A short Golden Knights roster provides opportunities, more options

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Following the second game of the season for the Vegas Golden Knights, news came of an injury to forward Max Pacioretty. This came after the team had already lost captain Mark Stone in the second period of the tilt against the Los Angeles Kings.

“[Mark Stone] went and saw some doctors yesterday,” Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said Tuesday. “Nothing surgical, which is good. I’d say day-to-day. It’s probably in between day-to-day and week-to-week. Good news, for the most part.”

With Alex Tuch, Nicolas Roy, and Brett Howden out with injuries, Mattias Janmark out on COVID protocol, and William Carrier in concussion protocol, the Golden Knights are feeling the lack of skaters. While this team has forward depth, the loss of these players has been felt. Tuch is the only one among this group who has been listed on IR, but there is no cap space to call up enough players to round out the roster.

There is hope to get a couple of the guys back as Mark Stone practiced with the team on Monday morning. Pacioretty, on the other hand, has a fracture in his foot which causes him to remain week-to-week for the time being.

Alex Tuch underwent surgery and is not slated to be able to return for another three months. It is possible that Janmark makes his return in the next week or two, but at the moment it is unclear what his status is in relation to COVID-19 protocol.

Should Stone remain out for the time being alongside Pacioretty, eyes will once again be on the original misfits line of Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault to perform stronger than ever. However, there is also the possibility that Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer shakes up the lines and separates the three to bring a new look to his lineup.

“The same details we’re focusing on are the same details that you need to win a Stanley Cup,” DeBoer said. “I think, obviously, there’s a heightened awareness with [Stone and Pacioretty] out of the lineup to make sure we’ve got that detail in our game, maybe earlier in the season than normally you would. We’re two games in, but we’re going to need that to keep our head above water here.”

Losing guys this early in the season is not a new phenomenon for this Vegas team, but this is quite possibly the slimmest team that has been available. This does give the younger guys in the organization the chance to step up and prove they can keep up on the NHL stage.

There is also the possibility, if contracts are moved to IR, for a guy like Sven Baertschi to make his season debut as a Golden Knight. Baertschi has decent NHL experience and has had a great showing in the AHL over the last two seasons. A fresh start in Vegas after a rocky time in Vancouver may be just what the 2011 first-round pick needs to flourish on the big stage.

While not one of the younger guys available to the team, Baertschi comes with experience and a knack for scoring and could provide the boost that this struggling VGK team is looking for.

The team has already taken looks at Pavel Dorofeyev, Dylan Coghlan, Jake Leschyshyn and Jonas Rondbjerg with the big club this season. Though just two games in, it has not yet appeared as though any of them are what this team has been searching for.

Coghlan, typically a defenseman, has filled in among the forwards a few times over the last couple of seasons. He has stepped up when the team has asked him to and has slowly built up his standing on the team.

Dorofeyev was a surprise name on the opening night roster this season, but he does not yet look like he is ready to be a full-time NHL player. Both Leschyshyn and Rondbjerg had a decent outing against the Kings but will look to make more of an impact in their upcoming opportunities.

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