This year they vowed to be different. From the head coach (the old one) to the front office to The Creator himself, the Golden Knights said they knew they needed to use a bit more of a goalie rotation than they have in the past.
You are going to see more of Subban this year, you will. George and Kelly and the coaches have it figured out and they have games identified for Subban and you are going to see him more. It’s part of what needs to happen. We want to make sure Flower is really ready for the playoffs. –The Creator on Sportsbook Radio in October 2019
After running Marc-Andre Fleury out for 61 games last season the Golden Knights were headed for a much lighter workload this season, especially after Fleury missed a few weeks following the death of his father.
However, that plan appears to be out the window now as the playoff spot everyone expected Vegas would have isn’t as secure as they would like.
We’re in the sprint to the finish here and we’re fighting for our playoff spot. We’re going to put the best lineup and the best starter out there to give us a chance to win every night. This isn’t preseason planning where you can map out, we want so many games for this guy or so many games for that guy. That’s in the rearview mirror. -Pete DeBoer on Tuesday
This was yesterday (Tuesday) before the game in Minnesota. On Monday, appearing on the Jim Rome Show, he was asked about “load management” and his answer was a bit different.
We’ve got Marc-Andre Fleury here in net in Vegas. You know he’s a 35-year-old goaltender that’s our starter. We talk about load management with him, both about starts and in practice time. We aren’t at the NBA point where we’re scratching players yet but it’s definitely in our conversations as far as practice days and off days. -DeBoer on Jim Rome Show
Fleury has started eight of the nine games under DeBoer and has been in the goal for 15 of the last 17, with one of the two being the game he missed due to suspension. He’s now started 41 of the team’s 58 games.
The Golden Knights did not have both goalies available for much for the start season so their rotation was somewhat dictated to them through the first few months.
10/2/19 – 10/10/19 – Both Available (9 days)
10/11/19 – 11/1/19 – Subban out (22 days)
11/2/19 – 11/23/19 – Both Available (22 days)
11/24/19 – 12/9/19 – Fleury out (11 days)
They played 32 games during that span seeing Fleury start 19, Subban 12, and Oscar Dansk 1. On that pace over the course of an 82 game season, Fleury would see 49 games, Subban 31, and Dansk 2.
That number has shifted radically with both available for the last 26 games.
Since December 10th, Fleury has started 21 times bringing his season total up to 40. 21 of 26 would mean 66 games in a season, five more than last year when the team decided in the offseason that he needed more rest.
Unless there’s a change in heart as to which goalie gives the team the best chance to win, the Golden Knights appear ready to run Fleury out for a majority of the final 24 games.
If I think one guy is going to give us a better chance to win tonight, then he’s going to play. -DeBoer on Tuesday
It’s reasonable to believe Fleury could play in 60+ games this season, which is a remarkably high number considering he was unavailable for 8 games.
It’s not hard to understand where the Golden Knights are coming from, staring at the standings and seeing a clump of teams all vying for a few playoff spots. But what good is getting to playoffs if your goalie is too worn out to succeed when you get there?
The Golden Knights appeared to have the right idea going into the season, but losing happened, and now it’s all out the window.
Bold strategy cotton, let’s see if it pays off.