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What To Expect From Preseason Rosters/Lines Based On VGK’s 2 Year History

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Golden Knights hit the ice tomorrow for their first preseason game of the 2019-20 season, there will be a few familiar faces to most Vegas fans, but there will also be a lot of new ones too.

The team currently has 29 forwards, 17 defensemen, and five goalies available in camp. Ryan Reaves has been ruled out with an injury for what we expect to be a majority of camp but should not roll into the regular season, and Shea Theodore was described as behind in his conditioning due to his offseason procedure which leaves him unavailable for the first week or two.

That means the coaching staff has 51 players to select from when making their 20 man roster to ice on Sunday afternoon. Historically (which means the last two years), the Golden Knights go very young in their first few games. Dylan Ferguson was the goalie for each of the preseason openers and multiple rookies played both at the forward and defense. Here’s a look at how they lined it up each of the first two seasons.

2018-19 Preseason Game 1

Nosek-Karlsson-Marchessault
Pacioretty-Glass-Hyka
Carr-Duke-Kolesar
Quinney-Tynan-Wong

Holden-Miller
Bischoff-Hague
Hunt-Brannstrom

Ferguson

2017-18 Preseason Game 1

Leipsic-Tynan-Tuch
Hyka-Glass-Kolesar
Suzuki-Thompson-Carrier
Matteau-Nosek-Wong

Theodore-Reinhart
Stoner-Hunt
Bischoff-Hague

Ferguson

By rule, the NHL requires each team to ice at least eight veterans in every NHL exhibition game. (We believe the Golden Knights were issued an exemption in their first preseason game in 2017-18 as there are only three veterans in that lineup.) That’s why you see names like Pacioretty, Marchessault, Karlsson, and Holden mixed among a mass of players who have yet to make their NHL debuts.

What is more interesting though is the experimentation that goes along with the preseason. Last season, the Golden Knights tried a rash of different bottom-six options. In fact, through all seven games, they never played a third line that matched the one they used on Opening Night.

In 2017-18, the Golden Knights did not roster a single line that played together in Dallas for the franchises first game.

Gerard Gallant did, however, use the entire preseason last year to cement his ideas for the top six. Marchessault and Karlsson played five preseason games together and were matched up with their linemate Reilly Smith in four of the five (Smith didn’t play the other game). Pacioretty and Stastny found themselves on the same line for four of the five games Max played and all four of Paul’s. They rotated between Tuch and Haula on their wing, with Haula eventually winning that spot as Tuch was injured in the final preseason game.

On defense, there was a bit more experimentation before the Golden Knights locked in their planned six heading into the regular season. McNabb played with Miller and Engelland. Merrill played with Holden, Brannstrom, and Reinhart. Engelland played with Hunt, McNabb, and Theodore. Some of this was due to the team being without Schmidt (suspended) and Theodore (contract), however, when all was said and done the final two preseason games matched the Golden Knights roster for opening night.

As for goalies, the Golden Knights rotated through all five of their options last year, giving Fleury the final two games.

The team used a steady build last year starting with eight veterans in Game 1, then using 11, 11, 11, 16, 19, and 19 in the remaining six. In Games 6 and 7, 18 of the 19 players in the lineup were on the opening night roster. In Game 1, just seven players made the roster.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So, back to tomorrow, what should you expect to see? Well, first of all they have to roster eight veterans and most of the new players do not qualify under NHL rules. So, I’d expect guys like Nick Holden, Jon Merrill, Tomas Nosek, and Brandon Pirri to be among the veteran, and then I’d guess they’ll use some at least two, if not all three, off a top six-line.

The most probable goalie would be Ferguson, but it wouldn’t shock me if they gave Garett Sparks the nod for the first one and made Ferguson travel with the next three on the road.


Here are all the Golden Knights lines from previous preseasons with notes on each,

2018-19 Preseason
Game 1

Nosek-Karlsson-Marchessault
Pacioretty-Glass-Hyka
Carr-Duke-Kolesar
Quinney-Tynan-Wong

Holden-Miller
Bischoff-Hague
Hunt-Brannstrom

Ferguson

Vets: 8
Made Roster: 7

Game 2

Carpenter-Eakin-Hyka
Haula-Stastny-Lindberg
Elvenes-Macek-Pirri
Carrier-Duke-Tuch

