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Playing With Less Than 18 Skaters Less Than Ideal For Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This season the Golden Knights are one of the league’s best teams when playing shorthanded… after the game starts. They lead the NHL with an 86.7% penalty kill percentage and have allowed just 17 power play goals against, three less than anyone else in the league and nine fewer than anyone in the division.

However, there’s another type of shorthanded the Golden Knights have been battling all season due to the salary cap. Last night, after a late scratch of Jonathan Marchessault, the Golden Knights were forced to play with just 11 forwards. It became the third time this year Vegas dressed a lineup short of 18 skaters.

Last night, the Golden Knights’ offense was anemic. They barely generated anything in the offensive zone, they put up one of their lowest shot outputs of the season with just 25, and they were shut out for the 3rd time in 2021.

Unsurprisingly, playing with less than the allowed number of players has not gone well for the Golden Knights. In the previous two instances in which they played a player short, Vegas failed to win either. They came on back-to-back nights on the final day of March and the first day of April.

On March 31st, Vegas lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings. They controlled a majority of the possession in the game with a 60.4% Corsi but generated just two goals. In their own end, they gave up two 1st period goals and eventually fell into a 4-1 hole late in the 2nd. That game Vegas was without Ryan Reaves due to a late scratch and played with just two players on their fourth line.

The very next night, due to a suspension to Chandler Stephenson and an injury to Zach Whitecloud, Vegas was down to just 16 skaters. They chose to play 10 forwards and six defensemen. The Golden Knights got caught in a bit of a track meet with the Minnesota Wild but battled hard in the 3rd period to get the game to overtime. Vegas dropped the game in shootout.

Thus, three times out of 49 games the Golden Knights have been without a full complement of 18 skaters. They are 0-2-1 in those three games which leaves them with an incredible 35-10-1 record in the other 46.

It remains unknown what the Golden Knights roster will look like tonight as Marchessault’s status is up in the air and no other call-up has been made. If they play a man short, it could spell trouble once again. The good news is the buck stops on May 12th when the regular season ends. Once the playoffs begin, the salary cap disappears and roster limits are no longer in place. It might hurt Vegas between now and then, but when the games really matter, it’s the last thing Golden Knights fans need to worry about.






  1. Apart from April 12 being May 12th the situation spelled out hurts any team. Vegas mgt created the problem and the players suffer for their mistakes. The short season obviously does help either but all teams are faced with same situation. In Vegas case they have a few tuff games coming up one after the other which could change the landscape of where they finish if they don’t play any better than last night. Its going to be interesting and potentially sad at the same time. Hopefully tonight they get their shit together and pull off a win. Momentum is everything going forward

    • Julie

      Hey, HD! Hope you are doing great today! I’m feeling good today and believe Vegas will flip the script tonight. It will be better than OK. 🙂

      • Hope your right – like I said momentum is extremely important at this point going forward. Glad your doing ok.

  2. Tim

    With Kolesar, Sikura, and Coghlan playing on a short roster good luck tonight. Another goose egg tonight will seal us third place. 2 Coming up with the Wild and then 2 with the Blues and there both hungry. last night showed me with no checking and no net presence were not to interested in going balls to the wall. Pete deBoer’s post game interview told me all I needed to know. His statement of it’s hard to win 2 games in a row that’s coming from a coach who wants to win the Stanley Cup. Where’s Don Meredith when you need him.

    • Daryl

      I couldn’t believe that PDB made that statement. Exactly how does he expect to win the CUP playing a 7 game series against good teams when he doesn’t expect his team to win two in a row with one of them being ARI???

  3. Mike StG

    The situation last night was compounded by the fact that of the 11 forwards two were AHLers. Nosek & Roy being out, with Marchessault as a late scratch, they just didn’t have enough NHL quality play on the front end. Seeing Sikura on the same line with Stone was weird, besides being ineffective. Hope they have sufficient forward depth to deal with injuries that are likely to happen down the stretch. It would be nice to get a look at Dugan and Krebs before season ends.

  4. Hope your right – like I said momentum is extremely important at this point going forward. Glad your doing ok.

  5. Daryl

    I see people complaining about being short players and missing two 4th liners but think the COL team we just faced doesn’t have an excuse for losing while missing 4 starters. I just don’t get it. And my comments are more based off the comments from twitter and not anyone on here.

  6. Tim

    Ken just a quick question. Were presently playing Kloesar, Jurco, Sakura, and Coghlan at forward positions. My question is are these 4 better then Jack Dugan who led the country in scoring last year and is presently leading the Silver Knights in scoring with 30 points. At 23 years of age, 6’2″ and 210 pounds he’s not better or doesn’t have more upside. If he’s not good enough and the above mentioned 4 are better then our prospect system is in trouble.

    • I’ve watched him play quite a bit and there’s definitely something there. I just don’t see him consistently impacting play like you want to see out of a guy who is gonna make an impact at the NHL level.

      Personally, I’m not overly enthralled by the VGK pipeline.

      • Tim

        Ken I spelled the names right but I didn’t proof read which I usually do but what a butcher job by spell check, I agree I’m a little worried after Cody Glass who looks lost I’m afraid our prospects are overrated or Dugan would be up.

  7. Jonathan

    Good point. But April 12 should read May 12 🙂

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