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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

The Roster Juggle Rolls On

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are so close to the cap that the first five games this season are the only in their 240 regular season game history in which they’ve gone without a single healthy scratch.

On top of the limited roster, each night they’ve had to decide which of three options they hate the least. Waive Keegan Kolesar and likely lose his rights to another team, bench Cody Glass, or dress a lineup with just five defensemen.

Through five games, they are in an excellent position with a 4-1-0 record, but one has to wonder how long will this charade continue, especially if it continues to look like it’s catching up with them as it did last night.

Clearly, benching Cody Glass is not in the best interest for either the Golden Knights or Glass. He needs to develop into the team’s 2nd best center or at least a high-end 3C before the trade deadline, otherwise, he’ll need to be replaced. Playing sparingly won’t help his development nor will it give the team enough data to draw the necessary conclusions this season.

Leaving Glass in the lineup leads to taking Nic Hague out and forcing the defense to play a man down. Game 5 of the season was the third time the Golden Knights have used the 13/5 lineup. Unsurprisingly, these are the three games in which the Golden Knights have struggled most defensively, especially in the 2nd period when it’s more challenging for defensemen to change.

Vegas has allowed five 2nd period goals when they have five defensemen and just two when they have six. Aside from goals, they’ve had more trouble breaking out, they’ve turned the puck over more often, there have been more odd-man rushes against, and just as a whole they haven’t been nearly as good.

It’s actually impacted their offense as well. In the two games with six defensemen, Vegas has seen three goals and five assists from blue liners, while the defensemen have chipped in just one goal and five assists over the three games with five on D.

It’s definitely different. You are rotating through partners and you can’t exactly get into the rhythm with one guy. -Shea Theodore

Theodore went on to say they can’t really use it as an excuse, but the eye test and the stats bore out that they are indeed better across the board with six defensemen rather than five, albeit in a tiny sample.

But really, there’s no way the Golden Knights can solve this issue with the current roster construction which should have all eyes focused on the front office. How long are they going to let this continue? What will it take to force a change?

Through the first four games, it was easy to shrug the issue off as even though the effects were visible they weren’t enough to cause a loss. The same can be said about the one game in which not many players played all that well anyway. But when does enough become enough, and then when it does, what is the ultimate solution?

The further it goes, the more ridiculous it would be to go with the simple option of waiving Kolesar. Whether he gets claimed or not, if that’s the plan, why put yourself in this situation in the first place? However, that also stands as the simplest solution and really the only one they can do right now.

As long as Kolesar is on the roster, the best option is to legally exceed the cap. The way to do that is to place a player on long-term injured-reserve. Of course, that does require a player to be injured and that player would need to be out for at least 10 games. Anyone who follows the sport of hockey knows it’s essentially inevitable that someone will go down at some point, but being forced into making a challenging roster decision every night until it does just feels odd and in a way almost sadistic.

This leads to the final option, make a different move. That could mean waiving a different player or making a trade. Technically, that could happen at any moment, but no matter what that trade looks like, it would have to take a player out of the current lineup without replacing him to have the desired effect.

Something’s going to have to give at some point, and as long as Kolesar’s time on ice looks like it did last night (3:47), the front office is going to be under the microscope.

This is the cost of acquiring Alex Pietrangelo, re-signing Robin Lehner, and keeping Marc-Andre Fleury is the cap crunch we’re seeing now. The VGK front office has to have a plan, and they will execute it when they feel the time is right.

When that time will be? Your guess is as good as mine.

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69 Comments

  1. Daryl

    VGK is lucky they haven’t played a good team yet… Once they start playing back to back decent teams this will bite them in the rear

    • Fair weather Fan talk… lame.

      • Daryl

        Fair weather fan? Says the person who has one post. I’ve been on this site for years where have you been? Maybe you shouldn’t talk when you dobby know what you are talking about

  2. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    I agree with most you said Ken. I have mostly defended the McGMs moves the past three years. But, I’m starting to think that their desire to always wanting to land that desired FA at any cost has finally hurt the team. I’m sure they thought they would be trading Flurey, but didn’t find anyone willing to take on his salary. So here we are.

