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Using Pairs To Formulate A Lineup Of Forwards When Winger Depth Lacks

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Early in the run to the Stanley Cup in 2023, Bruce Cassidy rolled out a forward lineup that looked a bit different than anything we’d ever seen in the past with the Golden Knights.

Rather than looking for the best combination of six forwards to play in the top-six, he went to a more balanced lineup including what he described as pairs. Each line had a strong center with an excellent winger on one side and a player typically not expected to play in the top-six on the other side. Jack Eichel’s partner was Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson’s was Mark Stone, and William Karlsson had his PowerKill buddy, Reilly Smith.

The three wingers to fill each of those lines were Ivan Barbashev, Michael Amadio, and Brett Howden. In each case, Cassidy explained that this “third” player on the line was to drive the net to create space for the other two.

It worked like a charm.

Barbashev, Amadio, and Howden contributed at least five goals and ten points a piece in the 22-game playoff run.

The lineup allowed the Golden Knights incredible flexibility both on the road and at home against every opponent they faced, consistently finding mismatches for their top players. In many ways, that lineup structure won Vegas the Stanley Cup.

Heading into the upcoming season, after allowing a bevy of talented forwards to leave in free agency, it appears VGK are looking to find a little bit of that magic again.

I like our centers. What you have with a lot of teams around the league is you come up with pairs. Then you are looking for complementary wingers to go with those players. -Kelly McCrimmon

So, if they plan on creating a lineup utilizing forward “pairs” it could start with something like this.


Then, it’ll be about finding the right mix to fill the gaps. Players like Brett Howden, Brendan Brisson, Alexander Holtz, and Victor Olofsson appear to be the most likely candidates to mix and match with to start the year, but there’s still time to add more options.

The concept has shown to work and it appears the Golden Knights are committed to it moving forward, whether that’s by choice or not.


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  1. Emmanuel

    There are a LOT of things I disagree with:

    “consistently finding mismatches for their top players“
    Never got the sense VGK does line matching at home to get mismatches, its always we roll 4 lines & grind them down.

    “Each line had a strong center with an excellent winger on one side”
    No argument on having strong C, but who sriously calls Barba/Doro/Kolesar ‘excellent wingers’.

    At this point the defensive leakiness of the F group is concerning, theres quite a few turnstiles……

    As for this being a winning Cup formula, their is only 1 path for winning a Cup, your team plays solid defense, your stars play like stars and your scrubs step up and get hot.

    • Rashaad

      There will be challenges this year. Frustration for the fan base that hasn’t seen this team be less then great.

  2. jeffrey m sutton

    kinda gay (nothing wrong with that)

  3. T. Connelly

    I don’t care what line I’m on as long as it isn’t with any Goldsteins or Shlomos

  4. ThG

    XXX just made PP’s flip flop list

    • Pistol Pete

      Ha ha ha Jack Off! Pop Gun Pedro, Flip Flopper. Two and counting!

      Hey Jack Off check out the post at the bottom of the last thread. Looking forward to what I’m sure will be an amusing if somewhat incoherent attempted rebuttal rant!

  5. Richie-Rich

    Trying to create a 5 star meal with 3 star food. This roster is significantly worse on paper than last season’s. We can shuffle the “2nd winger” all day right now. It simply doesn’t matter at this point. It will be up to Cassidy to figure this all out, and even then we won’t know until we start seeing the production results by the end of the year.

    I believe that Dorofeyev has earned a shot at L1 and Howden is the obvious choice for L2. L3 and L4? Pick em….

    • Emmanuel

      Howden is at best a bubble/marginal NHL’er.

      • Jose

        I agree 100% on Howden. If one were to exclusively look at the way he played on the Stanley Cup on Stone and Stephenson’s line they would think differently. That was the outlier. What he shows 80% of the time is that of a 4th line forward that should be making 900,000 per year.

