Golden Knights New Head Coach Bruce Cassidy Plans to Experiment During Camp

Training camp is right around the corner, and so is the 2022-2023 season, which kicks off in October. For the Vegas Golden Knights, they will have a new bench boss this season, with former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy now at the helm. With a new coach comes a new style of play and new ideas regarding a roster and the lines the coach rolls out on a nightly basis.

The Knights’ front office has been active in August while their new coach adjusts to the city, settling in with his family. Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon has been fine-tuning a roster that has seen its fair share of injuries as he tries to provide Cassidy with the best possible options this upcoming season. The Knights have re-signed four restricted free agents, signed right wing Phil Kessel, and traded for goaltender Adin Hill after announcing that goaltender Robin Lehner is expected to miss the season because of double hip surgery.

Cassidy has his hands full as this gives him plenty to sort out before the first full day of on-ice workouts, which will take place on Sept. 22.

Will Cassidy Juggle the Lines?

Cassidy mentioned that he would have an open mind regarding the lines early on as he experiments with different matchups looking for the best balance and fits.

“We are going to experiment,” said Cassidy, who previously indicated the “Misfit line” of left wing Jonathan Marchessault, center William Karlsson and right wing Reilly Smith might start camp apart. “There will be moving some pieces around a little bit.”

It’s Phil the Thrill Time in Vegas

The one significant addition up front for the Knights was the one-year $1.5 million deal they handed out to veteran winger Phil Kessel. The 34-year-old brings instant scoring to this team as he has 399 career goals and 956 points in 1,204 games. Kessel will provide scoring on all fronts as his offensive output will come at five on five and the power play.

Where Cassidy decides to place Kessel will be intriguing as he has options where to place him. Kessel can help out either the top power-play unit with Jack Eichel or be a primary weapon on the second unit.

“Either way he’s going to help us,” Cassidy said. “It’s nice to have some options on the power play so we can give some teams a different look.”

How Will the Goalie Situation Shake Out?

The Knights looked to have a goalie problem on their hand after losing Robin Lehner for the season and having Laurent Brossoit sidelined as he recovers from off-season hip surgery. But with the addition of Adin Hill, the job is anyone’s for the taking if they have a strong camp.

The 26-year-old Hill joins a goaltending group that includes promising 25-year-old rookie Logan Thompson and 29-year-old backup Laurent Brossoit. Cassidy said the opening-night gig is likely Thompson’s “job to lose” because he ended last season as the starter.

“They’ve all got NHL experience, but I don’t know if they’ve ever been a true No. 1,” Cassidy said. “I’ve always said internal competition, it can really drive your team as long as they all take it in the right way.”

The Knights will look to make it back to the playoffs after falling just short last year. Staying healthy will be their number one goal as a healthy Vegas squad is full of star power, especially up front with Mark Stone and Jack Eichel. If the top line can produce and Phil Kessel produces secondary scoring along with others up and down the lineup, look for Vegas to make a legitimate run just like they’ve done in almost every season since joining the league.

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Kevin Santangelo

Co Host of Cue' the Duck Boats Podcast Writer for Inside the Rink

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