One would think that after learning Robin Lehner will miss the entire 2022-23 season due to hip surgery, the Vegas Golden Knights will be searching heavily for a goaltender. That, however, may not be the case.
According to Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now. it is believed around the league that Golden Knights management plans to, at the very least, begin the season with a goaltending tandem of Michael Hutchinson and Logan Thompson. Laurent Brossoit remains an option for the long-term as well, though he is expected to miss the beginning of the 2022-23 campaign as he continues to recover from his own hip surgery this past May.
If this is indeed the case, it is a very risky move by general manager Kelly McCrimmon, whose job is undoubtedly on the line after missing the playoffs this past season. On paper, he has built a team loaded with star talent, but one that also lacks depth due to issues with the salary cap. A healthy Lehner would have likely resulted in them getting back into the playoffs in 2022-23, but without him there is some serious doubt.
As a tandem, Hutchinson and Thompson have combined for just 157 NHL games. Hutchinson is the more experienced of the two, but at the age of 32, he is nothing more than a journeyman netminder. He spent the majority of this past season in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies, where he recorded a 3.23 goals against average (GAA) along with a .899 save percentage (SV%) in 28 appearances.
Thompson, on the other hand, has many excited about his future as an NHL goaltender after he burst onto the scene last year in large part due to injuries suffered by both Lehner and Brossoit. The 25-year-old was able to suit up for 19 games with the Golden Knights last season, registering a solid 2.68 GAA and a .914 SV%. While those numbers are promising, his lack of experience makes him a very risky option to count on.
As for goaltenders the Golden Knights do have available if they so choose, perhaps the best of the bunch is Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders. The 34-year-old remains a very capable number one netminder, but has seen his workload lessen behind Ilya Sorokin. Other options would include James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks, Jake Allen of the Montreal Canadiens, and John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks. Of course, in order to add any of the names listed, they would need to find a way to clear out some cap space.
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