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Roster Down To 26, Who Will Survive The Last Round Of Cuts?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With eyes set on 23, the Golden Knights training camp roster of 66 has been cut all the way down to 26. The VGK front office have just a few more decisions to make. But, these final ones are always the toughest.

The 26-man roster included 15 forwards, nine defensemen, and two goalies. Three more players will have to find their way off this group before Vegas can drop the banner celebrating the Stanley Cup and begin their quest to repeat.

Obviously, the two goalies, Adin Hill and Logan Thompson are expected to suit up on October 10th, with the playoff hero Hill expected to start between the pipes against the Kraken. Down to 24.

Forwards Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, Ivan Barbashev, Nic Roy, William Carrier, and Keegan Kolesar are all guaranteed, if healthy, to be on the roster as well. That puts us at 15.

On the back end, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, Alec Martinez, and Nic Hague are all locks. So, we’re down to ten.

Ten players. Seven will be on the roster, three will be not.

They are Michael Amadio, Brett Howden, Paul Cotter, Pavel Dorofeyev, Max Comtois, Brendan Brisson, Zach Whitecloud, Ben Hutton, Brayden Pachal, and Kaedan Korczak.

The first variable is always health. Right now, one of those ten players, Zach Whitecloud, is not healthy, and has already been ruled out for the rest of the preseason. If he’s not available to go to start the season, he’ll be placed on injured reserve (IR) and would represent one of the three that would not be on the official 23-man opening night roster. That being said, if Whitecloud can play, his name would have been up there next to Pietrangelo and Theodore as a lock.

Amadio, Howden, and Hutton are all as close to locks as you can be as well. The Golden Knights are not immune to throwing a surprise at us every once in a while, but in this case, it would be a bit of a stunner if the 23-man roster drops without all three of their names.

So, we’re down to six players for two or three spots (depending on Whitecloud). In order, here’s who is most likely to make the final 23.

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Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night for preseason game #4. The World Champions outshot the Coyotes 9 to 3 in the opening period but neither team could find the back of the net. Arizona struck first quickly into the middle frame, but Nic Hague evened the score midway through. 2020 29th overall pick Brendan Brisson gave his club the lead with 0:15 seconds remaining.

Vegas continued to pepper shots at Arizona’s net, specifically from the blue line. Nic Hague, Kaeden Korczak and Shea Theodore all delivered 4 or more SOG.

The Golden Knights picked up their first victory of the preseason and now prepare for their final three exhibition games. The Golden Knights will welcome in the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Brendan Brisson power play goal, William Karlsson empty netter, and the Coyotes shot the puck like 10 times the whole game. That’s really all there was to know about this game. (Recap by Ken)

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Penalty Kill Minutes Are “Out There For Somebody,” Eichel Took Many In First Preseason Game

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In his first preseason game of the year, Jack Eichel was the first player over the boards on multiple occasions when the Golden Knights were tasked with killing a penalty.

We didn’t use him a lot on the kill (last year). With Reilly Smith’s minutes, they’re out there for somebody. -Cassidy

Eichel played 2:19 of shorthanded time and took three faceoffs with a teammate in the box. Only once all season (including pre and postseason) last year did Eichel play more on the penalty kill than he did last night.

Without Nic Roy as a right shot center we used Jack for draws, so he started a lot of the kills. It’s something I talked to Jack about doing a little more of so we’ll see how it goes. He’s a smart guy, can pressure pucks, and you saw it with our kill tonight, I thought it was pretty effective. -Cassidy

While everyone’s fairly certain Eichel will dominate on the penalty kill the same way he does just about every other aspect of the game, there’s a cost that comes with it, and Cassidy isn’t blind to it.

With the PK, that’s something we can build into his game, it’s at what expense? How many minutes does he get? Or are you better off spreading it around to other guys to keep them in the game more. -Cassidy

Last night, Cassidy chose to limit Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson’s time on the penalty kill in favor of taking a look at players like Mason Morelli, Jonas Rondbjerg, Jakub Demek, and Jakub Brabenec. He’s considering doing the same in the regular season with a pair of fourth liners.

