Vegas Golden Knights News & Rumors: Pacioretty, Lehner, Brooks

In this edition of Vegas Golden Knights News & Rumors, the team got a huge boost on Wednesday as Max Pacioretty was able to return to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 14. In other news, Mark Stone spoke on just how valuable Robin Lehner has been this season, despite his numbers not being what most had expected early on. Meanwhile, the team’s newest player in Adam Brooks, was able to pot his first goal of the season versus the Nashville Predators.

Pacioretty Returns

Back on Oct. 14, the Golden Knights lost both Pacioretty and Mark Stone due to injuries. Obviously those are huge losses as the two are the top forwards on the team, but to Vegas’ credit, they were able to stay in the playoff hunt and have been much better since Stone was able to return roughly two weeks ago.

Max Pacioretty #67, Vegas Golden Knights
Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

On Wednesday, they were able to get their best goal scorer in Pacioretty back against the Predators. The 33-year-old had been sidelined with a fractured foot, but looked no worse for the wear upon his return as he registered an assist in the Golden Knights’ 5-2 win. Pacioretty now has four points in three games this season and will continue to produce big numbers going forward.

Stone Gives Props to Lehner

Many Golden Knights fans were not thrilled this summer when general manager Kelly McCrimmon chose to trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks. The good news, however, and the reason they were able to make the trade, was that they have another great goalie in Lehner.

Related: Golden Knights’ Lehner Is a Key Reason for Recent Success

Over the course of the past three seasons, Lehner has been amongst the league’s best, and many thought he could be a Vezina Trophy candidate in 2021-22 playing behind what was expected to be a very good Golden Knights team. That hasn’t exactly been the case, as the 30-year-old has posted somewhat disappointing numbers with a 2.95 goals-against average along with a .913 save percentage. Despite the numbers, however, Stone explained to the media after Wednesday’s game just how important he has been this season.

“I don’t know if the numbers reflect just how good he’s been,” Stone said. “Sometimes you let in a goal at a bad time, but he’s done the complete opposite. He’s made the big saves at the right time.”

While a Vezina nomination may not happen this season, Lehner has been in a tough position given the number of injuries the team in front of him has dealt with in the early going. As the group starts getting back to full health, you can expect his numbers to improve significantly.

Brooks Makes Great Early Impression

Though he was claimed off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens over a week ago, Brooks has had to be patient to start his Golden Knights tenure. The 25-year-old was healthy scratched in his first three games, but was finally able to draw in against the Predators on Wednesday. He made the most of his opportunity, scoring what ended up being the game-winning goal in the 5-2 victory.

It will be interesting to see Brooks’ role moving forward, as most believe the Golden Knights claimed him as a result of all the injuries the Golden Knights were dealing with. Now that they are slowly getting healthy, he could find himself on the outside looking in, but his performance on Wednesday night had to have made a good early impression on his new coaching staff.

Up Next for the Golden Knights

The Golden Knights have just one game remaining this week, and it is a massive one. They will take on the Edmonton Oilers, a team that many expected them to compete with for first place in the Pacific Division this season. As things stand right now, the Oilers sit in second place in the Pacific, while the Golden Knights are third. It will be the second time these two have met up this season, and they will be looking for revenge, as the Oilers won the first match 5-3.

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