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Golden Knights place goaltender Calvin Pickard on waivers, promote newly-acquired Malcolm Subban to backup

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Well. That escalated quickly.

NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When the Vegas Golden Knights claimed goaltender Calvin Pickard from the Colorado Avalanche in June’s expansion draft, it was universally assumed that the 25-year-old would be backing up Marc-Andre Fleury in net for the 2017-18 season.

Well, that assumption was absolutely, totally incorrect.

After claiming former Boston Bruins goaltender Malcolm Subban from the waiver wire Tuesday, the Golden Knights have made the shocking decision to place Pickard on waivers, meaning it will be Subban — not Pickard — backing up Fleury for the season.

Subban, originally selected by the Bruins 24th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has yet to make much of an impact at the NHL level. He’s played just two NHL games, sporting a goals against average of 5.82 and a save percentage of .727. But despite the turbulent start to his NHL career, Subban is ready to make the most of his opportunity with the Golden Knights.

“It's a business, but I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have right now,” Subban said. “I've just got to keep working hard and work as hard as I can to improve my game and be ready. That's all I can do right now.”

The long-term future is still a bit murky for Subban, the 23-year-old younger brother of Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban. But for right now, he’s focused on improving his game for Vegas.

“We've talked a bit. Just right now, working on my game,” he said, regarding his meeting with the organization. “Giving myself the best chance to make the saves, that's what I'm working on right now. Extremely grateful to be here right now.”

When asked about whether or not he’d seen much of Subban’s abilities before the pickup, Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant provided us with this golden nugget:

“I don't pay a whole lot of attention to goaltenders,” he said. “I coach the team, we've got a goaltending coach. If the goalie stops the puck, I'm happy. The goaltending coach will tell me if it was a bad goal or if he looks tired. That's what Dave Prior is for. I just like to shake their hand after the win. I think every coach would say the same thing.”

Danny Webster contributed to this report.