On February 24th, 2020, the Golden Knights front office made a decision to address their goaltender of the future. That was reiterated last summer, when coach Pete DeBoer “announced” (via actions) Robin Lehner as the postseason starter. A move that shocked fans, media, and the Golden Knights players as well. It was a choice that put the organization in a bit of a conundrum.
DeBoer’s decision to go with Lehner created an unexpected firestorm. Marc-Andre Fleury’s agent and loyal supporter Allan Walsh went to social media and loudly voiced his anger. We all remember what happened from there so we won’t rehash. Looking back, the controversy was avoidable if communication had been more clear.
Based on how this season played out, DeBoer will have to make another tough choice. Let’s face it, he’s in a tough spot. No matter who he names as Game 1 starter some faction of Golden Knights universe will be disappointed. This is why it’s time for the Golden Knights head coach to announce his postseason starting goaltender.
If there’s any concern DeBoer’s net decision will cause another controversy then let it out of the bag now. Once the announcement is made, no matter how it’s taken, it will need time to settle. Doing it now would allow the players to get over their preferences, and solely focus on the postseason, not to mention instilling a level of public confidence for the eventual #1 goalie. But the real reason why now is the right time for DeBoer to publicly announce his starting goaltender is Fleury’s agent.
Say Lehner is named the starting goaltender, we can only assume Walsh will make noise. To combat that, the Golden Knights can get it out of the way now. Let the power agent and other Fleury supporters in the locker room sulk for a few days. It will happen, it’s human nature. Why risk tension in playoffs like last season?
It’s highly unlikely but it’s possible DeBoer hasn’t made up his mind yet. Maybe he needs the final three games to sway his decision. Vegas’ coach might also be planning on continuing with the goalie rotation. If that’s the case, it could be beneficial to announce that to the public. There’s nothing wrong with being more transparent.
Opening up doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a competitive disadvantage,in fact, in this case, it would probably mean a competitive advantage for the Golden Knights.