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Offseason’s “First Order Of Business” Is Between The Pipes

The weirdest season ever is over which means the weirdest offseason ever has now begun. According to the Golden Knights’ GM, the issue on the top of mind for every fan is the same as the front office.

We don’t have those answers for you right now but the first order of business in many respects is to sort (the goalie position) out. -Kelly McCrimmon

The future appears to be heading in the direction of Robin Lehner. From being handed the starting role to the Allan Walsh tweet to the reported long-term contract negotiations with Lehner, all signs point to a parting of ways with Fleury.

No one has more respect for Flower as a person or a teammate or his resume and what he’s done for this franchise and through his career but we made the decisions that gave us the best opportunity to win and we’re going to do that again going forward. -Pete DeBoer

Both Lehner and McCrimmon have denied the rumors of a handshake agreement on a 5-year $25 million ($5M AAV) contract.

It’s not true. Nothing is finalized. It’s kind of annoying that we are here in the conference final and people are saying things they don’t know. If it would have been finalized it would have been finalized. -Lehner on 9/11/20

The goalie situation will be the driving force behind all of what the Golden Knights do this offseason.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If they decide to go with Lehner only, where does Fleury end up and what are the cap ramifications that go with it?

If they decide to keep both, where will they trim to make it work?

Can they go back to Fleury after all that’s happened? Does Fleury even want that?

They are all questions that will be answered quickly as the offseason truly ramps up in just a few weeks. The Draft is scheduled for October 6th and 7th and unrestricted free agency opens up two days later on the 9th. The Golden Knights will likely reveal their answers before the latter.

The NHL’s salary cap is set to remain at $81.5 million heading into next season and is likely to stay there for at least one more year after that. That makes life a little more difficult on the Golden Knights as they were pushing (actually went over) the Cap in 2019-20.

There are decisions to be made on plenty of free agents, both restricted and unrestricted, but the offseason starts and ends with what shakes out in goal. It will shape the present and future of the organization and until it’s figured out, not much else really matters.

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70 Comments

  1. The Noodle King

    Why not look seriously to keep them both. 20-21 season will most likely be compressed —no bye week, no All Star week off, more back-to-backs, etc. Having 2 “elite” goalies could be a huge advantage next season. Get Glass in, move out an aging $6+ million AAV center instead. Maybe…. 😉

    GO KNIGHTS GO !!

    • Julie

      I think McCrimmon agrees with you. In another article, he put the decision to use Lehner squarely on PDB saying “that’s his job”. But he also expressed a possibility to have 2 good goalies for what looks like a compressed season.

    • Hasan Zia

      You could get get a cheaper back up to split games 60-40 while spending the money to improve the roster. Hopefully Glass can step up and push Statsny to the 3rd line

    • What a joke PDB quote we gave ourselves the greatest opportunity to win in reference to Lehner – had he faced the shots the opposition faced his stat would be in the eightys. The most truthful quote that came from anyone was from SheaT anything other than winning is failure . The balance of what else has been said basically bordered on BS. If they are basing their future on who played in the bubble this year they in goal forget it they are in serious trouble.

      • Matthew

        I have to completely agree with you. Had RL faced a barrage of shots the Knights would have gone down in the first round. I cringed every time the opposing team entered the zone. It was the aggressiveness of the offense (both the forwards and defensemen) keeping the puck in the opponents zone or getting the puck out quickly that made him look good. Even today I would still have rather had MAF in net, even in the games that RL had shut outs. To me he is a backup goalie that was made to look good by the skaters in front of him.

  2. Muffy Edmison

    Can’t stand the way Fleury was treated through the playoffs! And i know thousands of others that feel the same way! He is our goalie not our backup goalie! He needs respect! This coach didn’t do anything for us! So sad!And Fleury age has nothing to do with it he is in amazing shape better then Lehner! My opinion!

    • THE hockey GOD

      Lehner outplayed him, give it a rest. Shi ite happens. Players cycle into hot and cold steaks. He was treated fairly, anyone who says otherwise is a bit dented. Trying to make something out of nothing here. It’s really a non issue. Every veteran eventually sees it. Deal with it. Stop being a crybaby. Life is a itch, and then you die !

      • Daryl

        I completely disagree with you… I don’t think Lehner outplayed MAF at all. MAF had a stretch after his fathered passed where he looked really bad (for him). It took longer than normal for him to get back in the swing of things. But once he did this team started playing really well. Once the season resumed I didn’t see anything that would suggest Lehner should start over MAF.

