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Cassidy Unveils First Lineup And Explains How He Arrived At It

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

It’s just the first day of Training Camp, and each of the top three lines participated in separate practices, but Bruce Cassidy had months to consider line combinations and there’s certainly something to be said about the first ones he rolled out as head coach of the Golden Knights.

Following the three practices, Cassidy took to the podium to discuss his thinking on setting the lines for the first day of camp.

We want to get players that can play to their strengths, mesh with other people but still get a good combination of guys that can make a play, guys that are willing to get to the net to open ice, guys that are able to hold on to pucks low in the o-zone and how they compliment each other. There’s a lot that goes into it. That’s how we started and we’ll go from there. -Cassidy

The lineup looked like this.

Smith-Eichel-Kessel
Marchessault-Stephenson-Stone
Howden-Karlsson-Amadio
Carrier-Roy-Kolesar

Martinez-Pietrangelo
McNabb-Theodore
Hutton-Whitecloud

What jumps off the page immediately is the brand new first line with Phil Kessel manning a wing. After averaging less than 16 minutes a night a year ago, if he holds a place alongside Eichel and Smith he’ll likely see that number increase by a couple of minutes or so.

Next, Chandler Stephenson is back in the center of the ice after spending lots of time on the wing last season.

That’s kind of where it’s at right now. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, wing or center, but it kind of seems like anybody can play anywhere right now. That’s the good thing, no one is handcuffed into a spot, it’s just let’s try these three guys or less try these other three guys. -Stephenson

Stephenson is flanked by a duo that showed great success together for Team Canada in the 2018 IIHF World Championships, Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone. And, of course, it’s terrific to see Stone back on the ice participating in all drills with the team following his back surgery this season.

We don’t know exactly what the lines are going to be especially with a new coaching staff coming in. (Marchessault) has been our most, or one of our most, consistent goal scorers the last number of years. He’s like a sure thing 30 goals and I think he can add a great shooting threat on the line with Pacioretty moving on. -Stone

The bottom-six is anchored by William Karlsson and sees Nic Roy stepping into the 4th line center role in a line the Golden Knights were excited about seeing play together last year but didn’t see come to fruition due to the injuries

We put some lines together and we’ll go from there. What you see now may or may not be what you see later. Guys are going to move around, that’s inevitable. How much they move around will depend on how much chemistry there is at certain times. -Cassidy

There’s so much time both in practices and in preseason games for these to change, but the first names on the board hold significance and they certainly give a bit of perspective into how Cassidy views the roster.

With two days before the first preseason game and then another game and a day off, the lines will likely stay the same through Tuesday. After that, we could start to see the first shuffle.

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63 Comments

  1. Herby

    Interesting lines. Quite like them and hope Smith can handle all the defensive work he needs to do with two line mates that refuse to play defense.

    Could be an interesting +/- stat for the top line.

    • Pistol Pete

      We’ll see how Eichel and Kessel do defensively. I would not expect either to be uncooperative when it comes to playing Cassidy’s system when winning games can depend on it, but it could be hard at first.

  2. George T

    Not optimistic at all.

    Hopefully this changes.

  3. Pistol Pete

    I like what Cassidy came up with even if it is subject to change. And I saw Kessel in that the first practice yesterday. He’s not exactly some old lumbering guy. He can still move.

  4. Blitz

    I like the first line alot. I think Eichel and a committed Kessel can be an elite pairing. Both are great skaters. If they both commit to the defensive system, basically do their job defensively, I think they will have a very good season together. Cassidy was describing his defensive system as zone coverage as opposed to man on man. You stay within your role and rely on your line mates to do their role. As long as these guys buy in and do their job, things will be good. As for Smith, he is about the most rock solid forward on the team. I don’t worry about him on any line.

    The only thing I don’t like is Karl being on line 3. Just seems like a waste and out of place. I guess this is the defense line? Just seems off to me.

    I feel like there are decent players down low, but almost like we need to trade a couple of them off for equally good players, but in different roles. Example: trade a solid 3rd line center in Roy for a solid 3rd line wing. Howden is a fine 4th line center, Roy is a waste on the 4th line, but he is not a great wing, so you are damned. Just seems built weird down low. In my opinion of course.

  5. Wow, the so-called first line won’t last more than 10, games! Roy an up and coming player on the fourth line, well he won’t be a Knight for much longer

    • knights fan in minny

      So you think those lines are set in stone you’re not very bright

    • Don’t understand why most people want Roy on 4th line. He seems to be a good fit on LW in the top six and one of RS or PK can be moved to the 3rd.

      I also see Amadio a lot at 3rd line all the time….baffling.

    • I’d go with:
      Roy-Karlsson-Stone
      Marchessault-Eichel-Kessel
      Manninen-Stephenson-Smith
      Carrier-?-?

  6. Chuckles

    Very interesting. Time to bring back Knight Fever!
    Knight Fever!

  7. THE hockey GOD

    All the goalies look good in camp; today
    Adin Hill was exceptional . He’s huge. Adin Hill/Height and weight
    Height 6′ 6″, Weight 202 lbs

    The rest of players are all having a good camp.
    Stand outs for me so far, Brisson and Howden..

