When the Golden Knights take the ice tonight, they’ll be without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch, Nolan Patrick, and Zach Whitecloud (and potentially Mattias Janmark). That’s a little more than $29 million worth of salary on the shelf or about 36% of the salary cap.
Amazingly, until Karlsson misses a game, the Golden Knights are not the team suffering from the most salary cap money lost to injury. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been without Sidney Crosby, Evgenii Malkin, Marcus Pettersson, Brian Rust, Kris Letang, and Tristan Jarry for an insane $36 million missing due to injury.
NHL injury heat map through 28 October pic.twitter.com/bWqgn8mQLH
— NHLInjuryViz (@NHLInjuryViz) October 30, 2021
Nonetheless, with Crosby returning to action and Jarry and Pettersson expected to return from the COVID-19 list soon, the Golden Knights will take the injury crown by the end of the week.
The elephant in the room continues to be a lingering question about why the Golden Knights are seeing so many injuries.
One theory is Pete DeBoer’s “non-negotiable” commitment to blocking shots. The Golden Knights currently lead the league in blocked shots per 60 minutes with 18.1, nearly two shots better than every other team besides the New York Islanders. Vegas has blocked 147 shots in eight games, just two blocks behind the Red Wings who have played nine games and the Ducks who have played 10.