The Vegas Golden Knights will presumably embark on a four-team round-robin to determine playoff seeding whenever play resumes. Given that it’s unlikely any team will play in front of a home crowd, the seeding doesn’t have quite the same impact as most years. Nonetheless, the mini-tournament will be an import return to play. For the Golden Knights, that means solidifying certain roster decisions, such as determining who is going to be in goal come playoff time. Peter DeBoer will be working with GM Kelly McCrimmon and President of Hockey Operations George McPhee to make final roster decisions, per The Athletic’s Jesse Granger. Marc-Andre Fleury is a living legend who led Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season, but time makes a mockery of us all, and just two years later, he could lose his starting gig to midseason acquisition Robin Lehner. Both netminders are likely to get a start during the round-robin phase, but it’s still probably Fleury’s job to lose, given his veteran status both in the league and on this particular team.
- In Washington, Caps’ coach Todd Reirden spoke with a number of reporters, including JJ Regan of NBC Sports, who reported that Braden Holtby will be in net – at least for now. Ilya Samsonov stands by should Holtby struggle. Holtby started 47 games this season to just 22 for the rookie Samsonov, but with Holtby’s .897 save percentage versus .913 save percentage for Samsonov, there’s at the question whether the Caps would be better off with the youngster in goal. The Caps are hoping for a better playoff result than last year’s disappointing first-round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. It wasn’t exactly the title defense Alex Ovechkin and company had planned, but the Caps will get another chance to make good in the playoffs this season. They’ll need Holtby at his finest to make a run.
- In another potential changing of the guard, the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist landed on a list of potential buyout candidates this offseason from Sean Leahy of NBC Sports. There’s no doubt that Lundqvist is expensive next season with a cap hit of $8.5MM, but it’s difficult to imagine Rangers games without the Swede minding the net. Still, even if the Rangers deem apparent successor Igor Shesterkin to be ready, they’d still have to buyout Lundqvist for $5.5MM, which might not present enough savings to make the move worthwhile, not when they’d still need a second goalie. Alexander Georgiev, 24, is the other piece of this puzzle, the primary backup for the last couple of seasons and a restricted free agent this offseason.