For the second time this year, the Golden Knights will be without their backup goalie, luckily this time the starter isn’t hurt as well.
Malcolm Subban sustained an upper-body injury during morning skate prior to the Golden Knights game in San Jose. Subban was dressed and was seen sitting under the bench during the game, but was apparently not available to enter that game.
All Star coach Gerard Gallant confirmed the team will recall Maxime Lagace. Lagace started 13 games during the Golden Knights goalie fiasco at the beginning of the year in which they lost three goalies in the team’s first 10 games. Vegas went 6-6-1 in those 13 games while Lagace allowed 3.79 goals per game and posted .872 save percentage. Lagace returned to the AHL with the Chicago Wolves where he has played in 14 games posting a .910 save percentage.
Oscar Dansk, who was sent back to the Wolves on January 24th has yet to start a game.
Both Dansk and Lagace are waiver-exempt this season, so the Golden Knights can freely rotate between the two assuming Dansk is healthy enough to play.
After the Expansion Draft most believed the Golden Knights best position was goalie. The combination of Marc-Andre Fleury and Calvin Pickard would be able to keep Vegas in most games, even when they were being badly outplayed.
At least that’s what we thought.
Now a rash of injuries, a roster move, and 28 games into the season, the Golden Knights are back in a similar position of strength between the pipes, but in a much different situation. Since being claimed off waivers from the Boston Bruins, Malcolm Subban has done nothing but impress in the net. He’s 7-2-0 as a starter with a save percentage of .924. Subban is also 2-0 in shootout and has saved all nine attempts he’s faced.
Don’t worry, I’m not advocating for benching Fleury. Trading him though… (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
Meanwhile, Fleury appears to be within days of his return and it’s long been considered that it’s his goal when he gets back. The question needs to be asked though, should it be?
There’s no question Fleury is the better goalie at this point in his career. He has three Stanley Cups, 375 career wins, 44 shutouts, and was pretty darn good before the injury (3-1, .925 SV%). But he’s also 33-years-old, coming off what we believe to be his third concussion.
There’s also a future to consider. Fleury’s cap hit is $5.75 million per year for the next two before he becomes a free agent. Subban, on the other hand, is 23-years old, flourishing in his first extended opportunity at the NHL level, and still has two years left on his entry-level contract ($650,000 AAV).
Goalie Malcolm Subban was injured in the 3rd period of the game against St. Louis on October 21st. Following the injury Subban was placed on IR and the timetable that was set was “approximately four weeks.”
Today at City National Arena the goalie was publicly seen skating for the first time since the injury three weeks ago.
In doing so he also showed off his new helmet and pads. The helmet is red on the front with a gold facemask. It has the Golden Knights primary logo along the chin with a pattern of primary logos toward the side. On the side there are a few more logos including the secondary sword star and a silhouette of the Las Vegas strip. The top is mostly gold with white bold letters spelling “Vegas Strong.” We have yet to see the back.
UPDATE (4:31 PM PST – 10/22/17) Malcolm Subban has been placed on IR with what the team described as a lower-body injury. The team says they expect him to be out for “approximately four weeks.”
UPDATE (1:50 PM PST – 10/22/17) Jonathan Marchessault – Participated in practice wearing a white jersey (jersey colors indicate lines. Others in white were Reilly Smith and William Karlsson.)
Think you can be ready for Tuesday? -SinBin.vegas
Yeah I think so, I think that’s the plan so far. I’ve been cleared for contact and I had a couple good practices in a row, and I feel ready. -Marchessault
He described the injury as an awkward fall. Gallant confirmed he expects Marchessault to play Tuesday against Chicago.
Erik Haula – Skated on Saturday in a red “no contact” jersey prior to the morning skate for the game on Saturday. Joined full practice, still wearing red, today.
I’ve got a little bit more testing to do on the lower body but I felt good. I don’t think it’s up to me. I’m happy with the progression I’ve had and I have one more practice tomorrow and we’ll have a better answer by then. -Haula
Marc-Andre Fleury – There is no update beyond what we already know. He is reevaluated every day and will return when he is fully cleared. There is absolutely no timeline on his return.