    I also believe we have a very soft defensive group. We have no one that seems willing to clear out those that crowd the net. If you don’t use some force, these type players will just continue to swamp the net area. (remember #5 … we need someone like him). We probably could have gotten one or two decent, TOUGH D guys, instead of Petro. We could sure use that now!

  3. T George

    5 defensemen is ridiculous and untenable.

    • EK

      Totally and and I love that word…..untenable. It’s regal. Unconscionable is another I like.

  4. The big question which everyone seems to be avoiding was Lehner at 5 mil and pietrangelo at 8.8 mil a smart move knowing they had Fluery on a 7 mil contract for 2 more years. IMO Lehner hasn’t looked that strong in playoff last year or so far this yr (yes I know on 3 games this yr) but add them to the playoffs last and there is reason to question. Remember other teams let him go. With 1 goal in five games makes 8.8 mil a pretty expensive luxury. Hopefully that will improve. Mgt has a decision or two to make quickly if the Cup is to be in the sights. The PP is pathetic and often they couldn’t even get out of their own end. Arizona’s looked good compared to Vegas.

    • I hope you aren’t talking about me avoiding it. I’ve been yapping about it since the moment they signed Lehner.

      • No Ken wasn’t talking about you as we seem to be on the same page where that subject is concerned. Actually was just making a comment for all those who believe it was a great move and wonderful addition. I just have issue with making those types of moves and putting themselves in a box they are having trouble getting out of and what they gave up along the way. You can’t buy the Cup and that’s what they are trying to do. I read comments about kids versus veterans and l also recall original team with an attitude of something to prove and went to the Cup final. Not sure present veterans have that swagger or attitude.

    • Daryl

      Exactly!!!

  5. To say the defense struggled last game is understatment it stunk including Petro. Umba lomba looked bad in goal gave up 3 easy ones.
    The game tomorrow will tell us alot about team if they roll over and lose again i think were in for disappointing season. Where is Mr Excitment( Debooor) when we need him?

  6. Mike StG

    Ken, agree 100%. It’s also messing up the forward lines, besides the D rotations. The defense looks gassed by the end of the 2nd (long change). Can’t drive offense from the backend when they’re too pooped to pop. Consider they’ve played 5 games in 9 days, and will continue at a pace of playing every other day. There is not enough recovery time for Dmen between games. Also, Kolesar looked good in the 12-6 game, less so when he was the 13th. I can see how he would get claimed on waivers, so guess it’s a matter of waiting for an injury since trades seem unlikely at this point. I think their best option would be playing 12-6 and have Glass sit for half to 2/3 of the games. When the injury happens he’ll be able to play consistently.

  7. DB Cooper

    The “co-gm’s” have officially got in the way. Now that Glass, Hague and Kolesar have developed there is no room for them to play except to rotate them. They signed Nick Holden to a two year contract and then have to waive him and sit him on the taxi squad. Pietrangelo must lead the league in turnovers and falling down, maybe Vancouver would consider a trade for Nate Schmidt. (I want Nick Suzuki back too). The worst thing that happened to this organization was the first year success, the gm’s lost all focus on building a team and tried to quickly buy one. Does anyone else think the new Gold Jerseys look like crap? They look like something a cheap college team would wear.

    • Steve

      I fully agree with your post. I wasn’t a fan going after Alex in free agency. Most of these players want a payday and have lost some of that drive. If Alex was still in his mid 20’s I could see a deal but his best years are behind him.

    • Jay

      Wow, what an absolute joke of a post. The “worst thing that happened” was the first year success? You think this city would love the Knights like they do without that first year? Judging one of the 5 best defenseman in the NHL off of 5 games with a new team and wanting Nate back (have you watched him turn it over this season in Vancouver?), this is just such a bad hockey take.

