The Golden Knights enter the return to the 2019-20 season with a luxury. Vegas is part of the group of eight teams that will not be fighting for their playoff lives instantly upon the season’s resumption. Instead, they have an exhibition game followed by three round-robin games which come with reward but little consequence.
Head coach Pete DeBoer intends on taking advantage of that luxury in regards to his goaltenders.
My plan here is both guys are going to play through the round-robin. I think coming off a four-month pause in order to make sure that we get everybody up to speed and are fair and have all the information at our disposal when we start the playoffs that’s the right thing to do. They’ll probably play two and two between the exhibition game and the three round-robin games and then we’ll make some tough decisions. -DeBoer
Since the Golden Knights acquired Robin Lehner at the deadline, they have rotated between he and Marc-Andre Fleury every game. It was just a six-game stretch, but it appears that plan will continue through the first four games in Edmonton.
That first of those four is an exhibition game against the Coyotes on Thursday. DeBoer is planning on taking that game a lot more seriously than he would a normal preseason game.
I do know I’m not a big believer in splitting goalies half games so whoever we start with we’ll plan on ending with. We have the option of dressing 22 where a normal roster is 20. I’m leaning towards dressing 20 just because I want to get into our game rhythm. We only have one game prior to starting the round-robin so I want it to feel like an important game. -DeBoer
He did not reveal which goalie that will be, but the assumption based on how they’ve been rotating goalies is that whichever it is, he will also be in the net for the middle round-robin game against St. Louis. Obviously things could change, but we expect it to look like this…
7/30 – ARI – Goalie 1
8/3 – DAL – Goalie 2
8/6 – STL – Goalie 1
8/8 – COL – Goalie 2
The Golden Knights will then have a day or two off before they start the real playoffs, a best-of-seven series against a qualifying round winner. At which point, DeBoer will select the true starter.
Those decisions are never written in stone and whoever we start with that can change very quickly depending on how the playoffs go and injuries and matchups and things like that. -DeBoer
Let the story of the playoffs for the Golden Knights begin.