        I’m not blaming the loss on Lehner at all, just to clarify. Just saying I didn’t see what Gabe Lehner the start over MAF. Seemed to me it was just a decision made by PDClown

      • Nick

        Couldn’t have put it better myself. At leas there’s a few people that get it!!! Sooo over the crying!!!

      • Hockey God – remarks like you posted here only shows you know nothing. Probably as thick headed as the coach who couldn’t change things when what they were doing wasn’t working. Define outplayed him – you had no comparison so your logic is of no value. Had they rotated like was stated the original plan then maybe you could make such a statement otherwise it is valueless.

      • Chris Doyle

        I would keep Fluery and get a different goalie. Lehner is overweight. Also fire the coach he’s emotionless.

    • Julie

      Muffy, I read a McCrimmon quote that it was never a master plan to put Lehner in as starting goalie in the next season after PDB’s decision to start him in the playoffs, for what that’s worth. PDB only has a 2 yr contract. He says he will keep making decisions to put in the players who will win. Since he he was wrong this season, I would bet some internal conversations are happening if winning is the ultimate goal.
      Everything appears to be in the air, no one here really knows – certainly not those claiming to be gods and doctors. The management won’t talk until deals are signed.

      • Nick

        How the hell was he wrong?! The goalie was not the problem. Scoring goals was. Unreal.

        • Daryl

          We gave up 8 goals in the last 3 games so yeah its is partly the goalie’s fault. VGK shouldn’t have to score 4 goals in order to win. Like I said before, I’m not putting all the blame on Lehner but yeah he gets some of it. He gave up some pretty easy goals as well.

          • Nick

            Oh geez. Now if every goal he let in was able to be saved then that may make a little bit of sense. But there were a couple goals that he had no chance on or he was hung out to dry.

        • Julie

          How was he wrong? Well, he is well known for not adapting to situations. Dallas did. By playing the same strategy, our guys were stifled and made more mistakes.
          We had a 2 goal lead in the last game. Lehner was certainly not the whole problem. However, he simply doesn’t move too much. Last I checked, we lost because we let in more goals than Dallas.

        • Daryl

          He also gave up two VERY soft goals. I don’t expect him to make every stop but there are times when you need your goalie to step up and make huge saves and he wasn’t able to do it. Sounds by your comments, he can do no wrong and no goal given up was his fault

    • norman sunday

      Agree. Hope they send him back to Pens or Canes,

  3. Doc (common sense rules)

    To keep both Panda and MAF just won’t work. Both on the salary cap issue and keeping a player that trashed the coach & embarrassed the team. DeCoach is going nowhere. Deal with it. MAF IS. Deal with it! Common sense not emotional.

    • Daryl

      PDB has a 2yr contract I believe so yeah I would guess he will be around next year. But he is a clown and probably won’t be back the following year especially considering we won’t get past the 1st round. If our conference was any good we probably would t make it to the playoffs

  4. Tim

    Reading different articles the following moves make sense. Stansty goes back to Winnipeg, Fleury goes to Edmonton, Ottawa, Minnesota, Calgary or Carolina. All need goalies so I’m betting on one of them. . Cody Glass becomes our second line center. Like most I feel Fleury got a raw deal it only shows your only as good as your last game as the saying goes. Bill Foley a West Point guy where Honor is everything can’t be to happy with the Fleury situation. We’ve found our George and Kelly are ruthless as they’ve proven time and again. There in the win business so that’s what they get paid for. It will be an interesting October.

    • Daryl

      Thoughts on MAF going to the Devil’s? Can’t remember if we talked about this or if that was on another forum

      • Mike StG

        It’s all going to depend on Fleury’s 10 team no-trade list. It’s thought he would almost certainly want to be on a contender, and if that’s his priority then I don’t see Devils as an option. If playing regularly is more important then NJD could be an option he’d be okay with. CAR makes sense. It would seem likely that Vegas wouldn’t want to send him to a Pacific or WC rival like EDM or CAL.

        • That’s a interesting comment – Vegas wouldn’t want to send him to pacific or WC like Edmonton or Calgary. Not good enough for Vegas but don’t want to face him in games. Sounds to me if he is interested in staying they should figure out a way to make that happen. The entire debacle was started by mgt and PDB so perhaps they should figure out some way to correct it. PDB said no hard feelings but if this lips are moving not sure the truth is coming out. Smart business limits liabilities and l am not sure the road they are considering , if they are considering , is the right direction. Not good enough to play for but scared to play against

          • Mike StG

            Hd- first, I was saying before the round robin that they should try to keep both, but the way things went it’s almost impossible to imagine keeping Fleury now. Vegas wouldn’t be “scared” to play against him, but why would you want to strengthen your biggest playoff rivals? Fleury is a definite upgrade for COL, CAL, EDM, so it would make more sense to trade him to an EC team. The other suggestion I’ve heard is possibly waiving Fleury, which would likely land him on a non-playoff team (since team with worse record has priority).

