Is it time to panic in Las Vegas? Fans of the Golden Knights will surely not be thrilled to hear the news that Garret Sparks has been recalled on an emergency basis from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, especially in light of the fact that backup Malcolm Subban was a full participant in practice today. That just leaves one odd man out.
As The Athletic’s Jesse Granger summarizes, Sparks’ recall comes on the heels of a practice in which Subban looked fully healthy, while starter Marc-Andre Fleury was suspiciously absent for what head coach Gerard Gallant called a “maintenance day”. If it was truly just a day off for the veteran keeper, the team would not have made this roster move, so it is safe to assume that Fleury is injured. The extent of that injury remains to be seen, but the Knights will almost certainly be without him for at least Saturday’ game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Although Vegas famously survived numerous injuries in goal in their inaugural season, the play behind Fleury has been a different story since the beginning of last season. The 34-year-old Fleury started 61 games last year, a workload brought on by the poor performance of Subban. The young backstop recorded a .902 save percentage and 2.93 GAA in 21 appearances. In his lone appearance so far this year, Subban allowed two goals on just 14 shots. While Subban was sidelined due to injury, Oscar Dansk made one start, allowing six goals on 37 shots, and Sparks, an off-season addition, made one relief appearance and mirrored Subban’s results with two goals allowed on 14 shots. The trio have allowed a combined ten goals on 65 shots over 107 minutes for an .846 save percentage and 5.61 GAA. Even in just one appearance apiece, these are still terrifying numbers for the Golden Knights, especially if Fleury is out for an extended period of time. Subban and Sparks leave a lot to be desired as the tandem leading Vegas against the Jets tomorrow and possibly beyond.