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Insider's Notebook: Plot Thickens In Camp As Roster Cuts Continue

George McPhee must submit his final roster on October 3.

by Gary Lawless @GoldenKnights /

Dress rehearsal: The Golden Knights will take to the ice today for the first time at T-Mobile Arena hosting the Los Angeles Kings. Head coach Gerard Gallant will ice a mostly veteran NHL team. The Kings, having just returned from a pre-season series in China against the Vancouver Canucks will be far more inexperienced. Expect a big crowd at T-Mobile as Vegas gets to see its hockey team on its home ice for the first time. It's only pre-season but it still has historical import. The official home opener is Oct. 10th against the Arizona Coyotes.

Big line: Once again center Vadim Shipachyov will skate between wingers Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault. Gallant is hoping this trio gels and can enter the regular season as his top unit.

Neal's wheels: Veteran sniper James Neal skated with the Golden Knights for the first time on Tuesday taking part in the pre-game morning skate. Neal looked great and was flying around. Gallant was asked after the session if he expects to have his big goal man ready for the season opener in Dallas on Oct. 6 and wouldn't rule it out the possibility.

No. 2 center: Neal, whether it's for the opener or down the road a bit, will likely start on the second line once he's healthy. Maybe David Perron slots in on the other side. Who is in the middle on the second line remains a battle in camp. Cody Eakin, Oscar Lindberg, Erik Haula and William Karlsson are still in consideration.

Ruffling the roster: The Golden Knights have gone from a training camp list of players and become a roster which is very close to resembling a hockey team.

GM George McPhee has re-assigned nine players; sending Jake Leschyshyn to the WHL's Regina Pats as well as Chris Casto, Tyler Wong, Keegan Kolesar, Jake Bischoff, Oscar Dansk, Maxime Legace, TJ Tynan and Paul Thompson to the AHL's Chicago Wolves.

Tynan and Thompson cleared waivers Tuesday morning.

The Golden Knights now have 31 players in camp and must get down to 23 plus injuries by October 3rd.

Vegas has 18 forwards, 11 defensemen and two goalies in camp. McPhee will likely trim five forwards to get to 13 and three D to get to eight which along with two goalies gets him to a roster of 23.

Neal remains in a non-contact jersey and McPhee hasn't set a timetable for his return. If he begins the season on the IR, the Golden Knights will only need to reduce the number of forwards by four to begin the season.

Tomas Hyka and Alex Tuch do not require waivers to be re-assigned to the AHL but both have made a case to begin the season in Vegas. The next three preseason games are huge for both players.

On the blueline, only Shea Theodore is waiver exempt. Free agent signing Brad Hunt leads the team in points so far and would almost certainly be lost to the club were they to put him on waivers.

If McPhee keeps Hunt to begin the season, at least two NHL veterans on one-way deals would have to placed on waivers with the intent of assigning them to the AHL's Wolves.

Add Theodore to the NHL roster and the number of one-way blueline contracts heading to Chicago rises to three.

McPhee said earlier in camp he wanted to watch his roster play before considering any trades. The emergence of Hunt, Hyka and Tuch has made the competition compelling. They've put their GM into decision making mode.

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: T-Mobile Arena

Opponent: Los Angeles Kings

Local TV: AT&T Sportsnet (Play by play: Dave Goucher, Color: Shane Hnidy, Rinkside: Gary Lawless)

Radio: Fox Sports Radio 98.9 FM, 1340 AM (Play by play: Dan D'Uva, Guest color: Gary Lawless)

Parking and directions:

The Golden Knights and T-Mobile Arena recommend that you purchase your parking in advance, plan ahead and arrive early. 

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