Are The Golden Knights Capable Of Winning A Stanley Cup With Robin Lehner?
We’re about a month away (maybe more) from seeing Jack Eichel in a Golden Knights uniform. Eichel is supposed to be the final piece towards hoisting a Stanley Cup. On paper, Vegas has a dominant player (or two) in every area. The potential Achilles heel is something nobody is talking about. Are we sure the Knights can lift the cup with Robin Lehner in net? It’s time to start asking that question.
I watch the Knights a lot. In fact, there is nobody that I probably watch more with the lone exception being Carolina. I’ve learned to trust my eyes over the years. Lehner might look like a huge overpowering Viking in net capable of stoping anything. That’s not really how it ever transpires each night on the ice. The NHL is FAST and Lehner stands out like a sore thumb because he’s painfully slow.
It’s great that Lehner is 6-foot-4, 240. He’s agile and is capable of covering every spot in the crease. The man is just slow. Lehner allows a lot of cookies because he’s not able to get from point A to point B in time. You can bookmark him to allow at least one easy money goal every single night. At least one that would be saved by almost any other goalie on the planet.
The Knights starting netminder leads the league in goals allowed (70 in 24 starts). Keep in mind, he’s playing behind arguably the best defensive unit in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury has fallen off a cliff in Chicago and he was the Vezina winner with Vegas last year. Alec Martinez led the league in blocked shots last year. Now, he hasn’t been healthy really this year. However, you’re still working with Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Zach Whitecloud, and Nicholas Hague in front of you. Mark Stone is also unreal as a two-way player.
I know Lehner is big and takes up a lot of space. I’m just not sure he’s actually good. The .905 SV% and 3.03 GAA isn’t good enough with the team he has in front of him. There really isn’t an excuse because Laurent Brossoit has outperformed him on the season.
Lehner: QS% .417, GSAA -4.6
Brossoit: QS% .625, GSAA -1.9
Look, you gotta give me better numbers than the guy who sat around in Winnipeg fetching Connor Hellebuyck coffees. Vegas shouldn’t be in a position where they need to contemplate giving Brossoit an extended look or even a full blown timeshare.
This Vegas team is too talented to let shaky goaltending get in the way of a Cup winner. Vegas ranks 25th in save percentage on the season and still have found a way to lead the Pacific Division through 32 games. They have not put their best foot forward nor have we seen the fully healthy version of them.
It’s a shame because I like Robin Lehner. He’s my type of crazy and has a lot of truth serum for the NHL in general. Lehner speaks openly about his mental health which makes him very likable. He was also a big proponent of Jack Eichel choosing his own medical procedure prior to the trade. Right now there is just no other way to slice it. Lehner is a liability. Let’s hope that changes come playoff time. I just don’t know if the issue is solvable. We sure Tuuka Rask wouldn’t consider a two month vacation in Vegas?