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Vegas Golden Knights Goaltending Is a Major Playoff Question

In just six years as a franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltending position has become the stuff of legends. Injuries have meant that the depth of the position is one of the biggest strengths of the franchise as a whole. In the 2022-23 season alone, five different goaltenders have taken the ice. Every one of them has earned at least two wins. As the start of the playoffs inches closer, the question of which one is the right choice becomes increasingly important. 

Golden Knights Goaltending Poses Massive Question

Examining Each Option

Jiri Patera 

Vegas’ youngest goalie impressed in his two games this season. Patera had a .929 save percentage, allowing just five goals on 70 shots against. Patera had a tough job, filling in for the top spot at a critical point in the season. He performed admirably, putting in his best performance on March 19 against the St. Louis Blues. Although the Golden Knights won 7-2, Patera had a few big-time saves. He was able to keep the Knights in it early. In addition, he was showcasing a veteran ability to stay calm under pressure. His numbers in the AHL this season are also impressive, with a .908 save percentage across 30 games. Patera’s inexperience means that he is clearly not the guy for Vegas this season, notwithstanding a recent injury. However, he proved that he deserves to be a part of the conversation moving forward. 

Jonathan Quick 

The Vegas front office took a gamble at the trade deadline this year. It was by acquiring veteran goaltender Jonathan Quick on a turn-around trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets. With Logan Thompson, Adin Hill, and Laurent Brossoit all injured, management needed a goaltender with any kind of NHL experience. Quick was a legend in his prime, leading the Los Angeles Kings to two Stanley Cups and cementing himself as a top netminder in the league. However, his numbers have fallen significantly since the 2018-19 season. Vegas leadership hoped that a change of scenery would create a return to form. So far, it doesn’t look like the gamble has been worth it. Quick has a .895 percentage through nine games with the Knights and has not looked like the Quick of the past. He’s been able to hang on for just two losses, but the Golden Knights won’t want to ride Quick through the playoffs based on his performance so far. 

Laurent Brossoit 

Laurent Brossoit has been likely the biggest surprise of the Golden Knights lineup this season. Brossoit had surgery in the offseason, and it was unclear how he would look in his return. The answer is that he looks good. Brossoit has played in nine games and has a .921 save percentage with a GAA of 2.44, with lights-out performances against the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings this past week. However, Brossoit still has moments where his inexperience is evident, including a tough showing against San Jose, one of the weaker teams in the NHL. Despite this, Brossoit has impressed enough to make a strong case for himself as being the number one starter heading into the playoffs. 

Here’s where the conversation gets interesting. Head coach Bruce Cassidy told media April 4 that both Adin Hill and Logan Thompson have started skating. The tandem were the unopposed top two until both were sidelined with injuries. Neither have played in over a month, except for one game from Thompson, where he was immediately injured again. However, if Vegas can get one or both back for the playoffs, it eliminates much of the uncertainty in the net. 

Adin Hill 

Adin Hill had a spectacular start to the season, winning 17 of 25 games as the backup to Logan Thompson. When Thompson was injured, Hill stepped into the starting role and was seemingly adjusting well, with a .915 save percentage and 2.50 GAA. Hill is remarkably calm in the blue paint, and he has a steady presence that anchors a more veteran defensive core for the Golden Knights. If he’s truly healthy, the starting job could be his as much as anyone else. 

Logan Thompson 

The original starter for the Knights this season, Thompson has the most ammunition for why he deserves the playoff job. He was excellent for the Golden Knights initially, with a .915 save percentage, 2.15 GAA, and two shutouts through the first 35 games. Thompson is exactly the kind of player you want coming back for the playoffs. He’s aggressive and athletic, making big saves at the right moment. He’s also a player that has worked his way up through the organization and is desperate to cement his name as a legendary one for the Knights. The extra fire might be just what the Knights need for a playoff push. 

The Best Choice

An abundance of capable goaltenders is not exactly what one would call a problem. Despite the constant upheaval in the blue paint, the Golden Knights are three games away from clinching the Pacific Division title for the third time in six years. The Golden Knights have risen to the top of an intense battle in the West, and have put together a team that looks comfortable and confident. Based on current injury reports, the most likely starter is Laurent Broissoit, with Hill and Thompson getting more reps as their recovery allows. There’s a poetic justice to the whole scenario, a callback to the “Golden Misfits” of season one, a team built on the back of surprise performances and players becoming stars that they had never been before. The performances in the blue paint this season certainly fit the bill. Maybe the Golden Knights goaltending needs just a touch of that “Misfit” magic to spur them to their first Cup.


Main Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports


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