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Goalie Of The Future A Question That May Be Answered Soon

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There’s a spot that’s been a real point of contention with the fan base that at some point is going to stop hiding in the shadows and actually make its way to the forefront. As much as we don’t want to admit it, Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t going to be the goalie of the Golden Knights forever. Whether age catches up to him in the next few years while under contract or whenever he decides to hang it up for good, the goalie of the future still seems to be somewhat up in the air.

The clear frontrunner is Malcolm Subban. After being claimed off waivers three days before the Golden Knights first ever game, Subban has been on the NHL club ever since firmly entrenched as the backup. However, as a restricted free agent and coming off another year filled with injuries, Subban’s long-term future is not exactly a certainty.

You don’t want to look too far ahead, I like to live in the moment. Right now I just take care of what I can control and that’s having a good offseason and coming into camp next season ready to go. -Malcolm Subban

Subban will be extended a qualifying offer worth $715,000. As a 25-year-old with a few years of NHL experience, he’s eligible for arbitration, which he will likely file for. Backup goalie salaries range widely, but Subban likely won’t be in line for much more than $1 million, if he even reaches that high.

That being said, the Golden Knights will have to make a decision on where they stand with him. At this very moment, Oscar Dansk, who under contract in 19-20 for $675,000 is leading the Chicago Wolves in a Western Conference Final series in the AHL.┬áDansk has taken over the starting spot and has played every playoff game for Rocky Thompson’s Wolves. He hasn’t been amazing, but he’s been good enough to be considered for a job behind Fleury moving forward.

Then there’s Max Lagace, who the Golden Knights have turned to every time they’ve needed an extra goalie at the NHL level. He’s an unrestricted free agent, but will almost certainly not command more than the league minimum.

The group of prospects, Dylan Ferguson, Maxim Zhukov, Jiri Patera, and Jordan Kooy are all still a ways from making their ascent to the NHL level. (According to CapFriendly.com, VGK must sign Zhukov to an entry-level contract by June 1, 2019 or they will forfeit his rights.)

The question of “who will be Vegas’ backup goalie in 2019-20” and “who is the goalie of the future” are two separate questions, but at some point they need to overlap and this offseason may be the beginning of that process.

When Subban was asked about being “the guy” on a team, his answer was non-committal, consistently saying he likes to live in the present, but when asked if he wants to remain in Vegas, he instantly answered, “Yes, of course.”

The options are wide open for the Golden Knights front office, and the cost shouldn’t be prohibitive on any front to retain each of the Golden Knights three options. However, what they decide to do will tell a strong story about what they believe they have in their future.

Subban’s contract isn’t going to be the most noteworthy one this offseason, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important for the organization. A one-year qualifying offer tells a much different story than a multi-year $1.5 million AAV deal.

The franchise has displayed nothing but faith in Subban with its words, but actions always speak louder, and that action is coming fairly soon.

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9 Comments

  1. Mark

    I love Subban, a great talent. It’s a very touchy thing, hard decisions must be made. I have seen Dylan Ferguson’s highlights, I like him very much. I would have to defer to McPhee on this, he is a master at judging talent. Subban saved us when Fluery went down, Lagace stepped up too. It’s a very tough situation. Fluery is our guy until he decides otherwise, that is what we know for sure. Who knows, we may find someone playing in Siberia, you never know. We do need someone who steps up when Fluery retires. Thank God we are a few years away from that. Go Knights !!

  2. Steve Erickson

    Oscar Dansk Is The Future Of Golden Knight Goaltending And Would Do A Great Job Behind Fluery!

  3. Jeff

    Dansk all the way. Given the opportunity and coaching I think he’s the ultimate option.

  4. A Fan

    I hope Dansk is given the spot, let’s see how he works out. Lagace should stay in AHL or let him go. Grab Knight in the draft for the future.

  5. Bent Hermit

    The thing that really bothers me about Subban is that he can’t stay healthy. I don’t see any team in the NHL viewing him as anything more than a backup for that reason. Teams don’t want to have to worry about their backups getting hurt all the time during practice. At this point VGK has to have a NHL quality goalie in the AHL because Subban is not reliable enough to stay healthy.

  6. Joe

    It cracks me up when people complain about Subban not being able to stay healthy when the guy that is carrying a ridiculous cap hit the next three seasons isn’t the picture of health himself.
    Fleury played in way too many games last year, and the results of that can be ugly the next season. You don’t have look back much further than a few years ago when Edmonton actually made the playoffs after turning Cam Talbot into warm goo during the regular season.
    Goalies have a completely different career trajectory. If Subban were a forward, he would just now be entering his prime at his current age. Goalies tend to take a little longer. You can get him at a reasonable cap hit the next few years and start him between 30-35 games per year, and they should. Keeping Fleury around 50 regular season starts is the best way to keep him fresh for the playoffs. It also allows you to give Subban consistent playing time. The times he has gotten hurt are when he isn’t playing or is playing a ton.

    • Bent Hermit

      All the points about Fleury playing to much should only add to the concerns of Subban not being able to stay healthy when all he does is practice. If he can’t stay healthy during practices how is he going to stay healthy playing 30 to 35 games a season.

  7. Willy Andara

    Time to reset on this. Subban can stay at under a million, but that’s it. Trade him if you can, return isn’t important, but he’s got one year left in the org at best. Also let Lagace go, he is what he is at his age, basically an AHL goalie. Open the slot for Dansk and others, let some guys progress. Team needs to stop hoarding assets and let the development pipeline work.

  8. BrkrDave

    A scout once told me that any goaltender in the NHL can stop the first shot, it is what they do with the rebound that separates them. Subban smothers the rebound on what seems like no more than 20% of the shots and is not an NHL goaltender in my view.

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