      The GM’s “lost all focus on building a team”? I wasn’t a cup in 3 (or maybe it was 5) Bill Foley’s plan all along? Getting guys like Mark Stone, Max Paciorrety, Pietrangelo, Robin Lehner and Alec Martinez, while still keeping Bill, Marchy, Reilly, Reaves, Fleury, Tuch, Glass etc etc …… you don’t call that building a team??!?!? What would that be called?? Are there some moves and some players that we miss? Sure, I bet every team in the league has some of those, no GM in nhl history has EVER batted .1000%

      Then just to prove you’re a fan who wants to only hate on anything the team is doing (probably a misfit fan rather than a Golden Knights fan) you hate on the Gold Jersey’s as a kicker.

      Man our “fanbase” is absolutely a joke and one of the most frustrating things about our franchise.

  8. Mikegron32

    Attention Ken’s angry lynch mob: Simmer the hell down. We’re (5) games in to the season. They are not going to do this for (56) games. Guys will get hurt, get sick, etc… Is it the worst thing in the world to ease an injury prone Cody Glass slowly back in to the rotation? And the dude that says trade Perry for Schmidt please go find another sport that you have a clue about

  9. Peter Brown

    I think they may be viewing Kolesar as a prospective replacement for Reaves when his contract is up. He has the size to fit on that 4th line. Critical IMO to dress 6 D. Keep Glass down and wait for an injury. Btw I am bullish on Krebs and 6’4” 192 defenseman Kaeden Korczak who got 49 points in 60 games last season in the WHL. Two very solid prospects.

  10. THE hockey GOD

    simple solution, put KK on defense, he’s no threat on O , and it’s not first time a forward plays D

  11. Steve

    I said before they even signed Alex I wouldn’t take that contract on and I don’t want an aging defenseman that will be on the decline sooner then later that’s already won the Stanley Cup. A lot of players want to be paid and the Drive isn’t there because his name is already on the cup. This team needs an elite level forward and I’m talking more then Stone. But you also look into the future you can’t be trading draft picks like crazy either with Los Angeles and Anaheim restocking their prospects pool. We shouldn’t be in Cap hell like we have been for 2 years now.

  12. Peter Brown

    Korczak is just 19 btw.

  13. Peter Brown

    Only 5 games in way to early to be calling the Petro acquisition flawed…IMO. A lot of money I agree some will argue not worth the raise compared to Schmidt but he’s on a higher level.

    • Steve

      It’s that a contract like Alex’s is a lot for a player in his 30’s and his best years are behind him. This team in my opinion needs an elite offensive player not named Stone.

    • the president Elect- Hockey God

      if you saw 88 game against the habs the other night…..oh boy, if they invented a new word to replace stinko, it would have to have been that game that 88 played…..

      his team mates aren’t talking to him, it’s like he has 10x chicom wuhan bat plague virus.

      canucks will say to GMGM “take him back, we’ll pay you”

    • Stephanie

      Couldve just pd 8 .I thought he said he would take 8 ? No state tax .and once again management doesn’t use that to deal

      • Mike StG

        It was reported the Blues offered him 8m+. But I’m sure Vegas just said , ‘oh you’ll take 8? Let us throw in another 80k just for the hell of it.’ Right!! 🙂

  14. Peter Brown

    Glass down Hague back up. Give Kolesar more games before waiving him.

  15. Peter Brown

    We’ll see if Korczak scales in the AHL as he did last year in the juniors. Impressive looking specimen.

    • He is not eligible to play in the AHL this season once the WHL season begins. So don’t expect to see him out there in the AHL much, if at all, beyond camp.

  16. Peter Brown

    Hi Ken….this does show him listed on the Silver Knights for 2020-21?

    https://www.eliteprospects.com/player/295911/kaedan-korczak.com/player/295911/kaedan-korczak

    • He is currently in camp with the Silver Knights. But that’s only because the WHL season hasn’t begun yet. Once it does, he and Krebs must go there.

  17. Peter Brown

    Thank you for the clarification. I thought they were both Silver Knights this season. A player can’t be called up mid season from the juniors to the AHL or NHL? Tia.

