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Tag: Laurent Brossoit

Golden Knights Whose Stock Can Rise In Training Camp

Training Camp is right around the corner, and while the Golden Knights depth chart is fairly set due to the sheer number of returning players, there are still plenty of guys who can use this next month to make their move into bigger roles this season. Players who put in excellent training camps are often those who are called upon first when the team experiences injuries or even just needs a shuffle in lines.

So, even though we can pretty much plot out the Golden Knights’ lineup for Opening Night right now, these players all have a chance to position themselves for larger roles on the team as the season rolls on.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Jack Dugan

The odds Dugan makes the roster out of camp are nearly insurmountable, but that certainly doesn’t mean he can’t show up and show out to move up the ranks once the waiver situation clears. In camp, the forward battle will be between guys like William Carrier, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick, and Keegan Kolesar, but once the roster is set and the games get underway, there will be a pecking order as to who is called next in the event of an injury. Last year, Dugan was never even in the conversation and didn’t even see a sniff of the NHL. This year, it starts with Rookie Camp, the tournament in Phoenix, and then main camp. If Dugan can dominate against the kids and then make an impact in main camp as well as preseason games, he’ll certainly jump up the line in the “next man up” rankings. We know he has the scoring touch and he plays a style of game coaches love. Plus, he has a bit of a nasty streak in him which could be needed if the season isn’t going as planned early for the Golden Knights. A big month of September would go a long way for Dugan to earn his NHL debut, even if that doesn’t come until the calendar flips to 2022.

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Can The Jennings Trophy Stay In Vegas?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last season Vegas stacked the net and came away with a Jennings Trophy for their efforts. Between goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner the Golden Knights gave up the least amount of goals in the NHL, holding opponents just 2.18 goals against per game. Of course, the numbers could drop significantly without Fleury’s Vezina winning season, but the Golden Knights are confident in Lehner and supported him by signing a true backup goaltender.

As emotional as the decision to move Fleury was, it was the right move for the organization. Lehner is now the defined starting goaltender and signed free agent Laurent Brossoit is the clear backup. It’s possible a heavier workload will benefit the new Ace to perform as well as his predecessor did. From 2018-19 to 2019-20 Lehner started an average of 40 games and finished top six in Vezina voting in back-to-back seasons. The big Swede has been sharp in Vegas registering a 16-4 record, .917 Save %, and a 2.20 GAA. If those statistics average out over 55+ games Lehner will be one of the league’s best.

To repeat as the Jennings trophy winners the team will need superb goaltending from both backstops. Brossoit had a bounce-back season in 2021 which clearly caught Vegas’ eye. In 11 starts the 27-year-old goalie posted a 2.42 GAA, a significant drop from his 3.28 GAA in 2019-20. The 28-year-old spent the last three seasons relieving 2019-20 Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck in Winnipeg. As a Jet, Brossoit posted .913 Save %, allowed 2.75 goals per game, and won 25 of 45 starts. The Golden Knights coaching staff are hoping he will do even better backing up Lehner.

In a perfect world, Lehner would suit up for 55 or more starts, leaving Brossoit to tread above water in his limited time in net. The average Jennings winners allowed only 185 goals per season which the Golden Knights have never accomplished, averaging 225 goals allowed per 82. That could change after a full campaign under Pete DeBoer and his team’s tight defense.

Realistically, expectations for the Lehner-Brossoit tandem should be high but it’s difficult to duplicate another award-worthy season. We all have to move on, it’s impossible to replace the historic combination of Fleury and Lehner no matter how well the new tag team does in 2021-22.

Three Years Later, Still Hard To Find Expansion Draft Mishaps

In 2000, both the Wild and Blue Jackets passed over Martin St. Louis. He went on to score 391 goals and put up over 1,000 points before being elected into the Hall of Fame. In 1993, Dominik Hasek was there for the Ducks and Panthers. He went on to win six Vezina trophies, two Hart trophies, two Stanley Cups, and become one of the best goalies ever before he was elected into the Hall.

In every Expansion Draft through the history of sports, there’s at least one. One big name that slipped through the cracks and would have changed everything for the new team that didn’t take him.

It’s been just over three years since the Golden Knights announced their expansion roster dealing with the best rules any expansion team had ever seen. They amassed tons of extra picks, selected multiple diamonds in the rough like William Karlsson and Nate Schmidt, and they even got themselves a superstar in Marc-Andre Fleury.

There were misses though. Ranked in order, here are the most influential misses from the 2017 Expansion Draft. (I ranked them in order from most to least influential.)

Colorado Avalanche
VGK Pick: Calvin Pickard (traded for Tobias Lindberg and 2018 6th Round pick which became Peter Diliberatore)
Exposed: Carl Soderberg

Since not being selected in the Expansion Draft, Soberberg has amassed 86 points in 159 games. Only four Golden Knights have reached at least 86 points in the two-year history of the team (Marchessault, Karlsson, Tuch). Soderberg also received Selke votes in 2018-19. The $4,750,000 cap hit would have been a bit tricky on the Golden Knights, but a player like Soderberg certainly seems exponentially more valuable than what Vegas got out of Pickard.

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The Fictional Curse Of The Backup Goalies

It’s not a curse, it’s just good goalies being good against Vegas. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the break, Juuse Saros played an excellent game in net against the Golden Knights, his second such terrific start facing Vegas this season. About a week prior, Laurent Brossoit played the game of his life for the Jets against the Golden Knights.

These three performances have led to a common belief that back-up goalies dominate the Golden Knights.

Honestly, going into the research, I kind of expected to find exactly what everyone has been saying, that backups do indeed play better against Vegas than they do normally. However, after looking up the numbers it’s much more of a case of the Saros and Brossoit curse than it is all backup goalies.

(For the purpose of this article, a backup goalie is defined as a goalie who does not lead his team in starts or wins.)

The Golden Knights have faced 12 backup goalies this season. Their record in those games is 5-4-2. In the 12 games, the backups have recorded a .920 save percentage and have allowed 32 goals for a goals against average of 2.86 (Cory Schneider was pulled early so the GAA number is a bit inflated).

The backup outperformed his season averages in five games, underperformed in four, and hit the averages in three. Aside from Saros and Brossoit, Jack Campbell (LAK) and Philipp Grubauer (COL) were the other two to over perform, both games Vegas went on to win.

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