This season has seen several Vegas Golden Knights players sidelined for extended periods of time due to injury. With players undergoing COVID protocol falling under this category as well. As a result, Golden Knights management has turned to other players until those with injuries could recover. This has led to several young players within the organization a chance to play at the NHL level. While some struggled, others have proven themselves ready of joining the Golden Knights permanently.
Now that several previously injured players are returning to the team’s lineup, Golden Knights management will be forced to make a decision. Which of the players that they have brought into the lineup as replacements do they take out and who do they keep?
Which Golden Knights players have recently returned from injury
Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Carrier, Jonathan Marchessault and Brett Howden are amongst the players to have most recently returned to the ice. All of which are players that bring something of note to the team. Stone, Pacioretty and Marchessault are all crucial pieces of the team’s offensive production while Howden and Carrier are two decent bottom-six forwards.
The absence of Stone, Pacioretty and Marchessault has been especially notable as without them the team has been forced to rely on other players for the teams offensive production. Players such as William Karlsson, Nolan Patrick and the newly acquired Jack Eichel are still out, recovering from injury.
The players that came in to replace them
With so many important players, forwards especially, out with injury, VGK management looks for replacements in several different places. Most notably to players already in the organization and to waiver claims. Because of these circumstances, these players are likely going to be the ones losing their spots in the roster.
The players that were already in the organization who received extended call-ups were: Jake Leschyshyn, Paul Cotter and Jonas Røndbjerg. The three of these players played more than five games during their call-ups.
These three players have proven themselves to be worthy of spots on the team’s roster. While Leschyshyn took longer than the other two to start producing offensively, his playstyle has brought energy to the bottom six. Lately, he has found some production as well, recording four points in his last six games. He has a heavy forecheck as well, skates hard in whatever part of the ice he is in and is not afraid to put in work in the dirty areas.
Paul Cotter on the other hand has had less time in the lineup, having only played six games. Yet in that short time, he has proven to be a capable goal-scoring threat by notching two goals. He does appear to be the most one-dimensional of the trio, heavily focusing on the offensive aspects of his game. Though that is not a skill the Vegas Golden Knights should overlook, as several times in recent history their offense has dried up.
Jonas Røndbjerg is probably the most all-around player of the three, being both defensively solid as well as an offensive threat. With him only recording four points in 13 games, many might not understand what he brings to the team. His game is about being a responsible depth player, suited for a middle-six role. Of the three players, Røndbjerg appears to have skill set best suited for the Golden Knights.
The unique aspect of these three players is their responsibility on the puck. With the three of them combining for only two total giveaways. Whereas lineup regulars such as Keegan Kolesar and Nic Roy have a combined 24 giveaways.
There have been enough injuries this season for the Golden Knights to go to waiver claims to help stop some of the team’s bleeding. Mike Amadio and Adam Brooks were the two players the Golden Knights have picked up via waiver claims.
Mike Amadio has been underwhelming, to say the least, not recording a single point in seven games. His failure to make an impact does not bode well for the possibility of him staying in Vegas long-term.
Adam Brooks on the other hand has scored a goal in two games played. Despite this, however, it is too early to tell whether he be an impact player for the team going forward.
The Vegas Golden Knights, despite having been heavily afflicted with injury throughout the early stages of the season have managed to keep an above .500 record. Things are already improving with the return of players such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault. When the rest of the team’s injured players are able to return to the lineup VGK management is going to be forced to make some difficult decisions.
Roster changes will absolutely be necessary in order to get returning players back into the lineup. To make sure the team stays cap-compliant player/players will need to depart the team via trade as well. When this eventually takes place, it is very possible management will look to some of these players as long-term replacements.
Featured image courtesy of The NHL
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