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.