Since the first day of Training Camp the trio of William Karlsson, Brett Howden, and Michael Amadio have been together as a line.
Wednesday night they got their first opportunity to play in a preseason game together and it went quite well. Karlsson and Amadio each scored goals, all three players posted a Corsi of at least 70%, and in a little more than 11 minutes of ice time together they did not allow a single shot on goal against.
I think they all have good hockey IQ and good offensive instincts. They are all centermen by nature so they probably speak the same language when they are talking about plays way from the puck. -Bruce Cassidy
Last year Karlsson, Amadio, and Howden played a total of 51 seconds together. However, there were two pairs including these three guys that did see significant action together. Howden and Amadio shared the ice for 127 minutes while Amadio and Karlsson played together for 172.
Now, with all three coming together, they’ll look to capture something new, and do it while filling a much more defensive role for the team.
They are going to need to be responsible if they are put in that role. We know Karlsson can do that but the other two guys that’s a bit of a challenge for younger guys. Here’s your role on the team, can you handle it? Can you check good players and still create offense? So we’ll see how that plays. -Cassidy
As Cassidy alluded to, Karlsson remains one of the better defensive centers in the NHL and will surely make any line he’s on competent enough in the defensive zone. But, if the Golden Knights want to get to where they intend on going, they will need Howden and Amadio to take strides defensively.
The goal of most third lines, and Cassidy doesn’t seem any different, is to steal minutes from the opposing top-six to free up favorable matchups for Vegas’ top two lines.
That means this group will be seeing consistent shifts against the likes of Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Anze Kopitar. And that’s just in October.
Karlsson has joked that he’s found a new group of Misfits with a pair of players who have been overlooked for good portions of their short NHL careers. It may sound a little funky and overly optimistic now, but one game in, they look the part.