    • Pistol Pete

      Really R-R that much of a difference? Hertl replaces Stephenson (probably a plus). Korczak replaces Martinez (if Theo is traded). Carrier, Amadio and Cotter are that big a deal? We’ll have to wait and see what Brisson, Olofsson and Holtz can do (though they are all lighter than Carrier, Amadio and Cotter and lack of heaviness is a concern); and Nicholas Robertson (the 6 inches shorter 24 lb. younger brother of Jason), the new rumor, is the smallest of them all. The wildcard is trading Theo. Let’s see what if anything else
      happens the rest of this offseason.

  6. Richie-Rich


    • Pistol Pete

      Actually Jack Off thanks for posting this. I like Michael Moore and this reporting on Old Joe.

      • ThG

        you are the jack off pop gun
        your own eating each other, dumb ass

        • Pistol Pete

          Are you over the hill Jack Off? Up there with Old Joe and DJT?

          • ThG

            I guess you missed the debate, or are still in denial ? (like most of you lib tards have been for past four years). Mush brain exposed as the cheap fake that he really is. DJT crushed him in the debate, even though he let up and could have been more dominant.

            Mush brain, the worst president in last fifty years is going to wayside.

  7. JB

    It’s simple: Get good goaltending. Stay healthy. Play hard. If those things happen, we will be in the mix. It’s not rocket science.

    • ThG

      goal tending is only as good as defense in front of you


    • Pistol Pete


      ThG you should have figured out by now I am hoping Old Joe drops out. Yeah he got crushed in the debate. Unable to respond to Trump’s attacks as he did in 2020. Trump however avoided answering most of the questions posed by the moderator choosing to attack instead. He did not show the voter much of any new policy ideas except tried to brag about his first term which was mostly untruthful and not entirely still relevant.

      • TS

        PP, 100% on Trumpty’s relentless avoidance, deflection..Every question asked of him was answered with ” I just want to finish with this…”, as he ignored moderators and attacked Biden, instead
        . Point is: Trump has NOTHING. NO policies, NO response
        . All he has is his Revenge and RetributionPlan, as he buries our Constitution and our world standing. NATO is going to ” Trump- proof” itself! Our ALLIES are alarmed at the prospect of another term. What a mess!

        • ThG

          our allies in NATO are alarmed because TRUMP will force them to pay their fair share and tell them to do their job

          there i fixed your crap stain bull shit post. Again.

        • knights fan in minny

          why are you dims stabbing veggie jo in the back dis knew h was a veggie all along

          • TS

            ” You Dems”? ARE you trying to speak for me, now?? Fyi: THE Dems are NOT indoctrinated into a CULT , as the Repugnants are
            , as they blindly follow the TRAITOR. I have my OWN mind. I actually consider the facts, evidence, and I make up my OWN mind. We are NOT one giant Amoeba, all slithering around together as we get on our knees for our Dear Leader, as you REPUGNANTS do in unison. We are better than that. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there ARE people who actually think.for themselves, not believe every AI- generated ” video” or FAKE BULLSHIT that these far- right sites push as “FACT”!


  8. knights fan in minny

    number 27 on the wing

  9. Allalu Akbar

    Hoping the neo Nazi pick never makes the team and/or has a deserved career ending injury…

    • Sajid Ramidi Khanpour

      Hey Allalu Akbar, do we know each other? Did you go to University of Mustansiriyah in Baghdad? Class of 1998.

      • knights fan in minny

        what did you letter in camel humping yom kapur

        • Sajid Ramidi Khanpour

          Did my message Hey knights fan in minny or Hey Allalu Akbar? I wasn’t speaking to you? You are pretty much illiterate so I wouldn’t address you anyways. I hope you can understand what I just said.

          • knights fan in minny

            nobody understands a camel humpr

          • knights fan in minny

            fuck off terrorist

          • ThG


            you just posted to him, numb nuts

            And you went to Ann Arbor ? As what, the prayer caller guy ?

            That is lower than walmart greeter in parking lot.

      • Knights fan in minnie

        I tried and failed to get my GED three times from the Ilhan Omar continuation school

        • knights fan in minny

          fuck off fake ass poster you are nothing but a shit for brains

      • Allalu Akbar

        I went to UM in Ann Arbor

    • knights fan in minny

      i wish a camel dump on your melon akbur terrorist

      • TS

        Aren’t you going too far, here?? Jeez, ” terrorist?” ” bomb making”?? This is crossing lines!

