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Goalie Rotation Plans Changing Due To Standings

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This year they vowed to be different. From the head coach (the old one) to the front office to The Creator himself, the Golden Knights said they knew they needed to use a bit more of a goalie rotation than they have in the past.

You are going to see more of Subban this year, you will. George and Kelly and the coaches have it figured out and they have games identified for Subban and you are going to see him more. It’s part of what needs to happen. We want to make sure Flower is really ready for the playoffs. –The Creator on Sportsbook Radio in October 2019

After running Marc-Andre Fleury out for 61 games last season the Golden Knights were headed for a much lighter workload this season, especially after Fleury missed a few weeks following the death of his father.

However, that plan appears to be out the window now as the playoff spot everyone expected Vegas would have isn’t as secure as they would like.

We’re in the sprint to the finish here and we’re fighting for our playoff spot. We’re going to put the best lineup and the best starter out there to give us a chance to win every night. This isn’t preseason planning where you can map out, we want so many games for this guy or so many games for that guy. That’s in the rearview mirror. -Pete DeBoer on Tuesday

This was yesterday (Tuesday) before the game in Minnesota. On Monday, appearing on the Jim Rome Show, he was asked about “load management” and his answer was a bit different.

We’ve got Marc-Andre Fleury here in net in Vegas. You know he’s a 35-year-old goaltender that’s our starter. We talk about load management with him, both about starts and in practice time. We aren’t at the NBA point where we’re scratching players yet but it’s definitely in our conversations as far as practice days and off days. -DeBoer on Jim Rome Show

Fleury has started eight of the nine games under DeBoer and has been in the goal for 15 of the last 17, with one of the two being the game he missed due to suspension. He’s now started 41 of the team’s 58 games.

The Golden Knights did not have both goalies available for much for the start season so their rotation was somewhat dictated to them through the first few months.

10/2/19 – 10/10/19 – Both Available (9 days)
10/11/19 – 11/1/19 – Subban out (22 days)
11/2/19 – 11/23/19 – Both Available (22 days)
11/24/19 – 12/9/19 – Fleury out (11 days)

They played 32 games during that span seeing Fleury start 19, Subban 12, and Oscar Dansk 1. On that pace over the course of an 82 game season, Fleury would see 49 games, Subban 31, and Dansk 2.

That number has shifted radically with both available for the last 26 games.

Since December 10th, Fleury has started 21 times bringing his season total up to 40. 21 of 26 would mean 66 games in a season, five more than last year when the team decided in the offseason that he needed more rest.

Unless there’s a change in heart as to which goalie gives the team the best chance to win, the Golden Knights appear ready to run Fleury out for a majority of the final 24 games.

If I think one guy is going to give us a better chance to win tonight, then he’s going to play. -DeBoer on Tuesday

It’s reasonable to believe Fleury could play in 60+ games this season, which is a remarkably high number considering he was unavailable for 8 games.

It’s not hard to understand where the Golden Knights are coming from, staring at the standings and seeing a clump of teams all vying for a few playoff spots. But what good is getting to playoffs if your goalie is too worn out to succeed when you get there?

The Golden Knights appeared to have the right idea going into the season, but losing happened, and now it’s all out the window.

Bold strategy cotton, let’s see if it pays off.



Next Podcast #186: Keep Panicking


  1. Vgk4life

    Goalie rotation huh? That’s the excuse for having defensemen like Merill Holden Engelland? Of course we now have 2 rookie defensemen playing in 14 and 2, but what about the lack of movement in getting some defensive help? Instead we fired Gallant. We didn’t replace Miller who was actually doing well for us. We kept an aging #5. We relied upon a great personality in 88 who is at best a 3rd defensive pairing. What was our GM doing?

    • Erik d

      In a salary cap era teams need to manage where they are strong. The knights went with their forwards and goalie. Fleury is paid to bail out the defense because that’s what he was doing when he got the contract. We got him to do that and if he’s not that’s a huge problem.

    • Cody

      Year One team was great and balanced. Then McPhee struck. Destroyed the team. Neal. Haula. Miller. Leipsic. Yep even Teemu Pulkkinen. See ya. Reaves signed for $3M+? Subban who has regressed every year. The Tatar debacle. Paul Stastny. What a nightmare.

  2. 2 sieves

    so, they have a starter who is old, with declining performance, and a style that does not fit the current league goalies….big, puck blockers, stay in position, forget the acrobatics.

    and a backup who embarrassed himself and the team last month at home.

    so what frickin’ difference does it make who starts? cuz there is NO CONFIDENCE in EITHER one of them right about now.

    gee, do we want the .898 goalie or the barely .904 acrobat who loses big leads at home??

    no, I’ve got it.. let’s trade for Jordan Binnington who is in town, because he proved unexpectedly that any old minor leaguer can turn it around, for a short time, if he is hungry enough.

    Or, hell, maybe the Hamburglar from Ottawa years ago can join the Knights and do it one more time.

