The Vegas Golden Knights have been no stranger to the injury bug this season, as it has seen them lose some of their top players for long stretches. Right now, they are without their leading goal-scorer and their star free-agent signing. For Max Pacioretty, it is his first time missing games this season. On the other hand, Alex Pietrangelo has only been in the Vegas lineup for 18 out of their 30 games. The two players have seen progress in their injuries, but their statuses for the next series against the Colorado Avalanche are still up in the air.
During the 2020-21 season, Pacioretty has been his usual self. He is leading the team in goals and has been a threat every time he steps onto the ice. Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, they have been without his services since he picked up a lower-body injury. At the time, he was considered day-to-day, but his status for the road series with the Avalanche is still unknown.
Even without Pacioretty, Vegas is in good hands. The Golden Knights have been finding a way to put pucks in the net and have been led by players such as Mark Stone and William Karlsson. Alex Tuch is also a very viable replacement on the first-line, as he has 13 goals and 20 points on the season.
During the Golden Knights’ last practice before departing to Colorado, Pacioretty was not a participant. Instead, Tuch was in his place on the top line. However, he did skate on his own in the morning, and head coach Pete DeBoer does expect him to make the trip.
Despite not practicing with the team, the fact that he is most likely traveling with the Golden Knights is a good sign for both the coaching staff and the fans. Pacioretty will probably be a game-time decision for the first game of the series.
The 2020-21 season has not been kind to the former Stanley Cup champion. Earlier in the season, he missed time due to COVID-19, and now he has found himself on long-term injured reserve after suffering an upper-body injury blocking a shot late in a game against the San Jose Sharks. His absences have seen Vegas rely on their youth more, as Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud have seen increased roles.
Pietrangelo went on LTIR on March 18, retroactive to March 6. In that time span, the Golden Knights have played nine games. This means that he technically will need to miss one more game before he can return to the Golden Knights lineup. However, it is looking like he will be out for a little longer than that. DeBoer noted that although he is making progress, Pietrangelo will not join the Golden Knights in the series against the Avalanche.
If there is one piece of silver lining regarding the announcement of Pietrangelo, it is that DeBoer considers him more day-to-day. However, with the high-paid defenseman’s return seeming imminent, the Golden Knights are going to have to make some roster moves in order to bring his contract back on the books. When he went on LTIR, Vegas was able to use the extra cap space to bring Hague, Cody Glass, Dylan Coghlan and Tomas Jurco up to the main roster. The front office will need to do some salary-cap juggling with the taxi squad and Henderson Silver Knights when he returns.
The Golden Knights have been one of the most dominant teams in the NHL despite some of their biggest names getting injured. The vast amount of skill in their depth has allowed them to embrace the next-man-up mentality and still be a dangerous group of players. Fortunately for the Golden Knights, Pacioretty and Pietrangelo are close to rejoining the squad and making Vegas even more dangerous.
I am a former Jr. A hockey player that is currently attending school at San Diego State University. At SDSU, I study Journalism and Public Relations while also playing on the school’s rugby team. Hockey has been a big part of my life, as I have been playing since I was three years old. Other than hockey, I enjoy watching and playing all kinds of sports.