It didn’t happen for even one game last year, but tonight appears to be the night for the Golden Knights. Vegas will head into tonight’s Halloween game without a single player on the IR and not a single player missing with an injury.
Nate Schmidt is expected to resume his role as the team’s #1 defenseman and Alex Tuch will get a try with a pair of Cody’s, Eakin and Glass.
Each return from injury has a chance to have a significant effect on the team, but Schmidt’s return does more in regards to changing the lineup. It means at least two new D-pairs and more importantly, it means fewer minutes and less responsibility for guys like Shea Theodore, Nick Holden, Deryk Engelland, and Jon Merrill.
Nate’s a good player and he’s been one of our top players for two plus years and he’s going to make a big difference in our group. He’s important and he puts everybody where they belong. -Gerard Gallant
There are two different likely lineup options for the Golden Knights defense heading into this game. Either Holden and Merrill stick together and Theodore swaps sides to play with Engelland, or they return to the opening day pairs which had Merrill and Theodore together and Holden with Engelland.
Either way, the top pair minutes will now be handed to Schmidt as opposed to Theodore. That’s what Gallant is talking about when he says “puts everybody where they belong,” and the result of that should be a more noticeable impact on the game for Theodore.
We were worried about winning games, we weren’t worried about Shea’s (offense). He was playing big minutes against top players and that might change a little bit now so it’s going to help him, but in the long run it makes him a better player. -Gallant