        • Daryl

          I think CAR would be a perfect spot for him to land and I get your point about wanting to win… I was just looking at how young NJD are and I think they will be a very good team in 2-3 years. Hay might be too far away for MAF to wait as he hasn’t getting any older.

          I live in NC so I would love for him to play for CAR so I could get to watch him play more often.

          • Mike StG

            Daryl – I like the Canes and think MAF would do well with such a great team in front of him. I still wear my Bunch of Jerks tee occasionally, which I bought as soon as they were available after Don Cherry shot off his big mouth about the ‘surge’. Hockey should be fun like that, something I wish would be rekindled in Vegas. They are so hell bent on winning the cup they all seem so overly serious now, and don’t seem to play with the same carefree abandon. Probably a lot of pressure to win coming from above.

    • Nick

      All professional sports are what have you done for me lately. And all GM’s are “ruthless” as you call it. Gonna have to get used to it.

  5. Brent Thomson

    I for one am shocked and appalled at the lack of Valentine Zykov. He is the future of Vegas’ left wing. /s

  6. Doc (common sense rules)

    So as usual people play loose with the facts around here. DeCoach signed a FOUR year contract in January. Not a 2 year as mentioned above. He’s not going anywhere people. Get that through your whiney heads.

    • Julie

      Yes, my bad typing, it’s 4. Thanks for the correction and being so understanding. “More kindness needed”, right?

    • Daryl

      I guess I was wrong also on the contract… I just hope I was right on his length of stay. I do not think he is a very good coach and his record pretty much proves that. And this has nothing to do with SJS, it goes back to the Devil’s and even beyond

  7. Carl

    Time to bring back Shippy. He’s been the missing piece all along and George let him go.

  8. Joseph Biase

    I disagree. The first order of business is for the Vegas Golden Knights to acquire toughness on their defense. Acquiring Joe Finley would be a great start.

    • Doc (common sense rules)

      Agree ….. We may have the least physical Dcrew in the league, especially in clearing the net!

      • Daryl

        Again Doc I’m right there with you on this one

        • That’s a interesting comment – Vegas wouldn’t want to send him to pacific or WC like Edmonton or Calgary. Not good enough for Vegas but don’t want to face him in games. Sounds to me if he is interested in staying they should figure out a way to make that happen. The entire debacle was started by mgt and PDB so perhaps they should figure out some way to correct it. PDB said no hard feelings but if this lips are moving not sure the truth is coming out. Smart business limits liabilities and l am not sure the road they are considering , if they are considering , is the right direction. Not good enough to play for but scared to play against

  9. Tim

    Ken I think the goaltending has been settled for better or worse. What scares me is were on the short list in the hunt for Alex Pietrangelo and that scares me. Not that he’s not good at 30 but looking for 9 million on a long term contract you might as well stick a fork in us. Are they that desperate to win a Cup? The moves I’ve seen then make since year one some good and more then a few bad besides that we give draft choices away like candy. A second for Lehner, a second for Martinez, a first, second, and third for Tatar, Erik B. for Stone, I don’t recall besides Nick S. what we gave for Patch and how much better are we? Would we be better off keeping Perron, Haula, Bellemare, Eikens, Miller, along with Erik B. and Nick S. and the Russian kid we traded to New Jersey. Senior moment can’t think of his name, In three years we’ve brought up three kids Whitecloud and Glass and Hague for a short stay. I’m afraid the harder they try the worse the team will become. I’m betting besides Fleury which is a given others to be traded are McNabb, Stansty, Marshy we wouldn’t lose much and it would open up some cap for a couple of younger players. We need to start getting younger if you want to compete with Vancouver and Colorado for the next 5 years.

  10. Alicia

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned Lehner “fitting” the Vegas role. I mean, yea sure it’s hockey, but to the city and fans, it’s much more than that. The way Lehner pouted and said he didn’t want the marching band and procession to send them off to the bubble, goes to show he is not a good fit for Vegas. Skill is skill – but beyond skill, the athlete needs to embrace the fans, the city, the team. This job was made for Flower. Plain and simple.

    • Doc (common sense rules)

      Wow! So now a player NEEDS to love parades and glitz to be a player for the Knights? That stuff is for the fans, not the players, come on. Panda is all business baby! Love that about him!!!!

      • Lisa

        No need to act so boisterous to get your point across, Doc DeBoer.

