Golden Knights Report Cards: Goalies

Golden Knights Goaltending, Malcolm Subban, Marc-Andre Fleury, Maxime Lagace, NHL Goaltending

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With the Vegas Golden Knights’ forward group and defense corps graded and less than three months until the puck drops for the 2019-20 season, it’s time to look at the Golden Knights’ final position group – goalies. Three goaltenders saw action for Vegas in 2018-19: Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, and Maxime Lagace. Here’s how the Golden Knights’ goaltending trio fared last season.

Marc-Andre Fleury

Once again, Marc-Andre Fleury bore the brunt of the Golden Knights’ goaltending responsibilities, playing 61 regular-season games and all of Vegas’ seven playoff games. Fleury posted a 35-21-5 record on the season, saving 1,593 of the 1,745 shots that came his way.

Despite a slightly higher goals-against average (GAA) and lower save percentage (SV%) than last year – 2.51 compared to 2.24 and .913 compared to .927, respectively – Fleury showed that he’s not slowing down after 15 NHL seasons. Fleury also recorded his second-highest shutout total in 2018-19 with 8.

Marc-Andre Fleury Kevin Labanc
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury snags the puck as San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc watches. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Although the Golden Knights were eliminated in the first round of the 2018-19 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Fleury still posted some of his better postseason numbers. In seven games, Fleury ended up with a 2.70 GAA, .909 SV%, and a shutout.

Unfortunately, in two out of three chances to eliminate the San Jose Sharks, Game 5 and Game 7, Fleury ceded four and five goals against, respectively. Despite that fact, Fleury’s consistent play and solid numbers are a big reason for the Golden Knights’ continued success in their sophomore season.

Malcolm Subban

Malcolm Subban carried close to the same amount of netminding burden in 2018-19 as he did in 2017-18, playing 22 games and 21 games, respectively. However, Subban’s stats trended downward this season as he dropped from a 13-4-2 record in 2017-18 to an 8-10-2 record in 2018-19.

Malcolm Subban Golden Knights
Vegas Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban (Credit Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Still, despite that drop, Subban did post a respectable 2.93 GAA and .902 SV%. Although not stellar, Subban did his part and seems to have solidified himself as a capable backup for Fleury. With the departure of number three goalie, Maxime Lagace, this seems, even more, the case.

The 2019-20 season will be a good indicator of whether the Golden Knights trust Subban moving forward by having him shoulder more of a workload. Or perhaps one of Vegas’ prospects with the Chicago Wolves, their AHL affiliate, will burst onto the scene.

Maxime Lagace

Maxime Lagace had little impact for the Golden Knights during the 2018-19 season. After backstopping the Golden Knights in 16 games during the 2017-18 season, he saw action in just one NHL game in 2018-19, spending most of the season with the Chicago Wolves.

However, Lagace did make history in 2018-19, becoming the only goalie to score a goal in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs. He is off to the Boston Bruins now, so it’ll be interesting to see if he takes on a bigger role with them.

Final Grade

Overall, the Golden Knights’ goalies get a B+ for the 2018-19 season. Vegas benefitted greatly from Fleury’s consistently solid play all season; however, his inability to lock things down in postseason elimination situations plus the Golden Knights’ lack of a de facto backup are what brings their grade down.

Fleury shows no signs of slowing, but the Golden Knights are in need of a solid number two goalie whether it be Subban or an up-and-coming prospect in 2019-20.

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