The Vegas Golden Knights will have tough choices to make with the salary cap remaining frozen at $81.5 million for next season, especially when it comes re-signing goalie Robin Lehner, who was acquired at the trade deadline. Lehner is set to become an unrestricted free agent and it seems almost impossible for the Knights to hold on to him.
Vegas has over $74.6 million invested in 17 players for the 2020-21 campaign. It is expected that Lehner will be seeking security after spending the past three seasons on one-year contracts, but could end up commanding $6 million annually on the open market.
We bet he goes, which means the Knights will need to find a backup goalie for Marc-Andre Fleury. And a backup goalie that they won’t mind being available for the 32nd NHL team in Seattle, that will hold their expansion draft later in 2021.
That’s why team insider Jesse Granger of The Athletic suggested that another huge move comes between Vegas and Pittsburgh. The story will sound familiar: Fleury was moved from the Penguins to the Golden Knights at their expansion draft, but now Vegas would look to Matt Murray, bring him on board in order to protect Flower in 2021.
Murray is a restricted free agent so his next contract will take up a big chunk of the Golden Knights’ payroll, meaning they’ll have to send salary the other way. Granger points out that Murray has been struggling in Pittsburgh ever since Fleury left for Sin City and could choose to protect goalie Tristan Jarry for the Seattle expansion draft.
“If Pittsburgh doesn’t want to lose its two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie for absolutely nothing, the Penguins could once again give the Golden Knights a call. Murray would fit right in, joining a familiar tandem with Fleury, and would give Vegas a more stable goalie situation for the future,” Granger explains.
The story would be coming full circle, until the expansion draft at least, and the move would give Vegas a solid goaltending duo for a season.
You have to admit Granger is right with this sentence:
“There’s no denying, Vegas acquiring Murray to be Fleury’s backup and eventual replacement would be poetic.”