      • Daryl

        I don’t completely agree but she did have a point. I know you are a huge fan of Panda in just not so sure he is a good fit

        • Doc (common sense rules)

          I was not a huge fan of Lehner, until, he showed me why I should be … and MAF showed me why I shouldn’t be a huge fan any longer.

      • DOC l have nothing but respect for your opinion but sometimes your vision is really clouded which is rather sad. Not sure why you believe your Panda is all business – all his actions certainly don’t demonstrate that – particulars aren’t necessary as l am certain most people on this site know exactly what’s being said.

        • DOC (GetUsedToPandaFolks)

          There you go again HD. Lehner has played great AND been free of his problems for 3 years now. To me, it’s so sad that some of you, because you don’t like him, keep bringing up stuff he acknowledged, is constantly working on. You are not showing any respect for a man who has been honest and is now a big voice on mental health issues. He was recognized by the NHL 2-3 years ago for his efforts.. What the hell do you want from the guy? (Ya best get behind the guy, he’s going to be the Knights goalie for a longtime now). And know this, HD, I may be sick, but my vision is crystal clear!

          • DOC – your reading into things that weren’t written – I said nothing about mental health. nor would I, I am happy for the guy, he is working on it great and as you pointed out is recognized by the NHL for his efforts good for him. Just because someone has a different opinion of his capabilities or lack there of doesn’t make him a bad person nor has his performance made him an elite goal tender. If elite he is or was why did the other teams he has been associated with let him walk or walk from him??
            Secondly; for the record, nor did I imply being sick had anything to do with clouding your vision – that’s your idea not mine I would never do that. Let’s just agree to disagree on certain things – no hard feeling. I think we agree the team didn’t play well enough to win regardless who’s fault it was. Personally I hope Fluery takes his 14 million and goes to where he’s appreciated. I realize its your opinion and many other I am sure that he embarrassed Dcoach and the Dteam but just a question: who perpetuated that situation in the first place?

          • Julie

            That’s complete BS. It takes a lot of courage to go public about mental health issues. No one here has attacked Lehner for that. He will be the first to tell you it’s a daily struggle. It’s ok for anyone to acknowledge his struggle. Many people have to deal with it in their own lives all the time. It affects everything, that’s why it’s a daily struggle. So just stop. If anyone is attacking anyone here unnecessarily, it’s you. The only thing I can tell that you have been right about is the length of PDB’s contract. But given how things work in Vegas, he should be gone in a year. Gallant got the team to the Cup first year and playoffs the second, and he’s gone. What has your coach done for Vegas lately except lose in 9 months? Ridiculous.

      • ViveLesHabs

        Panda is a good name for Lehner, slow and lazy. If he was a great goaltender why has every team he’s played for dumped him?

  11. Doc (common sense rules)

    Ok, lets talk about understanding and kindness! How about some of that toward your coach and Lehner?????

  12. I’d love to see the two RFA back with the team. We need guys on D who can clear the front of the net, we don’t do that well.

  13. Doc (common sense rules)

    I don’t want to argue with anyone on why we didn’t win the series. We lost four ONE goal games! Had our top six scored, just at, their normal pace, we would have won those games. I am not blaming any particular player. It’s certainly not the coaches fault, the goalies fault. Just “normal” production, and we would still be playing.

    • Daryl

      I have to disagree with you here. It’s not anyone person’s fault but since of that blame does lie with PDB and Lehner. We gave up 8 goals in the last 3 games. Lehner let several soft goals in as well. Now I don’t put all those goals on Lehner, as you will agree with me, our defense was physically weak and we couldn’t clear the net. I put that blame on the coach. We needed grit and toughness and didn’t have it. He could have tried Engo at least one game as he would at least helped in that aspect.

      I also put a lot of blame on PDB. He constantly changed up the lines instead of changing up the scheme. It was talked about the entire series about not getting players in front of the net to disrupt the goalie. PDB even said they styrene changing anything. Who knows maybe being closed doors they talked about it but it was obvious they never actually tried it.

      I’m OK with Lehner even though I think MAF should have started… But I do not like PDB at all. I do not think he is a very good coach

    • Dustin

      Not the coaches fault….u are delusional…..whos job is it to make adjustments?? THE COACH….whos job is it to get in your top scores asses when they’re slumping?? THE COACHES…who’s job is it to stick to his own words about rotation?? THE COACHES……its majorly THE COACHES fault, along with (perfect name for a sloth) “Pandas” mediocre play when it counted most…….GET OFF LEHNERS NUTS and go back to being a SJS fan BRUH!!

