Photo Credit: CNN


Golden Knights 2020 Season: Looking for the Right Mix


My favorite drink after a long day of work is a properly mixed Southern Comfort and Coke. 


It is my go-to drink roughly 80% of the time, and the perfect drink to help wash the day’s troubles away. From time to time, I mix it up and go with a traditional Margarita on the rocks. A Margarita is an okay drink, but most of the time, I find myself regretting not going with my So-Co and Coke.

As of today, roughly two months ago, my bartender suggested I try something different than a Margarita; he suggested Jack Honey mixed with ginger ale. Wow!  It was amazing… just the right amount of sweetness with the perfect kick. From that day forward, I found myself splitting my spirits at a sixty-forty rate, sixty percent So-Co and Coke, and forty percent Jack Honey with ginger ale.


Photo Credit: NHL Rumors

The Vegas Golden Knights were in a similar position, which led to the acquisition of Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline. VGK needed an upgrade in the event Marc-Andre Fleury was forced to miss any time down the stretch or in the playoffs. “If anything happened to Marc-Andre Fleury, we weren’t strong enough to win playoff games if we get to that point,” General Manager Kelly McCrimmon said. 

Since joining the Vegas Golden Knights, Lehner has been stellar, posting a 3-0 record, and .940 save percentage. It is also worth noting that Fleury has a 2-2 record with a less than stellar save percentage of .894 since Lehner was acquired.

At this point, I do not believe there is a goalie controversy



However, the leash will be much shorter on Fleury now that Malcolm Subban is no longer the backup netminder, no matter what format the NHL decides on to crown a Stanley Cup Champion for the 2019-2020 campaign. There are multiple scenarios that may lead Lehner to an extended role. If the team falls 0-2 in any series or is up 3-0, Lehner is likely to get a start.

The ghost of Braden Holtby still haunts the Vegas faithful, and it is important to note that Holtby was not the game one playoff starter in the Washington Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup run. Marc-Andre Fleury has hoisted Stanley Cups both as the starter and the backup netminder. The point being that VGK has quite possibly the best goaltending tandem as a path to conclude the 2019-2020 campaign is determined. 


Does coach Pete DeBoer prefer So-Co and Coke or Jack Honey and ginger ale?  Both seem more enjoyable than a traditional Margarita.


Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

“As a manager, sometimes, you have a feeling that something isn’t what it needed to be. Sometimes you feel a change is needed,” General Manager McCrimmon stated after the coaching change was made in January.  That may also be interpreted as the leadership and owner, Bill Foley, feeling that this team is capable of another deep playoff run.


Coach DeBoer does not necessarily have the same emotional connection to the players that Gallant had, and that is understandable. Gallant was with the team for two-plus years. DeBoer is going on four months, and nearly two of those have been while the season is on pause.  DeBoer is going to construct a lineup that gives the team the best chance to win each night. Vegas Golden Knights’ staple, Deryk Engelland, is a prime example. 

Unless it was to rest for a stretch run or injury-related, Engelland was always in the lineup under Gallant.  Since the coaching change, Engelland has been in the lineup for five of the twenty-two contests.


VGK, as well as most of the NHL clubs, will be close to full health less season-ending injuries when the season resumes.  Coach DeBoer will have some tough decisions to make for his nightly lineup. 


Photo Credit: NBC Sports

Jonathan Marchessault, Riley Smith, William Karlsson, Mark Stone, Paul Stastny, and Max Pacioretty will make up the top-six forwards. Alex Tuch, Chandler Stephenson, and possibly Nicolas Roy may be the line three unit with Tomas Nosek, Ryan Reaves, and a combination of William Carrier and Nick Cousins doing the dirty work on line four.


Coach DeBoer has moved Stastny throughout all three forward lines and showed a willingness to break up the long-standing line one unit of Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith. On the defensive side of things Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt, and Alec Martinez will draw into the lineup nightly. That leaves Jon Merrill, Nick Holden, Deryk Engelland, and Zach Whitecloud vying for the two remaining spots in the lineup. Engelland is currently +6 on the season just slightly behind Merill (+7) and ahead of Whitecloud (+3) and Holden (-1). 

I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of Engelland this season. I believe the final defensive pairing is a three-player rotation that leaves Whitecloud on the outside looking in. Whitecloud has a bright future with Vegas, but he lacks the playoff experience that Engelland, Merill, and Holden bring to the table.


Hopefully, many questions will soon  be answered about how the 2019-2020 campaign will be concluded. 


Photo Credit: SB Nation

Will the 2020 regular-season finish or will the playoffs start with the highest seeded teams now? Will there be an expanded playoff bracket that may include first-round byes if the regular season is not finished? Where will the games be played? Will Vegas have a home-ice advantage at any point in the playoffs if the games are played in “neutral” sights?

Most importantly, will the 2019-2020 campaign be concluded at all? The NHL has repeatedly stated their intent to crown a Stanley Cup Champion this season once deemed safe to do so.



All I know is that I hope to enjoy live Hockey at T-Mobile again this season. However, if the games will not be played with fans in the seats, I will have fun watching the games on the television while enjoying a nice glass of So-Co and Coke. No, wait! Make that a Jack Honey with ginger ale! 

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Golden Knights 2020 Season   Golden Knights 2020 Season   Golden Knights 2020 Season   Golden Knights 2020 Season   

Golden Knights 2020 Season     Golden Knights 2020 Season                                                                                                                                                                    

-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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