When goalie Laurent Brossoit signed with the Golden Knights as a free agent last offseason, one of the selling points was an opportunity to earn more playing time than he had in his previous NHL stops.
And then Robin Lehner carried the load early in an effort to keep the Knights in the Pacific Division race and the plan went by the wayside.
But with a packed schedule before the Christmas break and the need to keep Lehner fresh, Brossoit could be in line for more work starting Friday when the struggling Philadelphia Flyers, who have lost 10 straight, visit T-Mobile Arena.
“I’ve always wanted to be more involved. I was in Winnipeg and sat behind a guy who liked to play 80 percent of the games,” Brossoit said. “I feel good right now. I’ve never felt better. I’m continuing to get better. If they deem me deserving of putting me in the net, then I’ll just make sure I’m ready for it.”
Brossoit got the victory in relief Wednesday when the Knights rallied from two two-goal deficits to beat Dallas and has appeared in seven games with five starts. His career high is 21 games and 19 starts in 2018-19 for Winnipeg when he backed up Connor Hellebuyck.
The Knights play eight games in 14 days, including a back-to-back next week at New Jersey and the New York Rangers.
While Lehner has hit a small slump, with losses in three of his past five decisions and an .873 save percentage since Nov. 22, Brossoit has won four straight and owns a .921 save percentage overall.
“There’s going to be more opportunities for him,” coach Pete DeBoer said of Brossoit. “I think the circumstances of how our summer went and we started the season, it didn’t set the table for us to get him in as much as we wanted to early. I think we’re there now, and we’re going to use both guys more.”
Brossoit, 28, grew up in British Columbia, and while his first name and surname are French, he said he hardly speaks the language.
“I’ve got three siblings, and we all have some crazy names,” Brossoit said. “I don’t know where my mom’s head was at, but she likes to mix it up.”
Brossoit started playing hockey at age 10 and followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and three uncles who all were goalies. His flexibility was inherited from his mom, a former dancer, and Brossoit joked he was built for goaltending.
After being drafted by Calgary in the sixth round in 2011, Brossoit’s rights were traded to Edmonton in 2013, and he showed promise in the American Hockey League while being groomed for a backup role in the NHL.
During the 2016-17 season, Brossoit posted a 1.99 goals-against average and .928 save percentage during an eight-game audition with the Oilers.
But he struggled the following season, and the Oilers acquired two goalies before Brossoit was placed on waivers at midseason. He left as a free agent that summer, signing with Winnipeg in 2018.
“I just didn’t have as good of an idea as what were the things that make me play consistently well,” Brossoit said. “It was little bit of growing up to do, but I think that kick-started that process in terms of maturity.”
Brossoit spent three seasons with the Jets, addressing his weaknesses and changing his lifestyle habits off the ice. Last season, he had a 2.42 GAA and .918 save percentage, and the Knights gave him a two-year, $4.65 million contract in free agency.
While Lehner remains the clear No. 1, Brossoit’s goal is to push the incumbent starter for more playing time.
“I’ve found ways to feel good even with not playing. But it definitely wasn’t a quick process, nor do I want it to continue to be that way,” Brossoit said. “I don’t have dreams of being the best backup goalie in the league. But it is what it is, and I’m hoping to play more as my career goes.”
Who: Golden Knights vs. Flyers
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: T-Mobile Arena
TV: AT&T SportsNet (Cox 313/1313, DirecTV 684, CenturyLink 760/1760, U-verse 757/1757)
Radio: KKGK (98.9 FM, 1340 AM)
Line: Knights -220; total 5½