  14. Richard Santomauro

    It is apparent to me that the VGK front office decided that the year 1 and 2 style of play was going to be flushed down the toilet in favor of the DeBoer “style” which is to set up offensive plays and be better than the opponents defense after setup. This is definitely not an exciting style of play, especially if you don’t have at least 3 lines who can dominate in that style. We have players on this roster today who do not fit that style of play at all (Smith, Marchy and Wild Bill). As a Season Ticket Holder I am not at all happy about how the year 1 and 2 players have been treated, including Coach Gallant and Prior. It seems to me that the front office lost faith in MAF all in that one 5 minute major penalty. This team was blessed from day 1, but it seems to me that the front office simply can’t stand even a little set back. Instead, the loss in round 2 last year sent them into complete panic mode. Let’s be clear. This DeBoer edition has talent, but the number of shots a team makes is meaningless. More emphasis needs to be placed on the locker room, team cohesiveness, and treating people right. I am not sure what is going to happen, but right now I am not very happy with the VGK front office as season ticket holder. They need to treat people better and be much more consistent in their approach to building this team into a winner. My fear is that they have made some major mistakes that is pointing the team in the wrong direction. Nearly getting beat by Vancouver was embarrassing enough. I was more concerned about playing Colorado. DeBoer definitely played right into the strength of the Stars and didn’t make any adjustments at all in the offensive approach. That’s troubling.

    • Soon To Be STH

      Are you going to give up you season tickets? I’m right at the top of the list. Would love to have them. Thank you

      • Doc (common sense rules)

        Ha ha …. right on “soon” (Ya know that when fans are allowed back into T-Mobile, it will packed again and just as loud as before). All this BS on here means nothing to most of the fans.

        • Daryl

          Doc I agree with most of that but for some of us we do stick with what we say. After Reaves and Lehner took a knee I canceled my subscription. I watched games but only online so they don’t get credit for me watching. Just like the NFL I haven’t watched a game in years now bought anything that supports them. Point is, since if it’s actually follow thru with what we say on here

          • DOC (JustaSportsFan)

            That’s fine Daryl ….. If you feel strongly about that, then you should do what you did. For me, I’m not going to let any of this stuff keep me from enjoying the sports I like. (and, I m not saying I agree or disagree with taking knees etc….)

        • I will watch hockey again next season up until they make it about politics. If the games next season go one as usual, I will enjoy watching every game possible. If they try to stick politics into the game I probably won’t watch but a handful of games a year. Viewer ratings for the playoffs dropped right after they NHL took their two day hiatus and if the NHL continues with their political madness, you will see another drop in ratings.

          What people don’t understand is that sports needs viewers, that is how they sell advertisement. When they sell a ad slot, those companies are guaranteed a certain number of viewers. If they don’t get those viewers then the sport has to give free advertisement. That actually happened a couple of times in the NFL. And when the ratings drop, sports can’t sell ads for the amount they normally do, so they lose money.

      • Daryl

        Ummm….. There are open season tickets available right now

    • Tim

      Richard many good points, Gallant not calling timeout after San Jose scored 2 in the 5 minute penalty and Fleury giving up 4 goals in the 5 minute penalty may have doomed them both. Management couldn’t of handled this any worse starting with the Gallant firing, hiring our mortal enemy DeBoer, to the Fleury debacle to the sword debacle, to no offense in the last two series just adds up to one big mess. The truth is no one views the Knights the same there is no honor and George and Kelly can be ruthless so our good feelings with the Golden Misfits is gone sad to say.

  15. Soon To Be STH

    Are you going to give up you season tickets? I’m right at the top of the list. Would love to have them. Thank you

    • Michaela

      I hope flower goes to the Avs and wins the cup next year with them!!! They have cap space for him and we can get either of their goalies to back up Lehner!!!

      • Sa'ad Quadri

        I love Fleury. I have since he first came on the scene, so this may be biased. But DeBoer blew the decision this playoffs. Lehner had trouble pretty much every other game. Alternating goalies, like he originally said, would likely have been the best decision. Look at the stats:

        Panda’s save percentages in the postseason were really inconsistent: .889, .914, .950, .880, .917, .885, 1.000, .846, 1.000, .882, .864, 1.000, 1.000, .870, .900, .885. He faced an average of 24 shots per game (24.125).

        Fleury’s save percentages in the postseason (including the exhibition game against Arizona) were much more consistent: .954, .765, .963, .903, .960. He also faced an average of 24 shots per game (24.4). He had that one bad game against St. Louis, but aside from that he was consistent and fresh.

        DeBoer was stubbron with his decision to start Panda. If he switched between goalies he would have likely gotten the best of both worlds and avoided “the tweet.” Fleury’s done in Vegas. I hope he goes back to Pitt and retires there. It’s sad how much this situation was botched.

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