When the Golden Knights take the ice tonight there will be a familiar face on the bench. With Malcolm Subban out with an injury, Max Lagace will don the pads and serve as the back-up for Marc-Andre Fleury for the second straight game. This isn’t a new experience for Lagace and nor should it be for fans to see him in a Golden Knights sweater. However, it’s easy to forget how wild a ride last season was for the 26-year-old French Canadian goaltender.
July 1, 2017 – Lagace signs as a free agent with the Golden Knights.
October 5th, 2017 – Lagace does not make the opening day roster with the Golden Knights, is optioned to the AHL.
October 14th, 2017 – Following an injury to Fleury, Lagace is called up to back-up recently acquired Malcolm Subban.
October 19th, 2017 – Without appearing in a game, Lagace is sent back to the AHL and replaced on the roster by Oscar Dansk.
October 22nd, 2017 – Lagace is recalled to the NHL following the injury to Malcolm Subban. Dansk assumed the role as the starter after helping lead Vegas to a win over St. Louis and then shutting out Colorado.
October 30th, 2017 – About halfway through a game against the Islanders, Dansk is injured and Lagace makes his NHL debut. He allows four goals on 11 shots in a loss.
November 1st, 2017 – The very next night, Lagace is the now the starter for the Golden Knights against the Rangers. He allows five goals on 37 shots in a 6-4 loss.
My first game in Madison Square Garden was pretty crazy. I can’t even remember the first few minutes of the game and then after it started to sink in. -Lagace
November 4th, 2017 – Lagace earns his first career NHL victory is a 5-4 win over Ottawa.
November 7th, 2017 – The Golden Knights travel to Montreal to play the Canadiens, Lagace gets the start.
The Montreal game was something else too. Being from there, the story of that building, and I had about 20 people (family and friends) in the building there. -Lagace
November 10th, 2017 – Lagace appears in his first game at T-Mobile Arena, a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
December 9th, 2017 – Despite having Malcolm Subban available, the Golden Knights start Lagace in Dallas on the Father’s Trip. He earns his sixth victory pushing his record with the Golden Knights to 6-6-1.
December 10th, 2017 – Lagace is sent back to the AHL with the return of Fleury.
February 10th, 2018 – Once again, Lagace is recalled to the NHL after another injury to Subban.
February 26th, 2018 – Lagace is optioned to the AHL and then recalled back to the NHL in the same day, making him eligible to play in the AHL playoffs.
February 27th, 2018 – After serving as the back-up for eight straight games, Lagace gets a start against the Los Angeles Kings. Vegas loses 4-1.
March 14th, 2018 – Lagace plays his final game of the regular season, an 8-3 loss to the Devils.
March 15th, 2018 – Lagace is sent back to the AHL.
April 30th, 2018 – Following a mysterious injury to Subban, Lagace is brought back up to the NHL and serves as the back-up to Fleury the remainder of the playoffs.
And then just sitting there in Winnipeg and Washington and the crowd is like all over you. They were all different experiences and all were nerve-racking, but they were all so much fun. -Lagace
May 28th, 2018 – Lagace is the back-up for the Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final
Obviously when you are sitting there and you don’t know what’s going to happen you are going to be nervous. -Lagace
June 7th, 2018 – The Golden Knights lose the Stanley Cup Final to the Washington Capitals.
Oh for sure I want more. You get a taste of it and you want more and more. -Lagace
July 1, 2018 – As an RFA, Lagace signs a new 1-year contract with the Golden Knights. His NHL salary remains the same, his AHL salary is more than doubled.
October 4th, 2019 – Lagace clears waivers and is sent to the Chicago Wolves.
January 9th, 2018 – After Subban is ruled out with an injury, Lagace is recalled to the NHL for the first time in 2018-19.
That brings us to tonight, when Lagace will once again back-up Fleury.
Max Lagace went from free agent who signs with an expansion team, to third or fourth string goalie. Within a matter of a month, he becomes the full-time starter and the only goalie over the age of 19 on the NHL roster. He remained the starter for more than a month before returning to his third-string role. Then, out of nowhere, he’s suddenly on the bench at the Stanley Cup Final, in gear, one play away from becoming the goalie of the Western Conference Champions.
I asked Lagace back in June which of these games was the most nerve-racking of them all. At that time, he told me it was backing up Fleury in the Final. I asked him again recently and he said he re-thought it and the nerves are all different.
In the NHL goalies often go through crazy situations, but not many have been as wild as the ride Lagace has been on since becoming a Golden Knight. And he did it all with the biggest smile on his face.
It was such a great experience, it was so much fun, money can’t buy that. -Lagace