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Knights mailbag: How much would it take to keep Marchessault?

The dog days of summer feel longer when playoff hockey is done in Las Vegas.

Fortunately, there’s still plenty to talk about before the NHL draft comes to The Sphere on June 28-29.

The Golden Knights have tons of decisions to make before free agency opens July 1. Readers had questions about that and many other topics via X and email this week.

Future mailbag queries can be sent to dwebster@reviewjournal.com via email and @DannyWebster21 on X.

Let’s dive in:

@Normj1172: Was starting Adin Hill in Dallas instead of Logan Thompson a mistake?

Danny Webster: It seemed like it at the time.

It was a 2-2 series and both teams still had a shot to win. The Stars may have had more momentum after winning Games 3 and 4 in T-Mobile Arena, but Thompson wasn’t the Knights’ problem in either game.

Coach Bruce Cassidy’s reasoning for the switch was he trusted Hill after his postseason run last year. It also might have been worth seeing if Thompson could handle the pressure in Game 5.

Ultimately, the goalie change wasn’t the reason the Knights lost the series.

Hill was stellar in Games 5-7, posting a .931 save percentage while allowing five goals. The Knights’ offense let him down by only scoring five goals of their own.

The debate about which goalie should have started Game 5 is fun to have. But it wasn’t the difference in the series.

Ed Helinski (@MrEd315): In your opinion, what went wrong with the Golden Knights against Dallas?

DW: There is something to be said about the lack of time this group had together.

Tomas Hertl played just six regular-season games with the Knights and struggled to find his home in the lineup in the playoffs. Captain Mark Stone returned for Game 1 of the playoffs after being out for two months with a lacerated spleen and had to learn to play with new teammates. Trade-deadline acquisition Anthony Mantha couldn’t find his groove and was a healthy scratch by Game 4.

Cassidy kept changing his lines around to see what would work. Things may have been different if the team had more of a chance to build chemistry.

Game 3 is another “what if” from the series. The Knights were outplayed the majority of the game but outshot the Stars 17-13 in the third period and overtime. They could’ve started thinking about the second round if they found the winner instead of Wyatt Johnston.

Dave Lannan (@dave_lannan): How much are the Knights going to give Jonathan Marchessault to stay? And if you can’t keep Marchessault, who of the unrestricted free agents at forward do you keep?

DW: The Knights understand what Marchessault means to the franchise.

They won’t shortchange their franchise leader in goals, assists, points and games played. He’s likely to get a raise from his $5 million cap hit, but exactly how much and for how long is what the sides have to hammer out.

One free agent the Knights could keep is right wing Michael Amadio. The 27-year-old has scored 27 points each of the last two seasons and has strong chemistry with center William Karlsson.

The team’s other three unrestricted free-agent forwards don’t seem like good bets to return.

Hertl’s acquisition seemed to be the writing on the wall for center Chandler Stephenson’s eventual exit. There are internal options who could fill left wing William Carrier’s spot on the fourth line. Mantha being healthy scratched in the playoffs makes a reunion appear unlikely.

Alan Kist: How much longer do the Knights have to keep Robin Lehner on the roster? I thought his contract was up after this year.

DW: Lehner has one season remaining on the five-year, $25 million deal he signed in October 2020.

Signs do not point to Lehner seeing the ice again for the Knights during that contract. He will likely start on long-term injured reserve for the third straight season.

“With respect to Robin, if he’s unable to perform — which could be the case — he would remain on LTIR,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said May 7.

Contact Danny Webster at dwebster@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DannyWebster21 on X.

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