Malcolm Subban – Subban was injured midway through the third period of Saturday night’s game. On the ice, it appeared to be a lower-body muscle or ligament issue as it was a non-contact injury. The Golden Knights are expected to place Subban on IR and recall Maxime Lagace later this afternoon. They also said he will be reevaluated this afternoon and an update may be available. He is going to be out at least a week. Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports a team source told him Subban will be “probably out for weeks.” For more on the Golden Knights goalie situation, click here.
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.
Hey Subbs, want to go dominate these bums that let us go? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
Miller and Subban Get Even
After the 3–1 victory over Boston, the first guy to congratulate and hug Malcolm Subban was defenseman Colin Miller. Former teammates in Boston and Providence, beating their previous organization must’ve been a great feeling for both.
Regardless of who it is against, we’re just trying to get the win. It’s our former team but we’re not out to get anyone. We’re just trying to focus and play our game. I think he (Miller) was more happy that I got my first win. – Malcolm Subban
Watch the end of the game, it’s clear Subban and Miller were pumped to win. You could tell from the start, the defenseman was amped, and up for the challenge. Miller unloaded 8 shot attempts, and 3 shots on net. He played 18:25 of TOI, on 26 shifts.
They may not get the same attention, but the Golden Knights fourth line deserves just as much as the first line. I should stop calling Pierre-Eduard Bellemare, William Carrier, and Tomas Nosek the fourth line. Gerard Gallant told us at his postgame press conference that he doesn’t count his lines. He would say he’s continuously been impressed by the line that plays the least.
They worked their asses off and competed hard and played hard. That’s what they do every night. I really like them. They’re a solid line. They aren’t going to score a lot of goals, but they do the right thing most times. -Gerard Gallant
Doing the right thing includes, winning face offs, blocking shots, penalty killing, breaking up plays, and getting pucks on net. That’s exactly what this line is doing. Bellemare won a total of 7 draws (64%) and in the defensive zone, Belly went 3 for 5 (60%) on faceoffs. Carrier played physical and added body checks, blocked shots and takeaways. Plus, he got pucks on net creating pressure on Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Tossed out centers
On Sunday, five different Golden Knights (Eakin, Perron, Lindberg, Karlsson, Bellemare) were thrown out of the faceoff circle by an official. In one sequence, the refs tossed Cody Eakin and David Perron on the same draw leading to a two-minute delay of game penalty. Eakin and Perron’s linemate James Neal was obviously frustrated and pleaded to the ref. Ultimately, Perron went on to serve the two-minute minor. Center William Karlsson also had faceoff frustrations after being thrown out and having another official overrule the other.
Remember when this team had a goalie tandem that could be put up against just about any other team in the NHL? Well, now they have the 2nd star of the week in the NHL and a goalie who was described as “not quite ready to play at this level.”
Maybe I could have said that better. In terms of talent and experience, he’s ready to play at this level. In terms of getting him to play the way that we want him to play we need a little more time. -George McPhee
So as you can probably tell by the headline of this article, that means we aren’t likely to see Malcolm Subban between the pipes anytime soon.
This homestand is actually spaced out well enough that there’s probably no rush to put him in. But between Turk and Dave Prior, when they decide he’s ready for a game, he’ll play and we’ll get him going. -McPhee
My guess is that will be against the New York Islanders or Rangers on back-to-back to start off the long road trip.
McPhee also doubled down on the reasoning behind claiming Subban/trading Pickard and further proved his eye is on the future, despite how much it could set back the currently undefeated 201-18 Golden Knights.
You have a five-year plan, you have a three-year plan, you have a one-year plan, you have a month-to-month plan, but it changes every day. We thought that was the one area where we were set, but this opportunity presented itself, we evaluated it, and we were nimble enough as an organization to do something about it. We made our move hoping that Subban one day down the road can be a very good #1 goaltender. -McPhee
Flower, flower, and more flower. That’s the plan for this first month of the year.
Not the worst plan if he keeps playing the way he’s been though, right?
George McPhee made waves this morning when he placed backup goalie Calvin Pickard on waivers, allowing all 30 other teams the chance to pick him with no compensation to the Golden Knights.
