Who Should The Golden Knights Target To Replace Robin Lehner?
Short term, long term, I’m not sure it really matters. Robin Lehner will miss the entire 2022-23 season following hip surgery. Ever after next season is over, are we sure Vegas can just hand the net back over to Panda? With Lehner’s contract being placed on LTIR and Vegas in serious need of a goalie, who should the Golden Knights think about targeting?
The Golden Knights could just do nothing. Use Lehner’s cap hit in a more creative way. Maybe you beef up the rest of the roster because there is real faith in Logan Thompson. I think there should be. Thompson, in my opinion, deserves the first shot at starter playing time. Laurent Brossoit is already under contract next year. Brossoit stinks but he’s already signed and on the roster.
There are plenty of quality free agents just sitting on the open market. Can I interest you in a Paul Stastny reunion? What about Sonny Milano? There are plenty of names out there. Using Lehner’s money may be the way to go if Thompson is for real. By the way, Nic Hague also needs a new contract. It wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to use those resources by getting that done now.
Of course, that’s playing with fire. Braden Holtby is starting you in the face. Not positive what it costs but that’s a Stanley Cup winning goalie that can more than do the job. Holtby had a nice bounceback year with Dallas notching a .913 SV%. You can do worse. It’s better numbers than Lehner had a year ago.
The other free agent options don’t look great. Andrew Hammond, Jean-Francois Berube, Garret Sparks, Cory Schneider, Michael McNiven, and Adam Huska are the others on the open market. Not exactly names that inspire confidence.
It wouldn’t also be the worst idea to poke around the trade market. The Sharks are tanking and James Reimer could be a very logical target. Reimer did a hell of a job on a really bad Sharks team a year ago. Probably won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. He’s also on an expiring contract so the money comes off the books if you want it to a year from now. It’s worth a thought.
Hypothetically speaking if it’s not Reimer (although that one probably makes the most sense) Semyon Varlamov, John Gibson, Anthony Stolarz, Alex Nedeljkovic, and Anton Khudobin are worth a thought.
The golden goose is also sitting there if Vegas really wants to be creative. How unbelievable would it be if the VGK could scoop Jake Oettinger? The Athletic has some info on how the offer sheet would work. Given the fact that Vegas is without a second round pick via the Jack Eichel trade, it’s worth a look.
While it’s likely that Dallas would just match any offer, it’s been reported teams are contemplating an offer sheet. Given Oettinger’s potential but inconsistent regular season results, maybe it’s not impossible that a team could scoop up his services. With Dallas also in need of retaining Jason Robertson with limited resources, maybe it’s not the worst idea in the world.
This would be a pipe dream scenario but it’s one you have to explore given their new cap freedom. As of right now, I have no idea how they’re even going to get Robertson and Oettinger signed. Dallas has about $11 million in cap space but Robertson is not and should not come cheap. Neither should Oettinger, especially after that playoff run. I’m not sure how many other young netminders you would rather start a team with. Oettinger is in that conversation.
Time will tell what Kelly McCrimmon will do. It’s also no guarantee it will be the right one based on his track record. The good news is hopefully the hiring of Bruce Cassidy will be enough to fix the team defense which is what really matters.