        • knights fan in minny

          the ass hole wants the kid to get hurt

          • TS

            Do you REALLY think his, or ANY post here is going to get that kind of attention?? Look at the SHIT you and Thq post! You two are masters at name- calling! Don’t you ever wonder why you ‘re a target for others? Think about how YOU treat others, the answer is clear. ” do unto others, dude…”

  10. knights fan in minny

    shut up dumb fuck

  11. knights fan in minny

    dims let veggie jo run so the old man abuser jilly pooh can watch veggie go down

  12. NAM

    No way in hell the plan is to run hertl and stone as a pair. The smart play is karlsson and stone. Man, this team looks like shit on paper.

    • JB

      Paper never won a cup!

    • ThG

      I agree Nam, see my line combo’s smart is eichel with stone, and eichel’s buddy olo on same line to see if they get that old chemistry back.

    • Emmanuel

      Ive advocated for a Roy/Karlsson/Stone top line
      But I got posts saying they wouldnt score!?!
      And that Roy is so valuble C the 4th line……..

    • Pistol Pete

      Centers and D very good, goaltending adequate,
      wingers an issue Barbashev, Stone, Dorofeyev,
      Howden and Kolesar notwithstanding, wingers pool add Olofsson, Holtz and Brisson. FO gets high marks for having FA’s outperform their value contracts (Stephenson, Amadio and Carrier) and for managing replacements including acquiring Hertl to replace Stephenson and signing Hanifin to trade Theodore to replace Marchy (pending).

      • Pistol Pete

        McCrimmon is correct mistakes are made July 1 this time among them Seattle giving Stephenson $6m plus (six years?) and NSH five years to Marchy.

  13. I was on a cruise during the playoffs and missed Games 4-7, and hadnt had a chance to watch what took place. I did see Game 3, and actually watched it again on NHL Network today, my goodness I had forgotten that the team forgot to show up to play for Logan, and yet somehow we were an exact replica game winning potential shot from Hanifin to go up 3-0 in the series!!

    I thought VGK played a great game in Game 6, defensively and goaltending spotless, but I was really curious about Game 7, and thought they played well enough to win. The bounces….and sadly the shots simply didnt go our way, nor did the go ahead goal by the stars off of Martinez skate.

    Eichels great move led to Marchy banging one off the post with a gaping net in front of him, directly led to a horrible turnover by Theodore on to the stick of a true sniper, the ‘analyst’ was laying the blame on Hertl for some mistaken reason.

    And after we had tied it and had assumed control, Jack also misses the wide open net which then with a 2-1 lead would have made it very solidly in our favor, but sadly was not the case. the result left me still shaking my head as to the what it might have been, cause I believe the team would have only gotten stronger as the next series rolled on…sigh!!!

  14. Pistol Pete

    It’s sort of beyond me how anyone can look at this team and say the roster will be markedly inferior to last year. Marchy is about it and a Theo deal can still be done for that. Korczak is paired with McNabb which worked well last time. This FO
    is very good. Am I missing something?

    • JB

      Right on PP!

    • ThG

      yes you missed updating everyone on your latest flip flop of the day

      • Pistol Pete

        You never explained how I ever put all my eggs in one basket with respect to a prospective Marchy replacement. Guess you’re not big on detail…like DJT (ranked #46 of 46).

        • Pistol Pete

          Alright then I’m a no in Robertson. Is that your flip flop? He’s too small and assuming we trade for a top six winger (xxx) he would likely only be a prospective scratch along with Brisson (but anything is possible). I will say I like your find on Olofsson and Eichel, that might work.


          If per ThG’s find (Olo) works with Eichel I would put Brisson on the third line.

          • ThG

            I just posted the breaking news, I am not in or out on Robertson. I doubt very much VGK can swing a trade with Toronto.

            and Eichel and Olo should be on same line, did you miss the video link I posted >? AGain.

        • ThG

          Ranked by who ? Lib tard morons ? Yep.

          I guess you missed the debate, or are still in denial ? (like most of you lib tards have been for past four years). Mush brain exposed as the cheap fake that he really is. DJT crushed him in the debate, even though he let up and could have been more dominant.