    All the Russians look decent, VGK should put their own Russian Five together.
    Their no. 1 pick, no. 25, looked good in training camp.

  8. knights fan in minny

    elliot friedman thinks the knights are up to something jason robertson would be interesting

    • Mike StG

      Minny – I think Hague + a young roster F to ARI for Chychrun would be killer. Vegas would have a truly elite defense corp. Probably best in the league top to bottom.

      That kind of defense would accomplish 4 things:

      1) Help young goalies be successful
      2) Take some pressure off forwards need to score
      3) Make D legit scoring threat regardless of pairings
      4) Put this team in true contender status

    • Blitz

      If Dallas gave up Jason Robertson it would be the dumbest move ever. Dallas has 6 mil in cap and probably needs a bit more to sign him. Vegas doesn’t have a move at all to “A” get him away from Dallas and “B” pay him north of 7 million. Big moves by Vegas are long gone. The money has been spent and all assets are all long term.

      If they make any move, it would have to be small. *However*…I suppose a real shake up like trading away Karlsson (5.9 mil) could open a door for more top heaviness. Trading away your #1 defensive center in a defensive forward system would be the wrong move….so with KMGM I guess it is in fact possible. LOL

      • JV

        Robertson is going to cost 8.5 million, based on what players like Stutzle and Robert Thomas got. Dallas doesn’t want to give him that, based on what their GM said, which was basically, “Guy is coming off the 3rd year of his ELC and wants to be paid 7 million a year”

  9. Roy needs to be 1st or 2nd line, Karlsson has never done anything other than his first year he should be 3rd line with Kessel. Why didn’t any other team want to overpay him as the knights did? The oilers signed Kane for $900,000 first yr, what a deal.

  10. Okay, look here is some realistic analysis.

    #1 Kessel is on the downside of his career.
    #2 Stone’s back is going to be an issue.
    #3 Howden & Amadio? Is that really the best combination they could come up with on the 3rd line. Carrier has never been rewarded for his outstanding play and think he’s a better option on that line.
    #4 Apparently, Karlsson had 1 great year with Gallant. Wild Bill was given the freedom to attack and tip the ice. That strategy completely changed under PDB with Wild Bill being put back into a more of a defensive center. I am hoping that we will see Karlsson used a lot more on offense and I think he would be better paired up with Carrier who has excellent speed and strength.

    Let’s be honest here. You can say the early success was a fluke or that it was squandered away by poor roster management (along with some poor luck with respect to injuries). Stone’s back is going to be an issue.

    The carousel of Coaching, Roster, and Goaltending is finally going to catch up with the Golden Knights this year. I see them no higher than 4th in the division and will be lucky to make the playoffs. Very lucky.

    Prediction. No playoffs and the end of the McCrimmon era. The rebuild begins next year with a new GM. The only question is who that will be and will he want to bring in his own Coach or stick with Cassidy?

  11. Mac23

    Someone mind telling me which lines are in which practice group? I want to watch a practice tomorrow, but I’d like to know who’s going to be skating when.

  12. JV

    Hopefully Eichel and Stephenson eventually get switched.

    Robertson? Shiny new toy. Got 8.5 million a year in cap space lying around? Would have to trade Pietrangelo to make it work ( not that I would object to that).

  13. JV

    Robertson is going to cost 8.5 million, based on what players like Stutzle and Robert Thomas got. Dallas doesn’t want to give him that, based on what their GM said, which was basically, “Guy is coming off the 3rd year of his ELC and wants to be paid 7 million a year”

  14. Unfortunately, the definition of lines 1 thru 4 is really a disservice to all players as it implies one is superior to the other and nothing could be further from the truth. They all play an important part in accomplishing a winning team. What is needed is four scoring lines and four defensive lines all one of the same if they expect to succeed. Unknowledgeable Fans seem to buy into the idea one line is better than the other by the numbering system they use. As I recall I don’t remember Cassidy using that terminology in Boston – maybe I am wrong – but avoiding the numbering system has its advantages as all are on an equal footing in everyone’s eye which develops a team winning attitude.

    • THE hockey GOD

      ok i hear ya
      let’s make up names for the lines:

      let’s call line one the old timers line
      let’s call line four the kid line
      let’s call line two the near misses (MSS)
      and let’s call line three the howdy do dee line ?

      The training camp is intense, the way Cassidy is running this; it’s like a drill sargent in marines. Some of the drills are actually two drills with same players , shifting from one drill to another drill. The goalies are always busy. Players seem to get the drill after being explained once. A few times they lined up on wrong side boards, but the coach got them squared away. The goalies have to stay alert as players are darting in on them as drills mesh into one another.

      This entirely different than GG training camp. I didn’t get to see much of PDB training camps due to covid.

      I expect the team to be fit for the upcoming games; whether or not they execute is another question. Other than moving the puck up the along the boards, I am trying to figure out the “system” as the rookie tournament “the system” was all over the place.

      • Thg,I went to Saturday practice, and it was packed! YESSS!