  3. 2 sieves

    ain’t it odd that 2 rookie goalies can play with a team that is DECIMATED by 7,8, 9 injured topnotch players and still give Columbus a save % of .930 and .946

    Werenski was out, and now Seth Jones is out longterm, but the rookie goalie still stops the puck. gee, if only a Vegas goalie could do even half of that

  4. knights fan in minny

    pathetic loss last night to a garbage wild team I hope this loss doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for a playoff berth time to make a move

  5. I knew firing Gerard Gallant was a HUGE mistake and said so. Karma has a way of coming back around for a visit when she’s not invited. The same problems that existed before the coaching change are still there and growing worse. F#cking disastrous for the VGK.

  6. Mike G

    “But what good is getting to playoffs if your goalie is too worn out to succeed when you get there?“ Totally agree with this Ken. This reminds of the piece you wrote a month or so ago about what to do with Fleury. I still think shelving him for a month with some kind of “upper body injury” is the way to go. The problem that gets overlooked is that this type of workload for Fleury also hurts Subban. How is any goalie supposed to get comfortable when they only play once every 3 weeks? Let him take the reigns for a string of games and let’s see how he does. Say what you want about PDB but our defense has played much better under him. They are allowing significantly less shots per game and they have become much more involved offensively. I’m much more upset about the loss to Carolina on Saturday than I am about last night. That was a bad spot for VGK and everyone knew it.

  7. DOC Williams

    Lets face it … They have NO confidence in Subban, AND should have addressed that concern in the off-season. The only thing they can do now, is somehow rankle a decent goalie from somebody before trade deadline. OR, just bring up that dude from Chicago and let him have at. No matter WHAT they do to bolster defense, without a goalie back there who you can trust to bail you out … we have NO CHANCE in PO’s, IF we even get there. It’s so sad to talk about flower & Engelland like this. MY favorite two players after season 1. But age has now diminished them greatly!!! (Makes sad, I love those two guys)! 🙁

  8. trades

    the Blackhawks have 2 players who could help the Vgk if they want to go the rental UFA route.

    Goalie Robin Lehner is a UFA at season’s end, and so is dman Erik Gustafsson.

    Lehner is better than any of the 2 Vegas goalies, and Gustafsson is an offensive puck moving PP point man dman who is only fair to middling in his own end

    Lehner at $5 mill (Hawks could retain some of it) and Gus at only $1.2

    Whitecloud and Subban and Eakin and a 2nd round draft pick

  9. Cody

    Subban has played at least as well as Fleury lately and they have completely wasted Sparks. This team is mismanaged right into the draft lottery.

  10. Fly on the wall

    who is dreaming? the commenters on here talked for weeks about changing the d zone system from man to man to a zone….and eventually it happened

    they also talked for weeks about Gallant possibly getting fired, and everyone laughed at that……until he got fired.

    if the Vgk lose these next couple games at home, it will be shocking if there are not major changes in the works, with some popular faces going elsewhere.

  11. DOC Williams

    I can’t agree with the earlier that we didn’t gain anything by changing coaches. Has everyone all of a sudden forgot how well they played in those 4 games, coming out of the break? The 3rd period at home was an outlier I believe. What concerns me more is last night. NO desire or passion what-so-ever????? HOW ateam can put forth THAT kind of effort in such a close PO race. That has to be the last of that, PERIOD!

  12. Tod Z

    They’ve backed themselves into a corner with their first season’s success and signings. They are in “win now” mode and the window is closing if not already closed. They don’t have the luxury of bringing up the young D to see what they can do at the NHL level. Having Fleury stand on his head making saves has them just in the playoff picture to this point.
    Upgrading the D will require moving at least one contract and pick/prospect because of cap space. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  13. james Regdos

    Merril , holden , mcnab, englaund, schimdt. All these Defensemen are terrible. Yes schimdt makes bad passes and sloppy plays. Along with losing puck battles all game. Theadore is the only defenseman I’d keep. Keeping eakin 3.75 mill, holden 2.2 and reaves 2.75 destroyed any chance of getting 2 or 3 better defensemen.

  14. There is more to the problem than just goalies. When you see more opposition in and around the net unencumbered what does that tell you? That is no defense for poor goalkeeping we have witnessed as both do a lousy job at controlling rebounds and seem to let stopable shots in from all over. The defensemen are useless with maybe one exception. That said they as a group have proven they can win and skate with the best of them when the mood [attitude] moves them. Unfortunately that is not the case often enough. The fact they don’t stick up for one another speaks volumes-the Reaves incident. Are they really brothers and a team- questionabe. What’s sad is not just the goalie issue but the team in general when it comes to lack of winning attitude which is correctable – not by the coach the players themselves. Yes Ken it boils down to attitude.

  15. Hdbiker7851

    Three goals on 6 shots just a wonderful show of goal trending. Last game 4 goals 10 shots. It’s all over sell your tickets if you can find a buyer.

  16. DOC Williams

    YAHOOOO! We have found our Goalie. Subban, SUBBAN he’s our man. Gets the win against STL …. with a sparkling 5.00 GA ave AND an impressive .791 save % … WOW!!!!!!

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