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Logan Thompson likely will be the starting goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights when they open the season, with Robin Lehner out for the season because of injuries to hips that will require surgery.
“It’s his job to lose, obviously, because he’s been here the most, especially if [backup goalie Laurent] Brossoit is not ready,” Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday. “And then we’ll have the next guys behind him ready to go because you can’t play every night in this league; I don’t believe that. And so that’s how we’re going to handle Logan and hopefully he’s up to the task.”
Thompson was 10-5-3 with a 2.68 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and one shutout in 19 games (17 starts) for the Golden Knights last season, and he was 13-9-4 with a 2.77 GAA, .920 save percentage and two shutouts in 26 games for Henderson, the Golden Knights’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Brossoit was 10-9-3 with a 2.90 GAA, .895 save percentage and one shutout in 24 games (21 starts) last season. But he didn’t play after March 15 and had a medical procedure for an undisclosed injury after the season. Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said he wasn’t sure Brossoit would be ready for opening night.
“We’ll need to get him to Vegas before we can say definitively,” McCrimmon said. “He’s coming in toward the end of the month. We’ll have time to work with him and assess where he’s at.”
If Brossoit is unavailable to start the season, it’s likely Michael Hutchinson will be Thompson’s backup. The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $750,000 on July 13. He played two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and 25 games with Toronto of the AHL.
Vegas announced Aug. 11 that Lehner would miss the season due to a hip injury that would require surgery. McCrimmon said Thursday he believes Lehner has had surgery on one hip already and will have the other done at a future date. “There’s a 10-week lag in between the two surgeries,” he said.
Lehner was 23-17-2 with a 2.83 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and one shutout in 44 games last season. He had shoulder surgery in April and missed the Golden Knights’ final four games of the season.
The timing of Lehner’s hip surgeries is one reason why the Golden Knights will go with Thompson and Brossoit as their goalies this season.
“You’re always aware of what the landscape is and the timing of the injury took away the possibility of being involved in free agency or really in a lot of respects the trade market,” McCrimmon said. “It’s interesting that everybody looks for us to add a goalie or expected us to find a goalie. We went through internally and we like these two guys. We had a lot of conversations with our goaltender coach, Sean Burke, spoke with head coach Bruce Cassidy. These two guys (Thompson and Brossoit) have earned this, I think they deserve that opportunity.”
Thompson played six of the Golden Knights’ final seven games last season, starting five, as their push for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs came up short. Vegas (43-31-8) finished three points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card from the Western Conference and failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in its four seasons, in part because of injury issues that saw the Golden Knights play long stretches without a number of key players, including forwards Jack Eichel, Reilly Smith, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, defenseman Alec Martinez and Lehner.
“‘LT,’ he was huge for us to down the stretch,” Eichel said. “We were dealing with some injuries and he had a lot of responsibility and he was called upon, back-to-back situations and a lot of different places. So I give him a ton of credit on the way that he stepped up for our group. I think he earned a lot of respect from the guys in the locker room last year by the way he played, and we have a lot of faith in LT as our goalie.”
NHL.com staff writer Jackie Spiegel contributed to this report
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