Golden Knights News & Rumors: Vigneault, Stone, Ghost Pirates

In this edition of Vegas Golden Knights News & Rumors, several names continue to be discussed as a potential replacement of Pete DeBoer, one in particular being Alain Vigneault. In other news, Mark Stone underwent successful back surgery this past week and is expected to be ready for the 2022-23 season. Last but not least, the team recently announced a new ECHL affiliate in the Savannah Ghost Pirates.

Vigneault a Potential Coaching Candidate for Golden Knights

Since the firing of DeBoer, there has been plenty of speculation as to who the Golden Knights will select as their new bench boss. Names such as Barry Trotz and Rick Tocchet are ones that seem to be popping up plenty, though there have been several others brought up as well. One in particular is Vigneault, who Elliotte Friedman brought up on a recent episode of his 32 Thoughts Podcast.

Alain Vigneault, Philadelphia Flyers
Alain Vigneault former Philadelphia Flyers coach (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“I am curious to see if he wants to coach again because it ended obviously very badly in Philadelphia, and I’ve heard at times this year that Vigneault would like another chance to prove that wasn’t all on him,” Friedman said.

Vigneault was fired this past season by the Flyers in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. Though his Flyers tenure didn’t go as planned, he was able to win two playoff series with them in 2020, and had plenty of success in stints with the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks prior. Though Friedman said he believes the Winnipeg Jets are the best fit for the 61-year-old, you can bet Golden Knights management has discussed him as well.

Stone Undergoes Successful Back Surgery

At the end of the 2021-22 season, Stone was adamant that while having surgery for his nagging back injury was a possibility, he first wanted to explore all other options. He reportedly talked to several other players around the league as well as plenty of doctors, and ultimately came to the conclusion that surgery was the best option available to him.

Related: Golden Knights Fire Pete DeBoer: 3 Takeaways

With that news, the 30-year-old went under the knife this past Thursday. Shortly afterward, the team released a statement letting fans know that the surgery was a success, while also mentioning they expect him to be ready for the 2022-23 season. Having Stone back and fully healthy would be huge for the Golden Knights moving forward, as him being limited to just 37 games this past season played a big part in why they missed the playoffs.

Golden Knights Announce New ECHL Affiliate

This past week, the Golden Knights announced on their team official Twitter feed that they have a new ECHL partnership with the Savannah Ghost Pirates. The Ghost Pirates joined the ECHL back in October of 2021 as an expansion team, and play out of Savannah, Georgia. General manager Kelly McCrimmon broke the news to media on Thursday, while also announcing the team’s new head coach.

“This affiliation with Savannah gives us alignment from the ECHL level through Henderson and up to the NHL,” McCrimmon said. “We are excited to lead the hockey operations and have a proven developer of talent as a head coach in Rick Bennett.”

Bennett, 54, had a long professional playing career that included 15 NHL games before retiring at the end of the 1998-99 season. Soon after, he joined Providence College as an assistant coach for five seasons before becoming the head coach of Union College in 2005, a position that he held until accepting this job with the Ghost Pirates.

This announcement means that the Golden Knights’ previous partnership with the Fort Wayne Komets has come to an end. The two teams had been with one another since the 2018-19 season. The Komets said shortly after this announcement came that they are now searching for a new NHL club to partner with moving forward.

Up Next for the Golden Knights

Throughout the remainder of the playoffs, there likely won’t be much talk surrounding the Golden Knights. The one thing to keep an eye on will be a new coaching hire, though McCrimmon was adamant on the day that DeBoer was fired that the team will be taking their time when it comes to that decision. Rumors will continue to swirl in regards to who they may be leaning towards, but an official announcement may not happen until the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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