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4 Players Looking For Big Games On Thursday

These players came to training camp fighting for NHL roster spots

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights /

Entering Thursday's game against the Colorado Avalanche, the Golden Knights still have several roster decisions to make.

Or looking at it from the other side of it, there are still several players looking to lock up spots on the team's regular-season roster. Especially with the Golden Knights being a new team, there's no established pecking order in Vegas, which has provided a handful of players better odds at making an NHL roster than they had with their former clubs.

The issue is that there are far more players competing for positions than spots available.

This means there are players who will be fighting tooth and nail to try to secure their place the next four days. George McPhee has until October 3 to submit Vegas' roster to the NHL.

Here are four players who are in Thursday's lineup who'll especially be looking to have strong performances, to try to ensure they'll be part of the group that goes to Dallas for the regular-season opener on October 6.

1. Alex Tuch

 Through both Rookie Camp and preseason, Alex Tuch has been one of the Golden Knights' most consistent performers.

RELATED: Leipsic healthy, hopes to make team

Although at 21 years of age and only six games - all with the Minnesota Wild - of NHL experience, Tuch by no means arrived in Vegas earlier this month with an NHL roster spot sewn up.


Video: VGK@VAN: Tuch tips in a power-play goal to pad lead


To date, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound right wing has had nothing but good games since putting on a Golden Knights jersey. He's both proven he can score, and that he's physically mature enough to win battles along the boards and can contribute, even when he's not scoring.

There are many who assume that Tuch has already earned his way onto the Golden Knights, although the player himself says he's heard nothing so far from general manager George McPhee.

Another strong game by Tuch on Thursday could be the final cherry on top of what he needs to be in the lineup October 6 in Dallas.


Video: Tuch in lineup Thursday, eyes roster spot



2. Brad Hunt

Brad Hunt is leading the Golden Knights in scoring during the preseason.

As in defenseman Brad Hunt.

RELATED: Golden Knights Thursday lineup

As in career minor leaguer Brad Hunt, who's looked like anything but while racking up a goal and five assists in three exhibition games.


Video: VGK@COL: Hunt rips a slap shot top corner


When Hunt was signed in July, many figured he was ticketed for the AHL's Chicago Wolves. But at age 29, he's been so good in camp.

Like really good.

Maybe the best player in camp.

Although still, with only 33 games of NHL experience at a relatively advanced age (by hockey standards), Hunt's fighting the perception of him as a player better suited for the minor leagues.

But if he keeps playing the way he has, it'll be almost impossible to keep Hunt off the roster. Although he can hardly afford a misstep at this point.

RELATED: Golden Knights/Avalanche, 3 keys to the game

ANOTHER good game from Hunt on Thursday would go a long way. And if he has another good game, the questions have to begin to be asked who that was supposed to make the team will get bumped off.

3. Tomas Hyka

Tomas Hyka was a real unknown coming into training camp.

Not unknown as in his abilities being unknown. He was previously drafted by the LA Kings, and was his team's leading scorer in the Czech Republic last season.

So the Golden Knights knew Hyka could play.

But if his game would translate to North America after playing in Europe the past five seasons, was unknown.

Other than Tuesday, Hyka has, however, scored a goal in every game he's played in for Vegas, including Rookie Camp.

RELATED: VGK sign goalie Ferguson

Seriously, take a look.


Video: VGK@ANA: Hyka tips in Reinhart's shot to extend lead


Video: VGK@COL: Hyka buries shot five-hole to finish rush


Video: VGK@VAN: Hyka roofs his second goal of the game


Video: VGK@VAN: Hyka buries Glass' pass for a quick PPG


Video: Hyka opens the scoring for the second straight day


Video: Tomas Hyka scores the first goal in VGK history



4. William Carrier

This is a player who hasn't gotten much attention over the summer.

Yes, Carrier played in 41 games for the Buffalo Sabres last season. But hardly receiving major minutes at the NHL level, Carrier also saw time with the AHL's Rochester Americans last season.


 Video: LAK@VGK: Carrier ties game at 2 with rebound goal


At 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, Carrier's a big body, and his goal on Tuesday vs. LA Kings showed a bit of offensive touch.

Carrier's been on the fence throughout camp, however.

But after being one of the best players on the ice for the Golden Knights on Tuesday, you have to wonder if Carrier plays well again on Thursday, if he doesn't earn himself more time in Vegas to start the season.

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