Thursday’s game against the Kings was a costly one for the Golden Knights. For starters, a 6-2 loss is never ideal but on top of that, their injury list is continuing to grow. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that winger Max Pacioretty is set to miss approximately six weeks with an injury; Jesse Granger of The Athletic clarifies (Twitter link) that it’s a lower-body issue.
This is the latest in what has been a long list of injuries to start the season as the veteran joins forwards Nicolas Roy, Brett Howden, Mattias Janmark (COVID protocol), Alex Tuch, and William Carrier as those out of the lineup. Mark Stone was also injured against the Kings with Friedman noting that Vegas is still awaiting further clarity on his situation.
Pacioretty had been off to a strong start to his season with three points in their opener against Seattle and has been one of their most consistent scoring threats since coming over in a trade from Montreal back in 2018, notching at least 22 goals in each of his three seasons with the Golden Knights while eclipsing the point per game mark for the first time last season when he had 24 goals and 27 assists in 48 games. If Stone winds up missing time as well, their top two scorers from the past two seasons will both be out of commission. Vegas is basically down to just seven healthy forwards on their active roster having sent three players down yesterday and those players (plus others) will almost certainly be recalled before their next game on Wednesday.
Injuries left Vegas in a tough spot last season to the point where they had to dress fewer than 18 skaters at times but that shouldn’t be an issue here. Tuch is currently on LTIR, allowing the Golden Knights to use his $4.75MM towards replacement players and with Pacioretty set to miss the next six weeks, he’ll be eligible to be moved there as well and with a $7MM AAV, there will be more than enough cap room to recall several players to fill their lineup.
Of course, finding healthy players from their AHL affiliate in Henderson is something that’s easier said than done. After making their season debut last night, NHL.com’s Patrick Williams relays (Twitter link) that the Silver Knights are missing a total of 14 players due to injury while the team announced yesterday that head coach Manny Viveiros is taking a non-COVID medical leave of absence and is out indefinitely. It has been a tough start to the season all around in the Vegas organization.