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Knights goaltender week-to-week with injury; veteran back

Updated February 11, 2023 - 4:13 pm

Adin Hill, in his sixth NHL season, is excited to be on a team with real playoff aspirations for the first time.

The goaltender is now going to have a large say in whether the Golden Knights stay in the hunt.

Hill will have an increased role for the foreseeable future after the Knights announced Saturday that rookie goaltender Logan Thompson is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Thompson was hurt Thursday in the third period of a 5-1 win in Minnesota.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said he’s not sure when Thompson will return but does expect him back this season. That leaves the Knights’ net in the hands of Hill and veteran Laurent Brossoit, who was called up Saturday.

Cassidy said he wasn’t sure how he would divide playing time between the two. He hasn’t had many chances to watch Brossoit, who has spent almost all of this year in the American Hockey League after recovering from offseason hip surgery.

“Hopefully, (Thompson’s) a quick healer,” Cassidy said. “In the meantime, the good news is Hilly’s been playing well, so we’re not throwing in a guy there that’s lacking confidence. And LB’s been an NHL goalie. We’re not pulling up some kid that’s never played.”

Losing Thompson, whom center Jack Eichel called “the backbone of our group” Thursday, is a major blow to the Knights.

The 25-year-old was named an All-Star in his first full NHL season. He ran with the opportunity he was given after the team announced goaltender Robin Lehner would miss the season to have surgery on both hips.

Thompson is 20-13-3 with a .914 save percentage, a figure well above the league’s .906 average. He got injured Thursday moving to his left in his crease. Thompson grabbed his left leg before being attended to by a trainer and helped off the ice.

“LT’s done really well,” Brossoit said. “He’s been the rock that this team needed with me and (Lehner) battling through some stuff. He’s been great, and I feel for him.”

Hill is 11-5-1 with a .911 save percentage. He’s been especially strong since the nadir of his season, the Knights’ 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim on Dec. 28. Hill only lasted 12:26 in that game before being pulled for allowing two early goals. The 26-year-old has a .934 save percentage in seven appearances since then.

Cassidy said he has liked Hill’s composure lately and his decision-making when it comes to playing the puck. His challenge will be maintaining that run in a larger role.

“I’m going to approach it the same way I have been all year,” Hill said. “Prepare the same way, do the same things off the ice. Nothing changes. Just maybe I play a bit more minutes.”

For Brossoit, this opportunity to be back in the NHL has been a long time coming.

His teammates recognized that by giving him stick taps at the beginning on Saturday’s practice. The 29-year-old has spent most of this season building his game back up with the Silver Knights after having surgery to fix an issue he said he’d been managing since junior hockey.

Brossoit was 8-11-3 in the AHL with a .909 save percentage. More important than the stats was how he felt. He said there are parts of his body he has “access to” that he didn’t before. That’s improved his mobility in the crease.

Brossoit, who is 42-41-8 with a .905 save percentage in his NHL career, wants to test his new self out.

“I’m really happy with the added potential that I think the surgery’s given me,” Brossoit said. “I’m just hoping that I can see that through.”

This stretch should be a good test for the goaltenders, who are both unrestricted free agents at the end of the year.

The Knights will also look to make their lives easy. Their defensive game has been sharp lately, and they’re up to first in fewest high-danger chances allowed per 60 minutes, according to the website Natural Stat Trick.

Keeping that up would go a long way toward keeping the Knights in first in the Pacific Division with their No. 1 netminder out.

“I feel like our D-men have done a really good job tightening up in front,” Hill said. “Any rebounds or any traffic, they’ve done a good job clearing.”

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

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