    • No. Once you head to Juniors you are there for the remainder of the season (unless there’s an emergency situation for the NHL team)

      • Peter Brown

        Thanks again for advancing my understanding of the relationship between the Canadian Major Juniors and the AHL/ECHL/NHL. I did not realizes if a player under the age of 20 is beholden to a Major Juniors team that they are ineligible to play on a Professional Minors team ie. in the AHL or ECHL. Krebs is signed with the Winnipeg Ice and at 19 is thus not eligible to play with the Silver Knights, however he turns 20 on Tuesday, the WHL season start is delayed so I am not sure how that affects his AHL elegibility this season; you indicated a player can’t be called up mid season from the Juniors other except for an NHL emergency (even if turning 20 years of age during the season?). Based on my research the 20 years age rule for contracted Major Juniors player elegibility appears to apply however only to the AHL and ECHL, not the NHL. This means a 19 year old Major Juniors player is eligible for the NHL following the conclusion of the player’s current season (and not mid season)?

        http://mayorsmanor.com/2019/08/understanding-nhl-prospect-rules-is-a-sport-in-itself-play/

        • You are correct. 19 year olds can play in the NHL, but once they head to the CHL they are gone for the season (they can come back after the CHL season ends).

          The key number many teams look at is 9 games. If a young player plays more than 9, their NHL contract officially begins. If they play 9 or fewer the contract “slides” to the next year. So most teams don’t like to waste a year of a contract on a guy unless they really think he can help at the NHL level.

          • Peter Brown

            With the WHL season start delayed and Krebs turning 20 on Tuesday do we not have a shot at him opening with the Silver Knights? I think you are more privy than I to what’s going on at the Silver Knights training camp.

          • Peter Brown

            Korczak is turns 20 next Friday and he’s listed here as a Silver Knight 2020-2021, Do you know what is status is at training camp? Tia.

            Btw the link should work this time!

            https://www.eliteprospects.com/player/295911/kaedan-korczak

          • He is at training camp but he’s in the same boat as Krebs. I can’t remember the date you have to turn 20 by but it has already passed.

  18. Tim

    4-1 and a lot of negativity. Once you get by we have to win a cup and look objectively at the team and what’s in the pipeline I feel pretty good. You have to have patience and let this play out. Management have made mistakes but overall they’ve done a good job and believe me there always thinking about the future.

    • Couldn’t have lost me faster than by saying “Once you get by we have to win a cup”. What in the hell else matters other than that?

      • Tim

        Ken Toronto a premier organization and original 6 haven’t won the cup since 1967 which is 53 years ago. Did you think by snapping your fingers that the cup is going to fall in your lap. We’ve got a nice team but if you think it’s a cup winner your delusional.

        • I think they need help to be a Cup winner. But I think if they solve their one issue and turn that $7 million into useable players they can be right there.

          Also, Toronto had been failing for 53 years. I have no interest in VGK being like them.

          • Tim

            Ken first off we’ve got Stephenson our #2 and Glass or Roy our #3 center you and I both know that’s not going to get it done. You’ve wanted to trade Flower forever and I understand your reasoning but Lehner is way over weight and he could go down at any time and then were really screwed. That’s why I want both goalies. If I was in charge I’d protect both goalies but Holden at 1.7 million and Martinez at 4 million would both be tradable. Now you move Whitecloud up with Theadore and have Hague and Coghlan my third pair. I would rather see some mistakes on the blue line then expose ourselves with only one goalie. Supposedly Coghlan is as good as Hague so let him learn on the job.

          • Then trade Lehner. I honestly don’t care which one they get rid of but they have to pick one.

  19. yahweh the hockey god

    Bunch of whiners, beginning to sound like….well that party that sits to the left leaning side of the aisle.

    BTW I opened up a deli called the Groucho-Marx-Deli and Hebrew עסנוואַרג

    Esnvarg (That is food in yiddish). All the sandwiches in the case lean to the left. And all the bagels are so big you need a really good caliper to find the holes (because there are none, the BEST KIND of BAGEL!)

