The roster certainly may change between now and early October when the Golden Knights hit the ice for real, but at the moment, there’s an overload at the forward position.
William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, Erik Haula, and Alex Tuch have all averaged at least 16:30 per game in their time with the Golden Knights. Mark Stone played just 17:39 per game in the regular season in Vegas while he averaged over 20 per game in Ottawa.
With the addition of Nikita Gusev and maybe Cody Glass, the question that has to spring to mind is, how are the Golden Knights going to manage all these minutes?
This is just nine of the 12 forwards. Stone’s time will almost certainly go up and Eakin’s will likely decrease, but it’s hard to imagine players like Tuch, Pacioretty, Haula or others to drop too much further below their VGK averages.
Add it all up, and there’s not much time left for the other three forwards. Assuming power play and penalty kill time offset, there are 180 minutes available in each game for forwards. With nine bonafide top-six players and maybe two more added to the mix, the minutes are going to get tight.
Realistically, we are looking at around 20-25 minutes left over for the fourth line. The issue is that with the clutter currently in the roster, if Gusev or Glass make the cut, that would push at least one of the nine listed above to the bottom line meaning someone is going to see their minutes load essentially cut in half.
Gerard Gallant likes to using everybody, but with the roster he’s likely to have heading into Year 3 in Vegas, it’s almost certain the days of rolling four lines is over.