Thursday in Arizona there was a bit of a shocker in the Golden Knights’ lineup. With Daniil Miromanov returning from injury, Bruce Cassidy opted to healthy scratch Zach Whitecloud while leaving the younger Kaedan Korczak in the lineup. It was made clear that this was a coach’s decision and today the coach backed up why he chose to make it.
First off, we’re trying to get a look at Miromanov. So that’s first and foremost. We just felt Korczak was playing really consistent hockey so we put him ahead of Zach (Whitecloud) for that game. It’s not a long-term thing but sometimes it’s good for a player to know that this young guy is pushing from underneath. -Bruce Cassidy
It was the first time Whitecloud had been left out of the lineup when healthy since February 13th, 2020, Pete DeBoer’s 10th game in charge of the Golden Knights and a game started by Malcolm Subban.
However, just a few days later, Korczak was sent to the AHL and Whitecloud appears set to jump right back into the VGK lineup tonight.
That just becomes, are we planning on keeping the veteran guy out every night, and we weren’t prepared to do that. We only wanted to do it for a game. We knew at some point that if we were going to put Miromanov in someone else has to be out so it was Whitecloud the other night and it’s going to be Korczak tonight. -Cassidy
The Golden Knights’ blue line will only get increasingly crowded as each subsequent player returns from injury. Ben Hutton and waiver claim Tobias Bjornfot have both participated in multiple practices wearing normal jerseys indicating the return of each is imminent. Plus, Shea Theodore has been in each of the last three practices in a red no-contact jersey meaning he’s getting close too.
That has raised the urgency level to get Miromanov into games.
We know what Theodore can do and what Whitecloud and Hutton can do, and now we’ve seen a lot of what Korczak can do. Korczak has brought some real value to this hockey team. For a young player in a position like right-shot D that isn’t easy to find these are good things. That’s why we are looking at Miromanov. He’s not as far along in his professional career so we want to make sure we have the best read on everybody -Cassidy
Plus, Cassidy says a lot of what is missing from the lineup when Theodore is out is also offered by Miromanov. The same cannot be said necessarily for Korczak or Whitecloud.
Tonight, Miromanov will get back into the lineup, as will Whitecloud. But the VGK D carousel has just begun to spin, and depending on how everyone plays when they get their opportunity, it’s anyone’s guess where it will land by the time the playoffs roll around.