McNabb-Miller
Reinhart-Whitecloud
Merrill-Brannstrom

Fucale

Vets: 11
Made Roster: 10

Game 3

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Carr-Bellemare-Kolesar
Matteau-Tynan-Pirri
Carrier-Lindberg-Nosek

Hunt-Engelland
Reinhart-Brannstrom
Bischoff-Hague

Dansk

Vets: 11
Made Roster: 9

Game 4

Pacioretty-Stastny-Haula
Pirri-Lindberg-Tuch
Carr-Bellemare-Carpenter
Matteau-Tynan-Kolesar

Holden-Brannstrom
Merrill-Reinhart
Bischoff-Hague

Lagace

Vets: 11
Made Roster: 8

Game 5

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Pacioretty-Stastny-Tuch
Haula-Glass-Carpenter
Nosek-Lindberg-Carrier

McNabb-Engelland
Holden-Brannstrom
Bischoff-Hunt

Subban

Vets: 16
Made Roster: 16

Game 6

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Haula-Stastny-Pacioretty
Carr-Nosek-Carpenter
Carrier-Bellemare-Reaves

Engelland-Theodore
Merrill-Holden
McNabb-Miller

Fleury

Vets: 19
Made Roster: 18

Game 7

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Pacioretty-Stastny-Tuch
Nosek-Lindberg-Carpenter
Carr-Bellemare-Reaves

Theodore-Engelland
McNabb-Miller
Merrill-Holden

Fleury

Vets: 19
Made Roster: 18

Opening Night

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Pacioretty-Stastny-Haula
Nosek-Carpenter-Lindberg
Carrier-Bellemare-Reaves

Theodore-Engelland
McNabb-Miller
Merrill-Holden

Fleury

17-18 Preseason
Game 1

Leipsic-Tynan-Tuch
Hyka-Glass-Kolesar
Suzuki-Thompson-Carrier
Matteau-Nosek-Wong

Theodore-Reinhart
Stoner-Hunt
Bischoff-Hague

Ferguson

Vets: 3
Made Roster: 3

Game 2

Marchessault-Shipachyov-Smith
Hyka-Lindberg-Tuch
Suzuki-Haula-Perron
Pulkkinen-Bellemare-Thompson

Sbisa-Hunt
Garrison-Miller
Merrill-Engelland

Dansk

Vets: 12
Made Roster: 12

Game 3

Pulkkinen-Eakin-Perron
Carrier-Glass-Kolesar
Karlsson-Tynan-Nosek
Wong-Matteau

Schmidt-McNabb
Stoner-Sbisa
Theodore-Reinhart

Pickard

Vets: 10
Made Roster: 8

Game 4

Pulkkinen-Haula-Tynan
Kolesar-Karlsson-Hyka
Thompson-Bellemare-Matteau
Carrier-Nosek-Wong

Reinhart-Hunt
Bischoff-McNabb
Garrison-Miller

Fleury

Vets: 8
Made Roster: 9

Game 5

Hyka-Haula-Tuch
Perron-Eakin-Lindberg
Marchessault-Shipachyov-Smith
Pulkkinen-Nosek-Carrier

Schmidt-Sbisa
Theodore-Engelland
Merrill-Miller

Pickard

Vets: 13
Made Roster: 13

Game 6

Leipsic-Lindberg-Tuch
Karlsson-Eakin-Karlsson
Marchessault-Shipachyov-Smith
Carrier-Bellemare-Hyka

Theodore-Hunt
Stoner-Miller
Schmidt-McNabb

Fleury

Vets: 13
Made Roster: 13

Game 7

Leipsic-Haula-Tuch
Karlsson-Eakin-Perron
Marchessault-Shipachyov-Smith
Nosek-Bellemare-Lindberg

Schmidt-Miller
Theodore-Engelland
Sbisa-Garrison

Fleury

Vets: 14
Made Roster: 16

Opening Night

Perron-Eakin-Neal
Marchessault-Lindberg-Smith
Leipsic-Haula-Karlsson
Nosek-Bellemare-Carrier

McNabb-Engelland
Schmidt-Sbisa
Garrison-Miller

Fleury

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4 Comments

  1. Bryce Alberts

    Last year Nate Schmidt got a 20 game suspension for a banned substance he said he had no idea how he got it, and this year Kunetskof of the Caps get 3 days suspension for Cocaine something he knows how he got!! 2 tier justice system in NHL as in our government!!!

  2. Bob Abooey

    The line of Karlsson-Eakin-Karlsson would be a tough one for any team to defend (S1-PSG6)

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