There aren’t many, if any, open roster spots for the Golden Knights heading towards the regular season opener in less than a week. But playing hockey during a global pandemic, it’s inevitable the depth of every team will be tested during a season outside of the bubble.

It’s going to be impossible for it not to run across our path at some point and then it’s how we deal with it. -Pete DeBoer

This inescapable reality has led to increased importance in the next group of players beyond those who make the roster out of camp. Normally, there are one or two players who fill the role of the “yo-yo,” bouncing back and forth between the NHL and AHL as replacement options when injuries occur. But this year, with the understanding that at any moment a team could see an entire line or even an entire position group forced away from the team completely for weeks on end, the group of players beyond the starting lineup takes on added relevance.

That starts with the collection of draft picks still yet to make their NHL debuts. Jack Dugan, Dylan Coghlan, Ben Jones, Jake Leschyshyn, Lucas Elvenes, Paul Cotter, and Brayden Pachal are all in camp and fit this group. Often though, coaches prefer to lean on experience in tough situations and this year’s team has a few new options who may play large roles when that inescapable day does come.

Dylan Sikura, Tomas Jurco, Danny O’Regan, and Carl Dahlstrom are four players with various degrees of NHL experience all in the Golden Knights system, none of which have played for this team or this coaching staff. Despite their previous successes or failures at the NHL level, it’s the here and now that counts for DeBoer.

I think it’s critical every year that you give those type of players that have come into your organization after leaving another place a clean slate. -DeBoer

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