Golden Edge Mailbag: Alex Tuch answers questions with the Golden Edge team

Updated November 13, 2018 - 6:31 pm

Send NHL writer Ben Gotz all your Golden Knights questions and hot takes. Tweet him @BenSGotz or email him at bgotz@reviewjournal.com.

The Golden Knights took the day off Tuesday to get ready for a big run of divisional games following their disappointing four-game road trip. While they get a day to rest though, there’s plenty of restless fans following their 7-10-1 start. Let’s get to it:

“I would also like to see 67 (Max Pacioretty) on line 1.” — Eddie (Twitter)

Breaking up the Knights first line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith would be a drastic move for coach Gerard Gallant, and one he seems uneager to make.

He mixed up the trio out of desperation Sunday in a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, but the line was intact again at Monday’s practice at City National Arena.

Smith hasn’t started the season strong with seven points in 18 games, but replacing him with Pacioretty might not be a good solution. Pacioretty has one goal and one assist this year and needs to produce more to make the Knights’ offseason trade for him, and subsequent contract extension, worth it.

There’s merit to arguing things should be switched up though, because general manager George McPhee and Gallant were unafraid to tinker with the roster and lineup at the beginning of last season. Twenty-two skaters have suited up for the Knights through 18 games when last year the team played its 23rd skater in Game 11.

Players have more established roles now, which makes changes difficult, but what the Knights are doing now isn’t working.

“(Nov. 18) can’t come soon enough.” — Aaron (Twitter)

Defenseman Nate Schmidt is eligible to return from his 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s performance-enhancing substance policy on Nov. 18 against the Edmonton Oilers, and there’s no question the Knights need him.

The team’s blue line needs a jolt, as every defenseman on the team has a negative plus-minus except Brad Hunt (0).

Schmidt will help the Knights push the pace in transition and provide a steady presence in all three zones.

His return also could cause a beneficial lineup shuffle, especially if Gallant decides to reunite him with Brayden McNabb.

McNabb (0 points, minus-5) hasn’t been the same defensive presence he was last season without Schmidt, so bringing back that partnership could give the Knights a true top pair again.

More Golden Knights: Follow online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnightsand @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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