    Hate to say it, but once someone gets a boo boo (and not Yogi the Bear’s side kick), and someone will. It’s inevitable. A stick to the ole keyster, a puck to the noggin’, a slickin’ into the boardski’s , a tripin over the blue line, a crashin’ into the penalty box: this will all go away and some ink elsewhere will be falling to be complaining aboots.

    PS (and trump won)

    • Mike StG

      Huh??? I tried Google Translate for Yiddish and I’m still “Huh???”

      lolol… Dude, you’ve been drinking too much Manischewitz!!!

  20. Peter Brown

    I was pretty jazzed when it was reported Glass put on 13 lb. of muscle. 6’2” 207 is a nice frame for an NHL forward. Hope he can get over the hump.

  21. How about attaching a late round pick to Holden? That would release his 700k hold and allow us to move Hague back up right?
    Heck, someone may trade for him outright if they had a defensive injury.

    • Mike StG

      David – That’s actually a good idea. Holden is at $1.7M and has term. Several teams might could use him at that cost, maybe for a 3rd. There have been a number of long term injuries to defensemen already this season.

  22. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    When you have two top goalies, and one has a tuff game, you need the other to step up and have his back. Each of our guys are going to have tuff games from time to time. I think (hope) MAF has a good one today to get us rolling again!

  23. THE hockey GOD

    Nick Suzuki C, Montreal Canadiens
    Nick Suzuki is on a six-game points streak and is only the second player in NHL history to start the season with that streak on the road.

    The first one was current Minnesota Wild forward Victor Rask who did it as a Hurricane. Suzuki has two goals and six points thus far as the Canadiens return to Montreal for their home opener versus Calgary on Thursday. Suzuki is a must-start in fantasy at this time.

    PS and trump won bigly

  24. When will management face the elephant in the room? Marc Andre Fleury is a BETTER goal tender than Robin Lehner. They mad a big mistake with their goalies – not by failing to trade Fleury, but by signing Lehner to a contract they could have used to get another offensive player.

    Lehner lets in soooo many soft goals. He lets in at least one per game, sometimes more it seems. Fleury let’s in almost no soft goals, and makes saves on so many shots Lehner lets through. How many times are players going to beat Lehner through the five hole, my goodness. If you are going to beat Fleury on a shot you have to beat him with a good pass or perhaps when the d totally breaks down but he will not give upany easy ones like Lehner does.

    In the playoffs the offense struggled, but the difference to me were the soft goals Lehner allowed that Fleury would have stopped. They would have been in the final at least imo with MAF in goal.

    And for anyone out there that disagrees with what seems obvious to the eye test, please do not quote save stats. It seems management has fallen into the trap or looking at recent stats as the end-all in their decision to play Lehner over Fleury, and to be willing to kick to the curb one of its most valued assets. It seems they’ve lost sight of basic math and have failed to weigh it appropriately. If one gets caught up in stats and looks at, let’s say a save percentage of .920 is clearly better than .910 and the higher percentage guy is clearly a better goalie, please remember math! The difference is in the hundredths place after the decimal! In this example the one goalie saves ONE more goal than the other for every one hundred shots. This is not a measurable difference really, and nothing to get super excited about or draw franchise changing decisions over. It seemed like management just thought Lehner’s play was far superior to maf’s and this just wasn’t the case.

    Was it really worth signing Lehner and creating all this cap mess when MAF sure seems to still be a better goalie? For my eyes it doesn’t even seem close to being a reasonable decision.

    • THE hockey GOD

      my favorite one was the one that went off his helmet (OO) doink !!

    • Peter Brown

      I would agree the Coyotes game was not Lehner’s best, as you say some soft goals. Let’s check his stats.

      Lifetime: GAA 2.72 SV% .918
      VGK regular season: GAA 2.17 SV% .920
      VGK playoffs: GAA 1.99 SV% .917

      Lifetime GAA is rather pedestrian by elite career standards, however as you can see with VGK it’s way better albeit a small sample. Definitely had a superior GAA in last year’s playoffs.