Both Kolesar and Carrier, I brought that up last year that I’d like them to kill more, it didn’t work out that way, no fault to them, I used other people. They’ve been killing now against our guys in practice for a year so there’s an opportunity for those two. There’s a little bit of by committee this year for that particular spot. -Cassidy

Managing minutes is going to be a massive story all season for the Golden Knights. Cassidy has already made it clear he’s not willing to give players games off for rest, so he’ll have to do pick and choose his spots inside of games instead.

There are many reasons it’s so hard to repeat as champions in the NHL, workload is among the strongest of them. Having Eichel as an option to help kill penalties is certainly beneficial for the Golden Knights, but he can’t be overused. Cassidy is keenly aware of it, he’ll just have to get reasonable contributions from others to make sure he can actually stick to it.


Recap: The Golden Knights welcomed the LA Kings for their third preseason game. It was the World Champions first home game since defeating the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final. Youngster Brendan Brisson began the night with a goal and an assist in the opening period.

Leading 2-0, the 2nd period was marred with late hits, sucker punches and a half dozen roughing penalties. Eventually, the game resumed and LA cut Vegas’ lead in half. Minutes later Ben Hutton regained the Golden Knights’ two-goal advantage.

The Kings stormed back with a pair of 3rd period goals to send the game to OT.

Los Angeles potted a goal with a few seconds left in overtime as the Golden Knights lost their third straight to open the preseason. The Stanley Cup champs will next hit the ice on Friday to face the Arizona Coyotes. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Jack Eichel decided to try for a shift and basically forced Brisson to score a goal. Then VGK’s power play looked like when they play NHL 24 on rookie mode. Then a dude hit Mark Stone way too late for a preseason game and everyone got super mad. Then VGK blew a two goal lead and lost in OT. As for as a preseason game goes, it was actually kind of eventful. (Recap by Ken)

Read More Podcast #298: We’re Not Big Preseason Guys

Hockey is back, but it’s pretty brutal hockey to watch. We go through the first couple preseason games, look at what’s coming, and as always, go down a bunch of rabbit holes narrowly related to what we’re talking about. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • First look at Vegas 34
  • Max Comtois’ PTO
  • Goalies in preseason
  • The health threshold

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Logan Thompson Feels First Preseason Appearance Was A Step In The Right Direction

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Preseason is tough on everybody. From younger players fighting to prove their worth to veteran players who are in many ways just trying to make it through healthy, it seems like the motivation for every player on the ice is slightly different, which often leads to messy hockey games.

Goalies may have it the toughest though as game-action hockey for the guys between the pipes is much harder to replicate than it is for skaters.

Traffic around the net, rebound control, little tips and screens, you don’t get a lot of that when you are working in the offseason, so that’s why they need to play. That’s why you see some goals that may go through some holes during the preseason that may not otherwise. They have to get used to things happening in a hurry. -Bruce Cassidy

Logan Thompson stepped into the net last night for the first time since March and only the third time since January. Understandably, he looked a bit unsettled early.

It got better as the game went on. I felt more comfortable there in the 2nd period. Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a game but it felt good and it’s a step in the right direction. -Logan Thompson

Thompson mentioned another aspect that often gets overlooked as well.

Getting your lungs back and getting the cardio up. We can go as hard as we want in practice but it’s just not that game atmosphere. -Thompson

In other words, give the goalies a break during the preseason. There may be some soft goals along the way, but in the end, all that matters is being ready for October 10th.


Recap: Some different faces were on the Golden Knights bench for their second of a back-to-back exhibition game. Sheldon Rempal opened the scoring for Vegas before Colorado capped off the first period leading 2-1.

The Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the final period but Vegas’ Lukas Cormier got his team within one. Colorado held off Vegas late in the game to pull off a 3-2 victory. 