          Mush brain, the worst president in last fifty years is going to wayside.

          • Pistol Pete


            ThG you should have figured out by now I am hoping Old Joe drops out. Yeah he got crushed in the debate. Unable to respond to Trump’s attacks as he did in 2020. Trump however avoided answering most of the questions posed by the moderator choosing to attack instead. He did not show the voter much of any new policy ideas except tried to brag about his first term which was mostly untruthful and not entirely still relevant.

          • ThG

            of course you are hoping he drops out, because TRUMP will wipe him out. Trump answered questions that were on minds of most Americans, not fake media bull shit.

            Must feel like a moron having voted for this guy four years ago, and ensuing mess we are in.

            Trump had a lot of ideas, but your brain freeze kept them out. Like shutting down the education department (useless indoctrination), getting rid of EV draconian bull shit and climate change bull shit, closing the border, same day voting/ paper ballots, voter ID, only allow citizens to vote, cutting government spending (we are driving up debt at rate of one trillion every three months, the highest rate ever, and mush brain is doing nothing about it), getting rid of DAs/AGs who are soft on crime, and much much much more. Including deporting over 1 million illegal aliens creepy joe let in,

  15. Pistol Pete

    Definitely speedier and a better skater than much taller and heavier big brother Jason. We’ll see if McCrimmon is interested. Believe a Theo deal for a top six winger takes precedence over another depth guy.

    Current most probable (top winger):
    Necas (if can go from C to wing)

  16. ThG

    From The Washington Times:
    “A neurologist and Parkinson’s disease specialist has made nearly a dozen visits to the White House Medical Unit, visitor logs show, raising new questions about President Biden’s fitness for office as he battles efforts to push him off the 2024 ballot.

    Dr. Kevin R. Cannard, a Bethesda neurologist and movement disorder specialist affiliated with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, visited the office of the White House Medical Unit ten times dating back to November 2022, the visitor logs show. The logs, last updated on July 1, show Dr. Cannard visited the White House most recently on March 28.”

    Now lefty’s are complaining about security clearance for Trump, who is still not sentenced or convicted officially; sentencing date is put off until mid September because judge is limiting appeal time before election (another weaponization move of neo Fascist mush brain in WH). Yet , lo and behold, we have a real convicted felon in White House now. Hunter Biden ! They hypocrisy of the left is limitless. Liberalism is surely a mental disorder – Michael Savage

    • Pistol Pete


      ThG with with respect to your response to me above, we disagree on all the Trump ideas but rather than debate those as I believe that would be folly in our case (except one note: Trump himself has voted by mail I believe for a long time) and except for your claim about spending and the debt. From fiscal years 2017-2021 (Trump’s term discounting the fiscal year end of June offset) the debt increased $8.2T, a single term record. Biden’s first three fiscal years is $4.7T. Now both had the impact of COVID relief spending and I can’t say which was more. My point is not so much that Trump’s 2016 campaign claim of paying off the debt was utter bullshit like his promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, but that we need a bipartisan commitment to eliminate deficit spending. I feel passionate enough about this to where I began to compose a letter to send to every member of both Houses.

  17. Pistol Pete

    ThG I watched a video of Eichel and Olo together. It looked good.

  18. Pistol Pete

    CapFriendly scouting report Olofsson. Not big. Can Cassidy get his game back on track (season goals: 20, 20, 28) and up his two way play?

  19. ThG

    Hockey fans seem to outnumber NFL fans when it comes to representing their teams on their rides. The Golden Knights plate has 79,938 active registrations, while the Raiders plate has 43,424. Since November 2022, Knights plate registrations jumped by 17,773 and Raiders plates increased by 12,259, according to DMV data tracked by the Las Vegas Review-Journa

  20. Pistol Pete

    Putting Olofsson on the first line, Granger has it precisely as I do. No mention of a possible Theo trade though I’m sure he knows.


  21. ThG

    End Wokeness
    Holy shlit. Over 100 people were shot in Chicago over the July 4th weekend.

    Mayor Johnson is blaming it on… Nixon

    liberalism is surely a mental disorder – michael savage

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