Shea Theodore got a new defensive partner as he was paired with Alec Martinez on the Golden Knights’ second unit Wednesday night.
Coach Pete DeBoer cautioned against reading too much into the shake-up.
“I’m still getting to know the group,” DeBoer said before the game. “So there’s some experimentation, especially with new guys like Alec.
“You’re going to see a lot of different combinations based on the night, who’s going, what’s working. That versatility is a great luxury for a coach to have. We have lots of options. I’m not married to anything, and I don’t want to get into the playoffs and start experimenting. We want to see what we have here right now.”
Martinez, who played his fourth game since he was traded to the Knights, was excited about the opportunity to play with one of the team’s young stars.
“First and foremost, he’s an incredibly talented player,” Martinez said. “If you can’t play with a guy like that, it’s probably on you. I know he’s offensive-minded and strong defensively.
“Tremendous skater, too. We were skating together this morning just talking about it. It’s going to be fun.”
Learning to play with new teammates is just a part of the acclimation process for Martinez, who had spent his entire career in the Kings organization.
One of the best parts of playing in Las Vegas has been the relative lack of traffic.
“I never really understood the ‘Everything in Las Vegas is 15 minutes or less’ thing,” he laughed. “That’s obviously been pretty great. Going down to games and not having to plan for an hour trip is kinda nice.”
DeBoer announced Dave Prior will step away as the day-to-day goaltending coach and be replaced by Mike Rosati.
Rosati has been with the organization as the goaltending development coach and is already familiar with Marc-Andre Fleury. Since he has spent much of that time with the team’s AHL affiliate in Chicago, DeBoer said Rosati has also been able to familiarize himself with new goaltender Robin Lehner, who was playing for the Blackhawks.
“Mike’s a young guy,” DeBoer said. “I don’t know him real well, but his reputation precedes him. I think he’s a teacher, he’s worked under Dave for three years and the timing of this with bringing in Robin and having a chance to really start fresh here works well. I’m excited to get him on board here.”
DeBoer said the move was not health related. Prior, who has been with the Knights as the director of goaltending since the organization’s inception, suffered a heart attack during the inaugural season.
“Dave is still part of the organization,” DeBoer said. “His role has always been bigger than a day-to-day coaching job. He’s going to base out of Ontario and continue to support us that way.”
Forward Nick Cousins made his Golden Knights debut Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers and scored for a 2-0 lead in the third period.
He started at left wing on the third line, alongside Chandler Stephenson and Nicolas Roy.
“(He) may be a little jet lagged, but (he’s) in the lineup,” DeBoer said. “He’s a versatile guy. That’s the beauty of him. When I went back and looked at Montreal’s usage, they used him first line to fourth line, center, both wings, power play. You’ll probably see him in a lot of different roles here going forward.”
Cousins, 26, had 22 points in 58 games this season with the Canadiens.