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Abnormal Team With Abnormal Goalie Situation

Remember when goalie depth was widely considered to be the best asset the Golden Knights got from the Expansion Draft? When Marc-Andre Fleury was the starter and Calvin Pickard was set to back up him. That’s changed a bit, huh?

But before we get into what’s going to happen moving forward, and a bit of what’s happened already, let’s dispell a rumor that has already popped up to this point.

This team isn’t normal. That’s kind of why theyir 6-1. Embrace it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are not likely to make a trade to acquire a “starting” goalie. For proof of this, think back to the timeline of the backup goalie thus far. Three days before the season began George McPhee claimed Malcolm Subban. The next day he waived Calvin Pickard in somewhat a surprising move, but just another in a long line of focusing on the future rather than the present for the Vegas front office.

That move left the Golden Knights one moment away from having to put in a 23-year-old goalie, who was waived by the Bruins, into the net for good, and they were comfortable with that because this season’s not about winning. Four games later, that moment came, as Fleury took a knee to the face and suffered his third (maybe fourth) career concussion.

They didn’t run out and make a trade. Not because they believed so much in Subban, because they still, despite the record, aren’t focused on winning this season. They simply put Subban in the net, and called up another backup (Maxime Lagace at the time). Now, Subban is hurt, and Oscar Dansk appears to be the temporary starter, and just like before, they probably aren’t going to panic and make a move.

Playing Dansk is really no different than playing Subban because… say it with me now, this season isn’t about winning. 6-1 aside, the plan is not likely to change for George McPhee. He’s not in the business of giving up an asset to bring in another goaltender when he’s still got two healthy ones left. He could sign one, he could claim one on waivers, but the chances George McPhee gives up anything to bring in another goalie are slim to none.

So what does the immediate future hold for the Golden Knights? First off, Fleury’s concussion situation remains a tender one. No one is in a rush to get him back on the ice until he’s 100%. When that will be, we have no idea, but everything else going on is secondary to his long-term health. As for Subban, it appeared to be some sort of a muscle pull. This tweet is the only actual piece of intel we have to this point.

Speculating on injuries is a dangerous game, so we aren’t going to play it. When either is ready, they come back in, but while both are out it’s not all going to be on Oscar Dansk’s shoulders.

When Fleury went down, the Golden Knights recalled Lagace, not Dansk. Lagace backed up Subban for two games before he was sent back to Chicago. During that week while Lagace was here, the Wolves did not play a single game. When they did, Lagace was sent back and Dansk was brought to Vegas, presumably to ride the bench while Lagace played in Chicago. Then Subban goes down, Dansk saves the day, and all of a sudden he’s expected to be the guy moving forward.

Why can’t Dansk play well? Everyone else has. Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Not so fast. Dansk will probably remain in the net for Tuesday’s game against the Blackhawks. Why? Because Gallant seems to be a heavy subscriber to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. Dansk played well, he’ll get another shot. But if he doesn’t, they might not wait long to go to Lagace. The recent roster moves actually indicate that Lagace could be the higher guy on the organizational depth chart than Dansk.

It’s truly become a giant mess, yet through it all, the Golden Knights keep on keepin’ on. So, stop calling for trades, stop worrying about the injuries, and stop with the negative thinking about the goaltending. Somehow, someway, it’s working, and there’s really no reason to believe Oscar Dansk and/or Maxime Lagace can’t hold down the fort like Subban was. Right?

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11 Comments

  1. Mark

    I was looking around on cap friendly, one possible trade that could benefit McPhee possibly is Ottawa. With Bobby Ryan hurt, maybe a forward (Perron, Marchessault or another pending FA?) for Andrew Hammond who is buried in the AHL and pick(s).

    Hammond and Dansk until Fluery is back. Then Fluery and Hammond.

    This also opens up Shipachyov’s permament spot.

    • Da Yoopers

      I think Perron and Neal will get traded eventually but hold on to them as they will get more return once the trade deadline rolls around. I think Marchessault is here long term.

      I see what you’re thinking but what about one of the Defenseman moving in a trade, if it does happen?

      • Mark

        Don’t get me wrong, moving a dman would be ideal. But I saw Ottawa burying a G contract and I don’t think they need a Dman as much as a forward now. But if they would prefer a dman, I’m in.

        I’m also a big believer, you don’t have to wait to trade some of these guys. Their value is almost as high as it can get, so don’t risk injury. If the right deal is there, just do it.

