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Only So Many Minutes To Go Around

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The roster certainly may change between now and early October when the Golden Knights hit the ice for real, but at the moment, there’s an overload at the forward position.

William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, Erik Haula, and Alex Tuch have all averaged at least 16:30 per game in their time with the Golden Knights. Mark Stone played just 17:39 per game in the regular season in Vegas while he averaged over 20 per game in Ottawa.

With the addition of Nikita Gusev and maybe Cody Glass, the question that has to spring to mind is, how are the Golden Knights going to manage all these minutes?

 18-1917-18VGK AverageCareer
Karlsson18:5118:4318:4716:07
Smith18:1617:5518:0516:40
Marchessault18:0917:3017:5016:35
Stastny18:0618:1818:0619:13
Stone17:3920:4017:3918:50
Pacioretty17:0019:0117:0017:34
Tuch16:4415:1516:0016:00
Haula16:3517:2216:5913:39
Eakin15:2314:3214:5815:45
 18-1917-18VGK AverageCareer
Total156:43159:16155:24150:23
Average17:2517:4217:1616:43

This is just nine of the 12 forwards. Stone’s time will almost certainly go up and Eakin’s will likely decrease, but it’s hard to imagine players like Tuch, Pacioretty, Haula or others to drop too much further below their VGK averages.

Add it all up, and there’s not much time left for the other three forwards. Assuming power play and penalty kill time offset, there are 180 minutes available in each game for forwards. With nine bonafide top-six players and maybe two more added to the mix, the minutes are going to get tight.

 18-1917-18VGK AverageCareer
Time Left23:1720:4424:3629:37
Average Left7:466:558:129:52

Realistically, we are looking at around 20-25 minutes left over for the fourth line. The issue is that with the clutter currently in the roster, if Gusev or Glass make the cut, that would push at least one of the nine listed above to the bottom line meaning someone is going to see their minutes load essentially cut in half.

Gerard Gallant likes to using everybody, but with the roster he’s likely to have heading into Year 3 in Vegas, it’s almost certain the days of rolling four lines is over.

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10 Comments

  1. Slr82

    I sort of disagree with rolling 4 lines is over. I think that being able to roll 4 lines is a benefit to the longevity to careers and a season. Just look at this years playoffs, it’s the teams that have 4 strong lines that went deep. I think when you have a team concept atmosphere, as to opposed to high paid individuals, reduced playing minutes is appreciated and accepted. I think what we have seen the past 2 years in Vegas, will continue to be the Knights approach.

    • I just can’t fathom it being best for this team to not play their best players more often. There’s a pretty big gap between a guy like Haula or Tuch and Carrier, Reaves or Nosek. Rolling four lines sounds great in theory but it doesn’t make sense unless you have a truly balanced lineup, which VGK doesn’t have. (and that’s not a bad thing)

    • Mark

      It’s a good problem to have, we have a deep team. Let me say this, Reaves and Carrier stay. They keep other teams honest, keep them from bullying our guys, just ask that headhunter Wilson. We can never let teams intimidate us, nobody plays like Reaves and Carrier. Gusev is in, a true talent, check out You Tube. I hope Haula is the same player. Tuch has speed on speed, on the PK, he could have breakaways. We need him. McPhee is a genius when judging talent. I have total faith in him. We are sitting on a great year, with a chip on our shoulder

  2. Slr82

    I don’t necessarily disagree from that angle. I think the goal or focus will be to upgrade the bottom 3 or even 6. It may take this season to do it, but I think we have seen the need for strong bottom 6 play. We did get it in small waves but we need more depth, strength and balance. The top 2 lines will always get the most minutes. It’s the fall off we need to change or upgrade when the 3rd and 4th lines hit the ice.

  3. Dman

    The biggest problem with the Knights 4th line is the fact that the wingers, Carrier and Reaves, do not kill penalties. That is unusual, and makes them non-versatile, one-dimensional players.

    Tiring out the top guys on the pk makes them less effective on their regular 5-on-5 play, and on the PP .

    and the biggest question of all to the coaches, why is a good player like Tuch only used about 16 mins a game, and he is never used on the pk. makes no sense. I can see why Carrier and Reaves can’t kill penalties, as they are strictly forecheckers in the offensive corners. But Tuch would be a serious threat to get many breakaways on the pk, as he is a puck stealer with great strength and speed. All they have to do is teach him proper positioning in the defensive end on the pk.

    • Mark

      Great points. Tuch is amazing, so gifted. I can see him scoring shorthanded if he was on the PK, with his speed.

  4. Lynn Romano

    I would trade Marchessault and Eakin, Holden and Miller. Bring up the talent and then the existing veterans could still get their minutes in and we start working the younger kids.

  5. Mark

    Trade March? He’s dangerous out their, we need him. Eakin, a game, veteran player who blossoms more every year, IMOP. Everybody trashes Miller, he has a great shot from the outside, he’s big, tough guy. It’s tough, losing guys that gave us so many great memories. Changes will be made. Go Knights !!

  6. the hockey god

    two games in a row the Chicago Wolves, VGK affiliate in Calder finals, pull there goalie WAY TOO EARLY in game. They get burned both times. Pulling goalie against high skill teams like Charlotte , WAY TOO EARLY, is a LOSING STRATEGY. . Meanwhile in BLUES – BRUINS finals REFS blow another call , missing an obvious TRIP call Bruins player hitting head on ice), with Bruins player down on ice, BLUES score critical goal. Bruins are in deep doo doo now Managing to cut lead in half now. The VGK, if they were lucky to get by sharks, would never have beaten the BLUES this year. BLUES are BIG TEAM. so the trend that NHL is getting faster and smaller is NOT VALID in the SC FINALS. The bigger team is still in vogue. Like the KINGS ‘ teams a few years back. Caps last year were a big team also ( i don’t know what their (CAPs) captain was wearing under his jersey, but he looked like a line backer out there)

  7. THE hockey GOD

    their defense wasn’t there, franchise clearly needs to start searching for no. 1 goalie now as they have none. Fleury has seen his better days, and Subban is just plain not good enough. Off season priority has to be securing a no. 1 goalie. https://theahl.com/ahl_videos/checkers-vs-wolves-game-4

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