The waves really started yesterday when the Golden Knights claimed in Malcolm Subban off waivers creating a surplus in the net. Subban was described as “not quite ready to play at this level” but McPhee confirmed he would remain on the NHL roster heading into the regular season.
First off, Pickard is now on waivers for the next 24 hours. During that time every team has the opportunity to claim him. If one claim is made, Pickard will become a member of that NHL team. If more than one claim him, he will go to the team who finished worst in the standings last season (identical to the draft order). In the event that he is claimed, the team who makes the move will be in an identical situation to which the Golden Knights were just in with Fleury, Pickard, and Subban, and they would subsequently have to waive another goalie themselves.
Or, none of the 30 teams place a claim on Pickard and he clears waivers. Officially he is then re-assigned to the Chicago Wolves. The likelihood he plays in Chicago is low as the Golden Knights have multiple goalies there already and are clearly higher on Subban than they are Pickard. Instead, if he clears a he would probably be traded. Once Pickard clears, his trade value goes up to every team in the NHL as the risk of losing him on waivers is removed. Pickard’s new team would be able to immediately assign him to their own AHL team and plenty of time to figure out what they want to do with the two goalies currently on their roster.
But let’s get to the big question, why would McPhee do this?
There are a lot of challenging decisions to be made by an expansion team general manager. Whether it’s signing players, making cuts, or the Expansion Draft itself, George McPhee has done a lot of work to turn his blank slate into what we now know as the Vegas Golden Knights.
Hi Malcolm, meet Marc and Calvin, unless one of them disappears, you’re never gonna play.
But for every tough decision he’s had to make due to the logistics of running the first expansion team in the salary cap era, come opportunities to make somewhat outside of the box moves only a team not planning on truly competing until year three can make.
A perfect example is the waiver claiming of goalie Malcolm Subban. In the midst of figuring out which defensemen will make the team, juggling waiver exempt contracts, and toying with the injured list, McPhee went in the opposite direction and added a player to the fold rather than removing one.
He’s not going down (to the AHL). The odds are not long, they are not short (that we keep three goalies this season). I’m not sure what we are going to do just yet. When you see an opportunity like that you hope your club is nimble enough to take advantage of it, and we made a move and we’ll see how it develops. If it works out, then good for us. If it doesn’t work out, then it was a nice try. -George McPhee
So here we are, with three goalies, nine defensemen (one is injured), 11 forwards (not counting Neal), and Vadim Shipachyov, Shea Theodore, and Alex Tuch all technically optioned to the AHL.
While we continue to grieve, we are doing our best to return to normalcy and know that hockey is a way we, and many of you, escape from the unfortunate realities life often deals us. We will never forget the tragic event that occurred on October 1st.
Here is what happened while we were away mourning the loss of so many innocent victims.
The entire Golden Knights organization, including players, coaches, front office, and business staff, were accounted for. In a press release, they added this statement, “However, we know that this is not the case for many other organizations in our city. Our hearts are with those affected and we will be doing what we can to support the victims, their families and those grieving.”
Fan Fest has been canceled. It was originally scheduled for tonight from 6-8 PM outside The D Casino.
Instead, players will make appearances in the community to show support to first responders and victims.
A Finnish tabloid ran a story including a quote from Erik Haula claiming many members of the Golden Knights were eating dinner at Mandalay Bay when the incident occurred. Here is the story.
The translated version claims a real estate agent called Haula to let him know what was happening. Haula and teammates were unaware until he received the call. He was quoted as saying “there is panic in the streets,” and “the building is closed, we are going to be here all night.”
This is an unconfirmed report. There is a team practice today at 11 AM, with media availability following. We should have more about the validity of this story later today.
The roster deadline is scheduled for today at 2PM PST. The Golden Knights, and all NHL teams, must cut down to 23 players by that time.
One player was placed on and cleared waivers, that was Teemu Pulkkinen. Despite scoring twice including on the power play, Pulkkinen will be sent to the Chicago Wolves.
Last season, Pulkkinen was placed on waivers by the Red Wings, was then claimed by the Wild prior to the season beginning. He was then traded to the Coyotes in February. Vegas selected him from the Coyotes in the Expansion Draft.