Adin Hill hasn't had the best of luck returning to the Vegas Golden Knights. First, he comes back from an injury against the Ottawa Senators, only to get re-injured. It was his first game since November 30, which stung. Then, he was expected to return on January 10 against the Colorado Avalanche, only to be pulled from the lineup.
Hill has been confirmed to still not be 100%, signaling that he still has some work to do before returning. On a side note, talk about having the worst luck returning to the ice. It's like the hockey gods are toying with him! How unfair is that to the Golden Knights's postseason hero?!
The oft-injured former Shark hasn't been the only one who's been sidelined, though. It's tough for a hockey team to adjust when you lose the likes of William Karlsson (to name one of many). As a result, you're relying on AHL players to fill the void. That's not bad unless you're creating a singular lineup with players on injured reserve.
Still, the focus here is on our beloved Stanley Cup Finals hero from last season. I'm going to pitch a hypothetical scenario when Hill eventually returns. We must envision what pieces will (and won't) be there when the Calgary native finally hits the ice. That includes looking at what kind of games can be expected and how Adin Hill can prepare himself for the best.
Who's Injured for the Vegas Golden Knights (Aside from Adin Hill)?
I'm glad you asked because, boy, is the injured reserve list extensive! It contains names such as Karlsson, Jack Eichel, and William Carrier. The Vegas Golden Knights have lost EVERYTHING, from bona fide power play merchants to some of the best defensemen in the NHL. Vegas won't have the same firepower they did from the start of the season, so it's expected that Hill should be at his best upon his return.
What Will Change When Adin Hill Returns?
With the loss of numerous offensive stars, the Vegas Golden Knights aren't expected to put as many pucks behind the net. That's especially true without Eichel, who's week-to-week while recovering from lower body surgery. The good news is Vegas has shown they can handle the adversity, starting with a 4-1 win over Nashville on Monday. The Golden Knights have been in similar situations before, which won't change the team's mindset moving forward.
What Must Adin Hill Do to Help the Vegas Golden Knights?
This is rather simple: Be the Adin Hill before being sidelined with an injury. Before getting knocked out of commission, Hill was 10-2-2 with a save percentage of .933 and a goals against average of 1.93. Nobody could touch the re-signed goaltender in 2023-2024 leading up to that, which is expected upon his return. That's especially true with the Pacific Division tightening up. A sloppy Adin Hill means Vegas will lose ground against the likes of Edmonton, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
Who Can Help Adin Hill With His Return?
Obviously, the forecheck is instrumental in easing Adin Hill's return. If the Vegas Golden Knights can generate enough defensive pressure to cause problems, they can also create more opportunities on the offensive end. That'll allow the Canadian goaltender to take it easy once he's back. The penalty kill must also be top-notch, even without Karlsson. That means sniffing out the puck and making smart plays to avoid special team catastrophes.