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Expansion Draft To Offer Golden Knights Goalies At Discounted Price

A week ago, the Golden Knights’ goalie situation changed. They went from having an aging starter and an unproven backup to having arguably the best goalie tandem in the NHL.

Now, with a pair of goalies both among the top 15 in the league, Vegas is suddenly stacked at a position that was previously considered a potential weak spot.

However, the future is not as clear. Lehner came to the Golden Knights on a contract set to expire on July 1st and he’s seemingly seeking a new long-term contract north of $6 million. Meanwhile, Fleury still has two years left on his deal at $7 million apiece against the cap.

This offseason the Golden Knights will have to make a challenging decision. Up to this point, all the rhetoric from the front office, as well as Lehner himself, makes it appear as though he’s simply here as a rental and will move on to a new team when free agency opens.

He’s on an expiring contract. That will take care of itself. His contract will expire. -McCrimmon

I don’t hope anymore. We’ll see what happens this summer. -Lehner

But, of course, there’s still a postseason to play and depending on Lehner’s influence on it, the tide could change in a hurry. If it does though, it will likely spell the end of Fleury’s time in Vegas as well.

The chances of the Golden Knights retaining Fleury and paying Lehner in free agency remain incredibly slim. Not just because having 15+% of the salary cap tied up in goalies is financially unwise, but the upcoming Expansion Draft offers Vegas an opportunity that makes overspending at the position now foolish.

We don’t participate in the Draft but if you’re a team that has two top goalies and you know you’ve got to give one up, wouldn’t you rather trade that 2nd goalie to us as opposed to losing that goalie for nothing. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

The moment the offseason hits this summer, every team in the NHL not named the Golden Knights will have an eye towards the Expansion Draft in June 2021. The rules that were in effect for Vegas remain for Seattle meaning every team can protect one, and only one, goalie at the Expansion Draft.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Thus, every single team in the NHL has to expose their backup (or their current starter if they prefer their backup long-term) with the risk of losing them for nothing.

That’s where the Golden Knights come in. They’ll be able to offer these teams a place to send their goalies and receive compensation in return. Let’s go back to the Vegas draft. Darcy Kuemper (MIN), Jordan Binnington (STL), Jaroslav Halak (NYI), Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ), Philipp Grubauer (WSH), Anton Khudobin (BOS), Antti Raanta (NYR), and of course, Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) were all left exposed in the 2017 Expansion Draft.

Most of these goalies have switched teams and very few of their old teams received anything in return, In the case of Pittsburgh, they actually gave up something to have Vegas take on Fleury. Don’t expect the same to be the case for Seattle, especially with Vegas lurking on the periphery.

I think we’re going to be very opportunistic with Seattle coming in. We understand the system and we’ll be ready for this next Expansion Draft. Ready to help. We just want to be able to help them help themselves. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Vegas will make the decision on Fleury and Lehner this summer. There’s a way to keep them both, but they almost certainly won’t do it. Then, the attention turns to the Expansion Draft where McPhee and McCrimmon will play the role of the old lady hanging around the slot machines waiting for someone to go on a bad run so she can swoop in and catch the jackpot.

Hopefully, they have better luck than that old lady. Lurking doesn’t work.

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35 Comments

  1. Mark

    Wow, never looked at it this way. You would be incompetent knowing you going to lose your good back up goalie for nothing, trade him and get a quality player or players or draft picks. We can get a good goalie on the open market. We have the picks and talent to get a good goalie. Lehner looks like he’s not interested, his agent must be a tax dummy and cost of living moron. Inexcusable, IMOP. If we lose him, hopefully, he end up playing in Canada or NY. Andrew Cuomo would love to have 13% of his contact and da Blasio would love another 4%. The feds get 39.5 %. Plus other bullshit taxes in NY. Great, 57% of a players contract is confiscated by government. If Lehner is smart, which sounds like he’s a caveman, at least understanding the advantages of staying here, he would for sure stay a Knight. It’s painfully obvious !!!

    • Tom

      Players are paid per game. They are taxed according to where the game is played. 41 home games will be at the NV rate.

      • Ok, still millions over a contract !!

      • Joe

        That’s not true at all Tom.

      • Jonathan

        Imagine if a goaltender lobbied against playing games unless they are at home in Nevada or on the road in Florida, Texas, or Washington (future), the no income tax hockey states lol. “Hey buddy you’re in for the Islanders and Rangers games!” “Uhh… yeah about that, think I got a horrid case of food poisoning, I’m gonna have to sit those two out.”