After two preseason matchups the Golden Knights are (0-2)… who really cares about the score anyway? The Golden Knights are still Stanley Cup champions.  (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights did very little of substance in this game. It felt like there would be 10 minutes between every shot. Not a great showing, but not a lot of care given. (Recap by Ken)

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Recap: The Golden Knights opened the preseason in San Jose in front of a raucous crowd (lol). San Jose opened the scoring quickly potting the first of the game just 24 seconds in. The Sharks ran out to a 3-0 lead before the Golden Knights got on the board for the first time. Pavel Dorofeyev made an excellent pass to Ivan Barbashev who continued his goal scoring ways.

The score got worse in the 2nd as the Sharks took a 5-1 lead before Vegas finally tallied again with a Brett Howden goal.

The teams basically skated in circles in the 3rd period. There were a bunch of penalties.

The Golden Knights drop their first preseason game 5-2 and fall to 0-1-0. VGK are right back at it tomorrow night in Colorado with what’s expected to be a completely different roster. The game is scheduled for 6 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Imagine playing Stanley Cup Final Game 5, and then the next game you play is a preseason game in San Jose in front of 150 people. Would you care? Didn’t think so. (Recap by Ken)

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No Scheduled Days Off Planned For Mark Stone

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Rest. It’s a growing trend around the landscape of sports. From “load management” in the NBA to “squad rotation” in soccer, even golf had to put in new rules to keep players from skipping too many tournaments in a season. Cautious approaches make sense, but they are also frustrating for the people paying to watch the games.

In the NHL, rest has not really become part of the vernacular for head coaches, and certainly not for players. 

We haven’t done it other than maybe late in the year. Would I do it in the middle of January? Probably not. First of all, players don’t want to come out of the lineup even when they’re hurt, so there’s dealing with that part of it. -Bruce Cassidy

Last year, down the stretch the Golden Knights continued plugging along with their full roster as they chased down the top spot in the Pacific and Western Conference. 

They were, however, missing the captain, who sat out the latter portion of the regular season recovering from his second back surgery in nine months. Mark Stone found his way right back into the lineup for the first game of the playoffs and proceeded to play 22 straight en route to being the first Golden Knight to lift the Stanley Cup.

His health is paramount to the team’s hopes to repeat and everyone knows it. That being said, there’s no expectation of scheduled days off for the 31-year-old.

We don’t have a distinct plan saying ‘he’s going to get next Wednesday off or next this and that.’ It’s kind of a fluid situation and he has to be honest with the trainers and they’ll be honest with me and we’ll judge accordingly. We’re not going to overtax him in preseason that’s for sure but if he’s healthy he needs to play and get his timing. -Cassidy

Stone played three preseason games last year including the final two on the schedule. He then played in 43 straight to open the year before missing the final 39. 

He says he feels as good as he has in years coming into camp this season, which means, if there’s a game that counts and Mark Stone is available to play, you can expect #61 to be in the lineup. 

Max Comtois Sees Vegas As The Perfect Fit For His Play Style, Vegas Agrees

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Two years ago, Max Comtois led the Anaheim Ducks in scoring across the 56-game 2020-21 season. It was his first full season in the NHL and it appeared his career was taking off. His 16 goals were four clear of his closest teammate and his 33 points outscored veterans Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg, and fellow youngster Trevor Zegras.

That offseason, the Ducks rewarded Comtois with a contract just north of $4 million for two seasons. That meant upon expiry, the Ducks would be required to extend Comtois an offer of about $2.5 million this summer.

His 16 points in 52 games and 19 points in 64 games did not warrant that type of offer from Anaheim, and thus, the 24-year-old former 2nd round pick became available on the open market.

Comtois and his agent were patient though. They knew to get his career back on the right track, Max shouldn’t be chasing money, but instead looking for the perfect fit. He was not short of suitors, but ultimately felt Vegas was the one.

It just seemed right from the beginning to come here. I had some other options but to me (the Golden Knights) had the best play style that fit with me. -Max Comtois

Aside from being the reigning Stanley Cup champions and having a clear hole in the starting lineup with the departure of Reilly Smith, the Bruce Cassidy style of play was attractive to Comtois.

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