      I think Fleury could outshine him this season. Consider though, McPhee, McCrimmon and DeBoer individually and collectively have a clue and they saw both in training camp. Give it time.

    • Mike StG

      JT – I think there are a few other factors that impacted their decisions:
      1) It’s not who was the better goalie. It’s that Fleury’s age and style of play and Subban’s lack of progress created concern that although they had built a contender it could all be for naught if Fleury suffered a significant injury, esp in the playoffs.
      2) I think GMKM believed Glass would be further along by now. If he had been able to develop into at least a 2C by now their depth at C would be sufficient, esp with the reduced role of center position in VGK style of play.
      3) Petro was a high priority for DeBoer to implement his ‘offense driven by defense’ style of play. They needed a stud defenseman who was a complete package.
      4) Covid and the cap freeze were a factor, as it has been (and should be) for many contenders.

      The decisions are understandable, but they now need to hope Glass develops this season into the player they expected him to be. If he doesn’t, their cup chances will be greatly diminished .

  25. THE hockey GOD

    BREAKING NEWS *that YOU need to know *

    George Armstrong, who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup four times in the 1960s and was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey, died Sunday at age 90.

    The Hockey Hall of Famer played all 21 seasons of his NHL career for the Maple Leafs, 12 as their captain. The forward was named one of the One Hundred Greatest Maple Leafs, had his No. 10 retired by Toronto, and is a member of Legends Row.

    “George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed,” Maple Leafs president and alternate governor Brendan Shanahan said. “A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn’t even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row.”

    Armstrong and Syl Apps were added to Legends Row on Feb. 21, 2015. In Armstrong’s own words, the final paragraph from his unread speech were: “Hockey is a great game and I love it. I am part of a fading generation that you will never have again. Every one of us is one of a kind, that will never be repeated. To all of my friends and acquaintances, thank you for your advice and direction, that helped make me who I am today … a very, very happy person.”

  26. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    It always amazes me that when someone wants to make an argument for a player, they say ignore the stats. The STATS don’t lie. Black and white, for all to see. On the other hand, the “eye test” is very subject to disagreement. Both these guys will put up good stats and win a lot of games for us, period. WHY continue to trash one or the other? It makes no sense!

    • The salary cap Doc.

      The salary cap. The salary cap. The salary cap.

      That’s why people are choosing sides and why eventually the front office needs to choose one as well.

    • Daryl

      Stats DO NOT tell an entire story. I’ve never said to ignore stats but at the same time you have use other aspects of the game. As Ken already stated, it’s about the effect on the plays by having two high priced goalies. It’s not a matter of choosing one or the other, its the fact that they have 2. Get rid of one and there is no issue, but VGK can’t do that b/c they screwed up majorly. When playing with only 5 defenseman come the 3rd period, they have lost a step and are getting beat when normally they wouldn’t.

  27. DOC (A REAL Fan)

    I understand the cap Ken. I get it. And agree something must be done. What I am referring to is tearing down the player. Calling them names, talking about their weight or mental situation. Its fine to express which should be traded, but why all the rest? That’s my point!

  28. Well Ken I guess my posted created quite a stir. Lehner at 5 mill not worth it – Piet at 8.8 best years behind him questionable addition, etc. etc. etc. Flower a better goalie IIMO that will prove out to be the case this reason. Tim – you thought I was kidding that to solve their cap problem Lehner could be gone as has been the case with every other team he has been with. No scared cows and mgt ( the splash brothers) just might have to admit their error.

    • Daryl

      Come on HD, they will NEVER admit their error. I not saying they made a mistake in signing Lehner (which I actually do) but the biggest mistake was signing him and not having a plan to deal MAF. As for Petra, he’s a great player but he isn’t worth 3 starters and as we see now, having to play only 5 defenseman in some games. I’ll add the Holden deal as well and while we are at it, the raise they gave Reaves

  29. Daryl – how you doing surviving these crazy times. The problem as it appears they put the cart before the horse and that never works. I won’t expect them to come out and admit they screwed up just take the necessary steps to correct the problem which will demonstrate that an error happened

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