Lehner to miss the entire 2022-23 season

Wow! Vegas is absolutely screwed now!

HockeyFeed

This just in, the Vegas Golden Knights have stated that goaltender Robin Lehner will miss the entire 2022-23 season as he recovers from hip surgery.

This is obviously devastating news for the franchise and will seriously hamper their ability to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 31 year old netminder has seen somewhat limited action since arriving in Vegas back in 2020. First, because he was battling for ice time with Marc Andre Fleury and then battling with injury. It seems now that his injuries have finally caught up with him enough that he'll require an ENTIRE season off. Just shocking news, really.

Even more shocking is that fact that Vegas put all of their eggs in one basket by signing Lehner to a long term deal and shipping out Fleury, the then Vezina reigning goaltender, last offseason. Now Vegas is left with literally ZERO NHL goaltenders as backup Laurent Brossoit is also on the injured reserve. Just a year ago though they boasted arguably the best tandem in the league with Lehner and Fleury. Reminds me of when the Vancouver Canucks went from having Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider to Eddie Lack and a rookie Jacob Markstrom. Not exactly the best upgrade.

As for available options, the goalie free agent market has pretty much been tapped out. The only real option amongst free agents who played in actual NHL games last season is veteran Braden Holtby. The 32 year old netminder was decent in his stint with the Dallas Stars, but was surpassed by youngster Jake Oettinger. Given the lack of available options, I suspect Holtby's agent will be getting a call with a Sin City area code shortly.

As far as trade targets go, the San Jose Sharks have three quality NHL netminders in Adin Hill, James Reimer and Kaapo Kakhonen under contract and it's expected that GM Mike Grier will look to move one before the regular season. But... if you're a Vegas fan how confident are you in James Reimer leading the Golden Knights to the promise land? Say what you will about Lehner and his inconsistency but he's as good as it's going to get for Vegas.

New York Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov is another option, but I have a hard time seeing Isles GM Lou Lamoriello giving away a quality netminder without another one waiting in the wings. Plus, Varlamov has been a good mentor for fellow Russian netminder Ilya Sorokin.

So really... Vegas' options are to sign Holtby, trade for Reimer or overpay in a trade for Varlamov. Ouch. And to think they gave away a superstar and fan favorite in Fleury for literally nothing. Double ouch.