Golden Knights injury report: Updates on Smith, Thompson, Brossoit, Kolesar and more
Vegas currently has seven players out of commission as the injuries mount.
Note: The injury list has been updated below.
The Vegas Golden Knights have suffered greatly at the hands of the injury bug over the last two seasons, and it continues to rear its head as Vegas progresses through the final stretch of the 2022-23 campaign.
Only five Golden Knights skaters have played all 72 games this year: Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Phil Kessel and Brayden McNabb.
That list will be down to four for Saturday’s game against Edmonton.
Smith suffered an injury late in the second period of Thursday’s 3-2 win against the Flames after taking a hit along the boards. He took one shift in the third period but then headed to the locker room and did not return; Bruce Cassidy does not expect him to be available on Saturday.
But Smith was not the only player unable to finish Thursday’s game (and doubtful to play Saturday), as Logan Thompson missed the final 6:07 due to an undisclosed injury. It was just the latest blow to Vegas’ goalie depth, as the crease has been hit the hardest all year.
In fact, the Golden Knights have sustained so many injuries to goaltenders this season that the club was forced to acquire Jonathan Quick at the deadline.
That safety-net move is looking better and better every day.
The injuries have been so widespread that Vegas has dressed six goalies and started five. When Jiri Patera made his NHL debut on March 12, he became the fifth goaltender to start a game for Vegas this season, which set a franchise record (Vegas had five goalies play in the inaugural campaign, but Dylan Ferguson did not get an actual start).
Despite the growing number of injuries, the Golden Knights have managed to collect more points than every other team in the NHL since the All-Star break, going 16-3-2 in that time. That has been key as the Golden Knights look to maintain their standing in an ever-tightening Pacific Division playoff race.
With Smith and Thompson unlikely to play Saturday, Patera could get recalled from Henderson with Laurent Brossoit not quite ready to return. Patera is 2-0-0 in two career starts.
Here’s a look at the current state of Vegas’ injury list.
Nicolas Roy* — HEALTHY
Roy returned to the lineup Thursday against Calgary after missing 14 games due to an injury suffered Feb. 21 against Chicago. His injury, in part, prompted Vegas to acquire fourth-line center Teddy Blueger at the deadline. Blueger has been a strong fit and has given Cassidy more flexibility with the middle-six.
Roy centered the third line in his first game back, with Stephenson shifting to wing. Roy scored the game-winning goal and played 16:32; he has 12 goals and 26 points in 55 games this season.
Nicolas Roy lights the lamp. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/tDcwhN7QWO— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 24, 2023
*UPDATE: Roy scored game-winning goals in back-to-back games in his first action since Feb. 21. Though he was held without a point Thursday against the Oilers, he has recorded a combined 14 shots in three games since returning to the Vegas lineup.
Reilly Smith — OUT
Smith was injured Thursday night in Calgary after taking a hit along the boards at the end of the second period. He played one shift in the third and then headed to the locker room and did not return.
Here's the injury to Reilly Smith. He did not return to the game. pic.twitter.com/a1MHCMImj5— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) March 24, 2023
Smith was in the midst of a nine-game point streak (4-7—11), one game shy of setting a franchise record. He has been a huge part of Vegas’ recent surge and would be a major loss if this ends up being serious.
Smith has 24 goals and 51 points in 72 games this season; that includes four shorthanded goals (tied for second in the NHL) and four game-winning goals (tied for second on the Golden Knights).
Keegan Kolesar — HEALTHY
Kolesar last appeared in Vegas’ 4-0 win against Carolina on March 11. He was ruled out of the game against St. Louis the following day and listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Kolesar, who has seven goals and 16 points in 64 games this season, is traveling with the team and participated in Tuesday’s morning skate with a non-contact jersey. He was a full participant in Thursday’s morning skate but did not suit up against the Flames. After Thursday’s game, Cassidy said Kolesar is “close” to returning.
UPDATE: Kolesar returned to action Saturday against Edmonton after missing six games. He recorded one shot, one block and five hits in 10:05 skating on the fourth line with Brett Howden and Teddy Blueger.
William Carrier — OUT
Here's the video of the Carrier injury. pic.twitter.com/H6z1AhVitm— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) March 4, 2023
Carrier was in the midst of a career season with 16 goals, nearly doubling his previous career high, as well as 25 points in 56 games. Notably, he leads the Golden Knights in game-winning goals with seven.
Carrier sustained a leg injury on March 3 against New Jersey towards the end of the first period after playing just 5:08. He has missed the last 10 games and is “a ways away” from returning, according to Cassidy.
Mark Stone — OUT
Stone was injured on Jan. 12 against Florida and remains on long-term injured reserve. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan stated during a Jan. 24 broadcast that it was not the same back injury that required surgery over the offseason.
Stone initially was considered week-to-week, and Cassidy stated in late February that Stone could return on the other side of the All-Star break. However, the club released a statement on Feb. 1 that Stone had undergone successful back surgery and would be out indefinitely.
At this point, the Golden Knights are hopeful Stone may be able to return for the playoffs, but there has been no recent update on his status. He has not been ruled out, but there’s no specific timeline on his recovery or potential return.
The Golden Knights have missed Stone greatly, particularly on the power play. In the 29 games he has missed, Vegas has gone 8-for-63 (12.7 percent). Stone has 17 goals and 38 points in 43 games this year.
Shea Theodore* — OUT
*UPDATE: Theodore was injured March 28 in a 7-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. He was not on the bench to start the third period and did not return to the game. Cassidy labeled Theodore as “day-to-day” and confirmed that he did not travel with the club to San Jose, though he did not provide any details about the nature of the injury.