        • I think we run with Dansk/Lagace and then find a team to loan us their AHL goalie for the Wolves. There’s no need for anyone who McPhee didn’t sign to get any NHL time this season on Vegas. To add to what Ken said, this season isn’t about winning – it’s about evaluating. We need to see if Subban, Dansk and/or Lagace are long term pieces for this organization.

          Hammond isn’t a bad idea, but with the position Ottawa is in we should be able to get him for free. Either have them loan him to the Wolves or trade him to Vegas for “Future Considerations”.

          • Reminder: The Wolves are being shared by VGK and the St Louis Blues. Finding someone to play in the AHL is on the Blues now. They’ve got plenty of guys to get those starts.

          • Mark

            Basically I am saying Hammond being thrown in as part of the deal. Not the centerpiece. Draft Picks would’ve the main portion.

            But getting Hammond allows McPhee to leave Lagace in Chicago to get starts (and yes I understand the shared concept), while Dansk starts in Vegas. Hammond is the backup while Fluery is out. When Fluery returns. You waive Hammond again (because this is about picks).

            If someone claims Hammond, fine. If not, you send him to Chicago to be backup.

            You open a permanent spot for Shipachyov, and while there is a shared concept with the Blues, I would want the Vegas guys to get starts in Chicago if possible to evaluate them.

          • Ken,

            The Knights are responsible for staffing the Wolves, not the Blues (that relationship was toxic between those two, so thankfully it’s over). The Blues have two goalies in the AHL: Ville Husso, who’s in San Antonio; and Jordan Binnington, who’s been loaned to Providence. It’s up to McPhee to find another team to loan us a goalie, and that’s where Toronto comes in by loaning us Kaskisuo – I love the irony that we traded Pickard to the Leafs because we didn’t want to have 5 goalies, and now the Leafs are letting us use their #5 goalie, since they had to send him to the ECHL to make room on the AHL roster for Pickard.

        • Bent Hermit

          The GM for Ottawa said he was looking for either a top 6 or bottom 6 forward at the beginning of the season. I see no reason to trade for a goalie but if they want to trade for a pick vegas has a bunch to pick from. If I remember right flower was out at least a month the last time he got hit in the head. I wouldn’t look for him to be back any sooner this time.

        • Fibi

          Trade value will increase as the deadline gets closer. That’s because of the way the salary cap works. For example, right now there are only 10 teams that could add 5MM to their salary structure (I.e., only 10 teams that could trade picks and prospects for James Neal). Of course a team trading for Neal could send a forward down to the minors to make a little more room, but the most you can bury this year is 1.05MM. So, even with a corresponding demotion only 13 teams could fit Neal onto their roster today.

          But hockey teams are allowed to have a roster with a cap hit higher than $75MM so long as they have “banked” space by being under the cap earlier in the year. With the trade deadline near the end of the season, this rule will greatly expand the number of teams who can fit a 5MM player. And once the playoffs start they can keep playing with a roster above $75MM.

          The ratio is about 4.2 to 1. So any team that stays an average of 1MM below the cap could add a $5MM player, send a rookie to the minors and make the math work. That brings in a lot more potential trade partners. And they are trading for Playoffs Neal, so there really isn’t any downward pressure on trade value.

          Vegas can also retain up to 50% of someone’s salary to help them find a trading partner. But you can only use that trick three times, and they have already used it once.

  2. William Morrison

    One thing that’s missing Ken, Is that an asset is an asset. Our season is only 2 weeks old and look what has happened so far. Crazy amount of stuff. Imagine 6 weeks (perhaps time Soob is back since Flower is uknown). 6 Weeks is a lifetime and they dont want to lose that momentum. An Asset (good goalie) can be Acquired and can also be traded as well. Nothing says he has to stay. It’s rare situation we’re in. No one believed Pickard would be traded. In Sports, Everyone (sadly) is dispensable. W’ere not “caling” for a trade, we’re saying it would make sense if the future is unknown to unload a few d-men and maybe in exchange for a “quick” 2 month fix…Since 2 months is a lifetime in the NHL. (if it does come down to a couple of months)

    • An asset remains an asset. I like how you think.

      That being said, McPhee has learned his lesson on taking too many players in one position and then getting stuck with them. I absolutely see your point, but I’d still be very surprised if it happens.

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