The Vegas Golden Knights got off to a great start to the 2019-20 season last night when they took down their rivals the San Jose Sharks, but it didn’t come without a cost. Nate Schmidt left the game after colliding with Logan Couture in the first period, and will now be out “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury according to head coach Gerard Gallant.
Schmidt ended up playing just over three minutes in the contest, forcing the rest of the Golden Knights defense to pick up the slack. That’s something that will have to continue, but this could open up an opportunity for one of the team’s other young defensemen. Jimmy Schuldt or Nicolas Hague in particular could slot into Schmidt’s spot, though neither offer the time of minute-munching ability of the 28-year old.
Even after missing the first 20 games of the 2018-19 season thanks to a PED suspension, Schmidt still recorded 30 points to trail only Shea Theodore (37) in scoring among Golden Knights defensemen. His +22 rating was easily a team-high and he was used heavily on both the powerplay and penalty kill at various times. That all packages together as one of the most valuable players on the team, and one Vegas can hardly afford to lose for any stretch of time.
Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, they’ll be without Schmidt when they take on the Sharks in the second half of a home-and-home tomorrow night in San Jose.