        • THE hockey GOD

          Nice TS, thanks for coming out. Did you stay all day or just watch one practice ? Which one ?

          I didn’t see you there. The “flag man’ was there. Ken was there.

          It was sparsely populated when I was there.

          • TS

            Thg, I was there for the 11:30 A Practice, when it was crowded..Will be going to today’s 10:30 team practice..
            Maybe we’ll meet in person.. look for the woman with VGK gear on…LOL!!

  15. Obvious

    Fat Phil will have a heart attack half way thru the first period.

    Having said that he only breaks a sweat choking down a dozen donuts

  16. Obvious

    Other teams in this division must be thinkin they’ve won the lottery watching this geriatric debacle. Fat Phil on first line? Sigh…

    • knights fan in minny

      still waiting for your solution to make this team better ass clown since you think you know more then anyone on here you have none your just a piece of shit loser who complains crawl back under your rock BOY

      • Obvious

        You sound like someone who spends most of the day stroking yourself while fixated on Hillary posters

        • knights fan in minny

          watch your mouth you piece of shit dont you ever call me democrap you bitter piece of shit you still wont say what you would do with this team you know nothing about the game you clules fag

    • knights fan in minny

      so you think the thrill will be on the first line the whole time shows you know nothing dick breath mr bitter

  17. MARK

    By the end of training camp, this should be the VGK lineup. The misfit line should remain because of the amazing chemistry that all 3 of them have together. By the end of camp that should be how the combinations look.

    TOP LINE
    Phil Kessel – Jack Eichel- Mark Stone

    2ND LINE
    Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson – Reilly Smith

    3RD LINE
    Brett Howden- Chandler Stephenson – Michael Amadio

    4TH LINE
    William Carrier- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar

    DEFENSEMEN TOP LINE
    Alex Pietrangelo – Alec Martinez

    DEFENSEMEN 2ND LINE
    Brayden McNabb – Shea Theodore

    DEFENSEMEN 3RD LINE
    Zach Whitecloud – Ben Hutton

    GOALIES
    Logan Thompson – Starter
    Adin Hill – Backup

    *Nicolas Hague – Holdout

  18. MARK

    People may not like Phil Kessel however next to Mark Stone and Jack Eichel, Kessel is the 3rd best overall player on the entire VGK roster and he is the most accomplished player on the VGK roster too. I don’t know any other VGK player with 2 Stanley Cups on his resume. So it’s only right that Kessel be on the 1st line with Stone and Eichel. That is if the Golden Knights plan on being any good this year.

    • THE hockey GOD

      definitely an upgrade from Boris Badanov (prounced ba DAN ov, not BAD n off).

  19. Bruce Cassidy has more hockey knowledge in his pinky finger, than all the experts on this thread. Why doesn’t everyone just shut up and watch the process unfold of how to rebuild and redirect a franchise that lost its way a bit.
    All I really care about is that we are a physical team again. Once that happens and is demanded of the players, the names will be irrelevent. We will be a team again.

    • knights fan in minny

      well said rick

    • THE hockey GOD

      welcome to jungle F(p)rick Fiend, your attitude won’t make you many “friends” around here. Bashing our first amendment free speech rights like that. Makes you sound like one of dem dere democraps that don’t like it when they are called out for their silly policy making failures. BTW NV has highest inflation of any state in Nation, it was reported this past week. TY goobner.

      Now have a cookie, while I watch your head explode as everybody posts their opinions that you most certainly HATE.

      Here comes one now, look out.

  20. Tim

    I love how all the posters know more than Cassidy about who might be on each line. Let’s see Cassidy has been in hockey most his life and here posters that don’t have a clue criticizing his line combo’s. I guess it’s fun speculating but for me baseball is where my heads at so good luck to you and to my Guardians baseball’s biggest story.

  21. Obvious

    Those lines won’t last a game

  22. I attended “A” lineup practice yesterday–wanted to watch Kessel…he is a Wide Body out there, for sure…after 30 minutes, he
    did seem tired. He may not start season with lots of ice time. My opinion.
    Eichel looked quick and sharp— ready to play hard. Impressive FOOTWORK/ PUCK HANDLING. He is definitely going to be a HUGE playmaker for us this season!
    Brisson is FUN to watch…he is FAST!He drives hard to the net, doesn’t hesitate to shoot…I did notice he was hesitant to pass off the puck near net..
    I wonder if Coach WANTS him to take a shot no matter what..
    Manninen is SNEAKY around the net! His small size gives him the ability to squeeze around larger players with ease…hope he gets some ice time.
    Some new drills/ plays, kinda confusing for the players, I think…they’ll all get used to Cassidy’s system with time and play. CHEERS TO A GREAT SEASON, KNIGHTS!!
    Oh, and BTW: Saturday practice was packed!! Fans are ready!

  23. Mark, Kessel and Eichel looked good together at Saturday practice…they will mesh well…true veterans. The 3rd player in the line is the question. Eichel is so quick, he needs the same from his line mates. Smith( coach’s pick) is quick enough, but is he ready for top-line pressure?

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