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Golden Knights Training Camp Storylines

Checking in with Vegas with one week until games restart

by Gary Lawless @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

And now the hockey world holds its breath.

It's a race to get to the bubble for the NHL and the next seven days are paramount for the league's hopes to carry off a 24-team playoff culminating with the presentation of the Stanley Cup.

A week from today, the NHL is scheduled to begin its season restart with an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. The league has scheduled 12 games in three days prior to the qualifying and round robin games which will determine qualifiers and seeding for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The first week of training camps around the NHL returned just two positive tests for Covid-19. Judging from low positive-test returns from the bubbles the NBA and MLS have created for their players, the NHL should be able to keep its players safe and healthy - in terms of Covid-19 - once they are in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. What the test count looks like during the next week is critical. If the positive tests say low, the NHL will be in excellent position to execute on the plan they've set forth. Stay tuned.

Let's take a look at the main storylines to come out of the Golden Knights phase 3 training camp so far.

Goaltending: The only time one has an easy decision to make is when one choice is good and the other is bad. Take the good and move on. But when someone is faced with two good choices, and in this case excellent is the correct modifier, the decision becomes difficult.

Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner have been tremendous in camp for the Golden Knights. Almost unbeatable. Starting goalie selection is the biggest storyline around the NHL right now with as many as 12 teams yet to determine a clear No. 1. Put Vegas in that group. VGK head coach Pete DeBoer has said he's going to keep a "very open mind," on the subject. Don't be surprised if he uses both goalies early on.

Commitment: The Golden Knights arrived at camp in tremendous shape allowing DeBoer to immediately move into game situations. The commitment from the players during the season pause to not only stay in shape but to take their training to higher level certainly puts the Golden Knights on even footing with the rest of the qualifers and may turn out to provide an edge.

Third line: The combination of Nic Roy, Chandler Stephenson and Alex Tuch has looked excellent in camp and potentially could be an x-factor once the playoffs begin. Speed, size, skill and hockey sense all get checked off with this group. They could be a matchup nightmare for the opposition.

Stastny: Veteran center Paul Stastny has been sharp throughout camp. At 34, Stastny doesn't have too many opportunities left to win the Stanley Cup. Centering Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault on the second line, Stastny provides smarts, skill and experience. He's a player to keep an eye on as the tournament opens.

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