Dylan Ferguson’s whirlwind introduction to professional hockey took another twist on Monday night.
The 19-year-old Kamloops Blazers’ goaltender from Lantzville, B.C. was called up to the Vegas Golden Knights and joined the team in New York in time for an NHL contest against the Rangers on Tuesday.
Already without netminders Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban, both injured, the Golden Knights were forced to turn to Maxime Lagace in net after Oscar Dansk left Monday’s game against the New York Islanders with an injury.
The only other goalie Vegas has under contract is Ferguson, who was drafted by the Dallas Stars in Round 7 of the 2017 NHL Draft and dealt to the Knights in a trade that sent defenceman Marc Methot the other way.
It is safe to assume Vegas brass would rather not ice a 19-year-old goaltender who has not yet found his groove in WHL action in 2017-2018, but Ferguson could conceivably make his NHL debut this week.
Should Lagace, an untested NHL rookie himself, have a shocker or go down with injury, Ferguson is the next man up.
Fleury was concussed on Oct. 15 and is listed as day-to-day. Dansk suffered a lower-body injury on Monday and the timeline for his return is unknown. Subban was hurt on Oct. 22 (lower body) and is likely out for four weeks.
After the Tuesday game in New York, the Golden Knights are slated to play the Bruins in Boston on Thursday, the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday, the Leafs in Toronto on Monday and the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Ferguson started 15 consecutive games for the Blazers in 2016-2017, compiling a record of 9-4-0-2 and a .931 save percentage to put himself on the NHL Draft radar. He finished the season with a.922 save percentage, second-best in Blazers’ franchise history.
But he has struggled at times early in 2017-2018, posting a 4-9 record and .878 save percentage on a Blazers’ team that got off to an 0-9 start.
– Marty Hastings, Kamloops This Week