First and Second Line
There are two different combinations the Vegas Golden Knights can go with for the top two lines. We all clearly know Mark Stone is going to play first-line right-wing. Now, here comes the part where they can change stuff up. They can either go with:
First Line: Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone
Second Line: Marchessault – Karlsson – Tuch/Smith
First Line: Marchessault – Karlsson – Stone
Second Line: Pacioretty – Stastny- Tuch/Smith
Personally, I think the second option is better for the Golden Knights. Marchessault and Karlsson are better when they play more minutes. If they want to even out those minutes, they can have Pacioretty and Stastny play on the special teams units.
Originally, I had projected Nikita Gusev, Cody Eakin and Tuch or Smith (whoever does not play on the second line). Now that Gusev has been traded, this is what I am thinking for the third line.
The only difference is that Pirri plays left-wing for the third line instead of Gusev.
The fourth line is probably the least complicated forwards line throughout the entire Vegas Golden Knights. This should and most likely will be:
William Carrier – Tomas Nosek – Ryan “Reevo” Reaves
If this is not the line, then I don’t know what else it could be.
The first pairing for the Golden Knights should be very simple. It is expected to be Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore. It was clear last season that McNabb and Theodore was a huge success when it comes to pairing them. When paired together, they combined for a 57.1 Corsi Percentage, 55.2 average goals-for percentage, and a 58.7 expected goals-for percentage. If you don’t know what this means, let me help you with it. Playing McNabb and Theodore on the same pairing is amazing.
The second pairing is going to be good next year for the Golden Knights. We should be expecting Jon Merill and Nate Schmidt. During the last half of the season, Merrill’s numbers improved. Schmidt is probably the Golden Knights’ best defender. He just didn’t click with Engelland as well as they would have hoped. If Merrill can perform at a top-four level this pairing could be beastly.
The third pairing could be much more difficult than we expect. It could consist of a number of rookies for the Golden Knights. Between Jimmy Schuldt, Nic Hague, and Zach Whitecloud there is already a position battle to see who will get the last defensive spot on the Golden Knights roster. Whoever does win the rookie position battle they will most likely play with Nick Holden.
The two goalies for this team are clear and obvious. The starter will be Marc-Andre Fleury and the backup will be Malcolm Subban.
Jonathan Oderon is a contributor for Overtime Heroics. You can follow him on twitter @oderon_jonathan.
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