    • Ron G

      I heard the knights and the Rangers are making a deal believe it or not they’re getting Lundqvist believe me

    • Ron G

      Believe it or not I heard they’re getting ljungquist from the Rangers believe me

  2. DOC Williams

    Thanks Ken … Didn’t know only ONE goalie could be protected in upcoming exp-draft. As far as Lehner, he certainly marches to a different drummer. (and maybe not the KNIGHTS drumline)! As you know, being a not so healthy old man, all I care about is the NEXT four months. (also, that time period just might figure out our goalie thoughts for us)!

  3. Carl

    Don’t knock old ladies hanging out for bad luck runs! My old lady hit $20,000 on the 4th spin of a $10 machine. The guy nearly fell over when he saw!

  4. Mike G

    Great insight Ken. This sentence caught my attention “ If it does though, it will likely spell the end of Fleury’s time in Vegas as well.” Maybe another article detailing how you think that could happen? I’m not sure how you get rid of that contract at 2 yrs/ 7 mil for a goalie you just benched in the playoffs? Like everyone else I am VERY interested to see how this all plays out.
    PS- The Gusev tribute video was awesome! Well done intern….

    • Dean

      I’ve wondered ever since this trade if Fleury may have told the organization he’s retiring after this year. VGK has never been about rental players and it didn’t make since for them to give up so much to get a backup goalie who’s only going to play 6-7 games the rest of the season and then leave. I hope I’m wrong but I think Fleury is walking away from hockey when this season concludes and Lehner was brought in to be the new #1 starting next year (there may even be a verbal agreement in place). We’ll see….but its been something I’m suspicious of ever since this deal was announced.

      • I think so too. I think he wants to try his best to end on a high note – at least get to the Stanley Cup again, and regardless of the outcome, retire. I would not be surprised at all.

      • DOC Williams

        I don’t think so Dean … BUT … I certainly couldn’t rule that out, mainly because of his fathers death. I think that took a lot of flowers desire to play, away!

  5. David Geisme

    Vegas has one of the best teams in hockey, why shouldn’t they have to give up a player?

    • The owner didn’t get a share of the expansion fee.

      • John c

        And they get nothing for Seattle coming and nothing for a player going….so this becomes a chess game without knowing how the other pieces move! Decisions Decisions …..

        Anything can happen but these guys upstairs have been pretty astute thus far and I have confidence they’ll make another good move come summer.

        And if they give Doc what he’s been barking for ….whoa boy what a summer!!

  6. Rob T

    I think this may slow down any other teams offering Lehner a contract as well. The entire FA market will slow down for the next couple of years as teams decide who they want to protect or not. Now that other GMs have an idea how to play the expansion draft better, I think things will get tighter.

  7. Tim

    The Lehner Fleury controversy will go on through the playoffs. Fleury has meant a lot to this organization I don’t see him going anywhere unless he retires. You never know with the death of his father he may want to retire and stay close to his family. The cap as I just read may go up to 88 million if so could they keep both? Right now the main thing is we have both for the playoffs. We’ve got a tough schedule for the rest of the year hopefully we can come out on top of the Pacific division. I trust our front office with the trades for Stephenson, Roy, and Martinez and inserting Whitecloud we’ve been playing a lot better. You know George and Kelly are always looking for that under the radar talent.

  8. vgk alberta

    The cap is going up from $81.5mill to at least $84m all the way up to 88.2m next season. It was just announced today by NHL asst Commish Bill Daly. It will depend on the negotiation with the players’ union as to which figure it reaches. Probable final figure will be at least somewhere in the $85mill range.

    That means that the Vgk can sign Lehner and keep both goalies, and all their team except possibly Paul Stastny. Stastny, who will be 35 years old in Dec, has one year left at $6.5m, and he could easily be replaced by a younger, bigger, faster centerman like Roope Hintz of Dallas.

    of course, the Knights already have Stephenson and Roy and Glass, with Krebs in the pipeline too.

    • The Golden Knights *can* keep both goalies no matter what the cap is, but the decision has to be made on whether they should. The answer is almost certainly no.

      As for moving Stastny, that leaves Stephenson or Glass as the team’s 2nd center. Doesn’t seem like a great plan at all to me.

