The Vegas Golden Knights made some significant trade deadline moves which should allow them to compete towards being a Stanley Cup finalist again. The Vegas club acquired a forward, defenceman, and top-line goalie. They traded away Cody Eakin to make some cap space room enabling them to go after the players they desired.
They had already acquired a talented defenceman in Alec Martinez before the deadline madness that took place on Monday. He has responded brilliantly with two goals, two assists in his first three games in Sin-City. Amazing how well a player can respond when he’s traded to a quality team.
Vegas Golden Knights Trade Deadline Details
The big trade came when the Golden Knights shocked everyone by obtaining Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks… through the Toronto Maple Leafs. They only had to give up their backup goalie Malcolm Subban, a second-round pick and prospect Slava Demin.
So, first thoughts which came to mind were is 35-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury retiring? No. Do they think his play is deteriorating? No again. They will now have the coach’s dream (or nightmare depending on how you view it) of not one but two starting goalies. This becomes especially vital during the playoffs. If you get one goalie who stays hot, you stay with him. But what if a goalie has a bad game or two, or gets exhausted due to overuse? The goalie-one, goalie-one-A is especially attractive if one goalie gets injured. You are not forced to play a lesser goalie since you have two very qualified netminders keeping pucks out.
Lehner may push Fleury to play his best. It’s never a bad thing to have that kind of competition between your goalies. Another alternative is what if one goalie lets in three goals in the first period? You now have the luxury of replacing him by not decreasing your level of play. It’s brilliant.
Lehner’s statistics show how this trade could really favor the Golden Knights. This season playing for a poor performing team he has a 16-10-5 record. His save percentage of .918 and goals-against-average of 3.01 are not stunning. Again, playing on a much better defensive team like Vegas will only allow his previous stats to return. Last season he had an amazing 25-13-5 record carrying a save percentage of .930 with a stellar 2.13 goals-against-average. He also had six shutouts playing for the New York Islanders.
Will Lehner Stay?
He apparently told Chicago he liked playing there and would accept a lower contract, but for whatever reason, that was rejected by the Blackhawks. Lehner will be an unrestricted free agent come July 1st. So, perhaps depending on how far the Vegas team gets in the playoffs, he may want to stay. Otherwise, he will see what the free agency market can pay him.
The Forward Added Was Nick Cousins
Nick Cousins has been around playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, and Montreal Canadiens in his short four-year career. He’s a gritty player who can score timely goals and play on the penalty kill. If the team decides to not keep Ryan Reaves and his $2.85 million hit, Cousins comes in quite a bit cheaper and plays a similar style.
This Adds up to a Team Very Capable of Winning a Cup
The heart of a hockey team is it’s goalie. It’s very similar to having good pitching in baseball. With both Fleury and Lehner in net it will be tough on opposing teams to score. The ingredients for a successful run into the playoffs are there.
Now, all they need to do is play the games to get there.