Ben Hutton will take Theodore’s place on the back end March 30 against the Sharks. The Golden Knights recalled right-shot defenseman Brayden Pachal from Henderson for the trip.
Logan Thompson — OUT
Thompson was activated off injured reserve on Tuesday, served as Quick’s backup in Vegas’ 4-3 win against Vancouver that night and then got his first start Thursday in Calgary after missing 18 games. Thompson had not appeared in a game since sustaining a lower-body injury early in the third period of Vegas’ Feb. 9 matchup against Minnesota. At the time, Thompson could not put any weight on his leg and had to be helped off the ice.
He may have re-aggravated that injury Thursday in Calgary.
Thompson earned his 21st win of the season with 37 saves on 39 shots for a .949 save percentage, but he was unable to finish the game.
With 6:07 remaining in the third period, Thompson exited the game, forcing Quick to take his place in a one-goal game. Thompson skated gingerly to the bench before slowly heading to the locker room; it was telling that Vegas’ athletic trainer, Mike Muir, was right behind him.
Cassidy does not expect Thompson to be available for Saturday’s game against Edmonton but otherwise did not have an update on his status following Thursday’s win.
“At the end of the day, let’s hope it’s not related to the previous injury and it’s something that will be short-term, but I don’t know,” Cassidy said.
Thompson is 21-13-3 with a 2.65 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in his first full season in the NHL. He served as the Golden Knights’ representative at this year’s All-Star Game.
Laurent Brossoit — HEALTHY
Brossoit was placed on injured reserve at the end of February, one day after being labeled day-to-day. He remains on injured reserve but is traveling with the team on its current three-game road trip through Western Canada. Brossoit returned to practice over the weekend, something Cassidy referenced in his post-game availability in Calgary, implying that Brossoit is getting closer to returning.
It’s unclear if Brossoit will be able to serve as Quick’s backup Saturday in Edmonton. Originally, Cassidy did not commit to getting all three goalies — Quick, Thompson and Brossoit — in the net on this road trip, nor did he specify what sort of rotation he intended to employ. At this point, Cassidy’s hand has been forced, though the extent of Thompson’s injury is not yet known.
Brossoit only played three games for Vegas this year but was absolutely stellar. All three games went to extra time, and while the second-year Golden Knight only managed a record of 1-0-2, he kept Vegas in all three games and helped the club come away with valuable points. He also made a save-of-the-year-worthy stop on Tyler Seguin in overtime to force a shootout against Dallas.
D-nied!— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) February 26, 2023
LB, we are not worthy.. #VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/7gPVbnI8Y6
UPDATE: Brossoit was between the pipes for Vegas in Saturday’s 4-3 win against the Oilers. He stopped 27 of 30 shots for a .900 save percentage. He let in one soft goal but was otherwise excellent. He is 2-0-2 in four starts this season, with all four games going to extra time. Brossoit’s win made Vegas the first team in NHL history to start four different goalies in four consecutive games and win all four of those games (Brossoit, Thompson, Quick, Patera).
Adin Hill — OUT
Hill first missed a few games in late February after he “took a bump,” as Cassidy put it, in the Golden Knights’ Feb. 18 win against Tampa Bay. Hill played the entire game but missed the following practice and was deemed day-to-day. That paved the way for Brossoit to make his season debut Feb. 21, with Michael Hutchinson getting called up to serve as the backup.
Hill only missed a few games, but Cassidy said at the time that Hill was nursing a lower-body injury. As a result, the club recalled Patera the day after Hill missed practice, indicating that Hill would miss some time. Hill has not returned and has yet to resume skating, which doesn’t bode well for a return in the immediate future.
Hill, acquired last summer from San Jose in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick, is 16-7-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.
The Golden Knights’ impressive 16-3-2 stretch since the All-Star break has helped compensate for the plethora of injuries affecting the roster. But returning to full health (or as close to it as possible) will be critical if Vegas wants to sustain an extended playoff run.
Things didn’t quite go according to plan Thursday in Calgary, as the Golden Knights got Thompson and Roy back but lost Smith and Thompson.
This year’s installment of the Vegas goalie saga continues to deliver plot twists. Needless to say, Cassidy will have his hands full navigating the goalie situation as well as incorporating returning players into the lineup. He has shuffled lines all season and has time to experiment, but there could be a lot of moving parts in the coming weeks.
Smith’s injury, in particular, could throw a wrench in things. The second line of Smith, William Karlsson and Pavel Dorofeyev has been outstanding in recent games, which would make a potential long-term injury to Smith especially costly.
The Golden Knights have 10 games remaining, with nine of those 10 coming against teams fighting to make the postseason. The lone game against a non-playoff team is March 30 against San Jose.
Otherwise, Vegas will face each of the Oilers, Kraken and Wild twice and also will take on the Predators, Kings and Stars.
Points are at a premium at this time of year, and the other Pacific teams have been keeping pace with Vegas. The Golden Knights have 96 points through 72 games, four more than Los Angeles (who has a game in hand) and six more than Edmonton.
But that six-point lead over the third-place Oilers essentially could disappear in the upcoming home-and-home. Plus, if the two clubs split, the Kings will have an opportunity to pull ahead.
Every team has to deal with injuries, but Vegas has done an admirable job overcoming the constant barrage.
“For us, life goes on; it’s Edmonton next,” Cassidy said after Thursday’s win. “Paul Cotter was [a healthy scratch] tonight, [Keegan] Kolesar’s close, [Brossoit] is practicing. ... The next guy’s gotta be ready to go in, and we’ve kind of dealt with that all year.”