      • vgk alberta

        Surely you are not suggesting that the Vgk go back to Fleury and a lousy backup like they had this year? They were 24th in goaltending! ….THAT is the reason they traded to get a UFA goalie who is topnotch.

        also, Stephenson is PLUS 19, the best on the team in only 39 games…..he has already shown that he can ably handle a top 6 center role on the Knights. he has already done it when Karlsson was out.

        Plus, Roy is a center who is showing now that he can play with top line guys too

        not to mention that I also suggested that they might acquire a young center like Hintz to get even deeper and stronger and faster.

        • I’m not. If Fleury is not the guy. Re-sign Lehner and trade Fleury.

          The Golden Knights have not had a great backup in any of their 3 years and they have made the playoffs in all 3. Backup goalie is HIGHLY overrated unless you need him to win playoff games (which you are always rooting against)

          • DOC Williams

            I don’t believe TRADING flower is an option at all. He’s not going to go to another team and start all over again! YOU know this! It is SO easy to just say trade trade trade. More to it than meets the eye sometime. (Especially with a older guy in the situation flower is). As for your comment we have not had quality backup & made POs. Maybe, but we wore out flower. Our first season he was fantastic in early PO rounds and then not so good in last couple rounds. I just can’t understand WHAT logical argument you can make against HAVING two quality goalies?????? (unless it’s you usual salary cap stuff)!

      • DOC Williams

        After the season you’ve had with certainty speculation … I don’t think it is certain at all that they won’t keep both goalies!!!!

  9. Fleury is a great guy, no doubt.
    But this is professional sports, which requires that a team use the numbers, not sentimentality.
    The numbers are simple. 35 years old, save percentage around .89 to .90, 14 million over two years.

  10. Ron G

    I heard the knights and the Rangers are making a deal believe it or not they’re getting Lundqvist believe me

  11. TJ

    more numbers——-

    Engelland going on 38

    Stastny going on 35

    Fleury going on 36

    Father Time waits for no one.

    • DOC Williams

      Well, I think: A) – Engelland will retire and stay with Knights in a coaching position! B) – Stastny is a tuff one. I think we need to move him, but what other team would want him based on the same doubts we have? C) – Fleury will make this decision not the team. If he wants to play I think they will honor his contract. (But as someone mentioned the other day, I’m starting to lean toward that he might be retiring)?

  12. Erik d

    Here’s the thing we may get a good trade deal, but that doesn’t mean the contract is any better. Also if we are getting someone it will be either an older goalie like fleury or a young guy who will want Lehner money anyway. Either way neither option is as attractive as lehner. I don’t see us keeping both fleury and lehner unless the cap goes up quite a bit but let’s not pretend this option will get us a top 3 vezina candidate to replace fleury

  13. Business is business, Fleury had a hell of a career but it’s time to move on. Keep Lehner and expose Fleury. Lehrer played for teams in the past with no offense and now he’s got it here in Vegas. Keep moving g forward and don’t look back….

    • Jonathan

      There is no “exposing” Fleury, we don’t expose anyone. Seattle can’t take a player from the Knights, which is what this entire article focuses on. As a result, VGK will have the veritable pick of the litter for backups and could snag one with an RFA type of contract. If you mean keep Lehner and attempt to trade Fleury, yeah maybe but I wouldn’t be shocked if we’d need to throw in something like a pick or agree to cover some of his salary cap hit just to trade him. I think we all knew Fleury was overpaid when the deal was signed, it seemed steep, and we had a lot of cap space but it wasn’t especially bright. I think if it were for even 1 fewer year at the same rate it would have been fine. It’s an issue potentially to have two more years at over $7M.

  14. “We don’t expose anyone?” Business is business and no one is an exception. I already know Seattle can’t draft a Knight but other teams can, and yes Vegas probably would coversome of the cap.

    On the other hand, as most of us know, Pete used a tandem in San Jose with Jones and Dell. It’s to bad McPhee blew out the cap space with the Karlsson and Stone contracts. I would love to see the tandem with Lehner and Fleury. It’s going to be interesting. Remember Lehner is 6 years younger than Fleury. Their GAA’s are similar throughout their careers. McCrimmon is smarter than McPhee, McPhee went on the offensive side and look where it got him, McCrimmon took the D side and Mark my word, the Knight’s will go deep in the postseason…

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