The Golden Knights roster has gone through a lot of changes in the past few weeks and with the Feb. 25 trade deadline looming, more adjustments could be on the way. Let’s get to it:
“(Center Cody) Eakin played his best this year on line 2 when (center Paul) Stastny was out.” — Paul Gary (email)
It’s true, Eakin hasn’t been as productive since Stastny’s return from a lower-body injury Dec. 14 bumped him to the third line. But Saturday’s game against Columbus showed there might be a way to get him scoring again.
Eakin totaled 14 points in 18 games on the second line with Stastny out. That’s half of his season points total entering Tuesday, which shows the difficulty he’s had producing since returning to the third line.
That led coach Gerard Gallant to try something new Saturday against the Blue Jackets. He rotated Eakin with fourth line forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Reaves and William Carrier in the third period to form a modified “bottom six.”
The change led to Eakin’s second goal since Jan. 8, as Bellemare set him up for a one-timer in transition. The play showed the two centers may work well together, but Gallant didn’t commit to partnering them more after the game.
“We will see, I don’t know,” Gallant said Saturday. “I mean it worked well tonight, they played pretty hard together.”
“(William) Carrier is back, here come the hits. He is so vital to how (the Knights) want to play.” — @CoreyOrmsby
Carrier is an important player for the Knights, despite averaging the least amount of ice time (9:56 per game) among active players.
The 24-year-old brings a physical presence as the NHL’s hits leader (227) and he’s subtly improved other aspects of his game. The winger is averaging a career-high 2.67 shot attempts and 0.57 takeaways per game.
His expected plus-minus — a stat created by Hockey-Reference.com that calculates a player’s projected plus-minus based on shot data — of plus-7.9 is third-best on the team.
“I know the role I want to bring on the ice,” Carrier said. “They’re expecting me to be out there and do the same thing night after night.”
“How long has (defenseman Jake) Bischoff been called up?” – @t9411f (Twitter)
Bischoff was brought up Jan. 30. Since then, the 24-year-old has been a healthy scratch five times entering Tuesday while waiting to make his NHL debut.
He’s been a healthy scratch 13 times total this season.