompson has done an excellent job filling the job while Adin Hill rests from his injuries.
Logan Thompson's Adjustments
So what has Thompson done differently? For starters, he's done a better job staying with the puck. Although there are times when LT can be easily caught off guard, he's still watching the play closely and standing on his toes. That's something he struggled with during his December stretch.
Part of that has also been Thompson's growing discipline. When faced with a 2-on-1 situation or similar settings, the Vegas goaltender doesn't flinch. That's especially true when opponents set up scoring opportunities. You won't see Logan Thompson lunge at the puck but rather anticipate the play and act accordingly.
Of course, it's also attributed to Bruce Cassidy's system. A part of Thompson's success has been simplified shooting lanes, putting him at an advantage. Taking away open looks and giving your goaltender has been Cassidy's calling card all season, after all.
Regardless, Logan Thompson's little adjustments has paid dividends for the Golden Knights. Smarter goaltender play has elevated his game and helped Vegas stay as a playoff team, specifically with their health in question.
What This Means Moving Forward
While the recent wave of injuries will hurt the Golden Knights in their pursuit of a repeat, Logan Thompson is helping keep the team afloat. Not only is he helping Vegas, but he's helping himself. With his better play, LT is building his confidence and growing as a goaltender.
Once the injured players heal up, Vegas can go full bore into the playoff picture like they did last season. They weathered a similar storm en route to their first Stanley Cup. Who knows? They might just do it again, thanks to Logan Thompson.