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Golden Knights recall Valentin Zykov from AHL Chicago, expected to play Tuesday

That’s an unexpected one.

Boston Bruins v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights have recalled forward Valentin Zykov from Chicago of the American Hockey League to fill the roster opening left by the injured Cody Glass, the team announced on Monday.

The Golden Knights were down to 11 forwards when Glass, the team’s first ever draft pick in 2017, sustained an upper-body injury Sunday when New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux elbowed Glass along the corner in the second period.

Vegas lost 5-0 to the Rangers at home, ending their five-game point streak. Glass will not play Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, and his status going forward is unknown as of Monday, coach Gerard Gallant said.

As a result, Vegas has decided to call up Zykov, who was suspended for 20 games Oct. 17 for violating the NHL/NHLPA substance program. His last game was Oct. 15. Zykov, who was claimed last season off waivers, has two points in seven games. With the decision to not go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, it appears likely that Zykov will slide into the lineup Tuesday against the Blackhawks.

Zykov was reassigned to the Wolves upon completing his suspension. He had four points (one goal, three assists) in five games for Chicago.

The decision to call up Zykov comes with some questions. The Golden Knights said Zykov knowingly used a supplement and the club respected the league’s decision. President of hockey operations George McPhee said Vegas did not find out about the violation until the day before the suspension was announced, and that Zykov had been taking whatever he had been taking for the past four years.

It was a much different tune from the organization when Zykov was suspended, compared to when Nate Schmidt served the same punishment at the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

As for what this means on the ice, the Golden Knights are hoping Zykov’s scoring in the AHL can translate to the bottom six. Newly-acquired Chandler Stephenson is expected to move up to the second line with Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, while Paul Stastny could drop to the third line with William Carrier and Alex Tuch. Cody Eakin remains week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

That leaves Tomas Nosek centering a fourth line with Zykov and Ryan Reaves.

Vegas decided to not recall Nicolas Roy, who has eight points in 14 games with the Wolves and has had a familiarity in playing center on the Golden Knights’ bottom six. But it appears Vegas needs wingers instead of centers, thus the approach here.

No matter how you slice it, it’s a questionable move both on and off the ice. The Golden Knights feel a second chance is in order, and it’ll be up to Zykov to make the most of it.