The Vegas Golden Knights have had a season like no other. For being an expansion team, they’ve racked up quite a lot of points and are currently second in the Pacific Division. It’s even more remarkable that they’ve been as good as they have considering the Knights have played five different goalies.
Going into the season, many thought if the Knights were to do well, it would be largely due to Marc-Andre Fleury standing on his head. Unfortunately, he was placed on IR with a concussion on October 13th after only playing a few games. The pressure was then on newly acquired backup goalie, Malcolm Subban, but he was also placed on IR with a lower-body injury just a few games after Fleury’s injury.
Now it was up to the tandem of Oscar Dansk and Maxime Lagace to keep the Knights winning. Both were called up from Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Dansk only got to play a handful of games before he was placed on IR after sustaining a lower-body injury in a game against the New York Islanders on October 30. Lagace jumped in net to finish the game off and has since started in ten games. His backup during that time was Dylan Ferguson who started the season in the WHL playing for the Kamloops Blazers. Ferguson only saw action for part of the Knights game against the Edmonton Oilers when Lagace was pulled after allowing seven goals.
There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel for the team as they recently activated Subban from IR and Ferguson was sent back to the WHL. He’s been practicing with the team and is expected to reclaim his starting goaltender spot.
Despite the rotating door of goalies, the team just keeps winning. Have they gotten lucky with goalies? Or do their offense and defense make up for what their substitute goalies lack?
Fleury had a .925 save percentage through the four games he played. Subban had a .936 save percentage through 3 games, Dansk had a remarkable .946 after 3 games, and Lagace currently has a .872 after playing 10 games. It’s a very small sample size for the first three goalies and so it can be argued that Lagace’s save percentage isn’t as great as the others because he’s played more games than them.
We can partially attribute the Knights winning up until Dansk’s injury to amazing goal tending, and partially to great offense. In 19 games, they’re currently fifth in the league in goals with a +10 goal differential. But after Lagace took to the net in early November, it’s the offensive skill that’s keeping the team afloat.
The Knights have only lost 6 games and 5 of the 6 have happened in the last 10 games with Lagace in net. It’s safe to say Subban’s recovery could not have come at a better time. There’s only so long a team can sustain itself on goals scored and not goals saved.