Vegas Golden Knights: Fleury to remain, Lehner to undergo shoulder surgery

Robin Lehner #90 and Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights skate in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars in Game Three. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Robin Lehner #90 and Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights skate in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars in Game Three. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Vegas Golden Knights goalie tandem is staying intact.

On a day jam-packed full of announcements with the Vegas Golden Knights finally getting their man in Alex Pietrangelo, some big goalie news also dropped.

We learned that Robin Lehner is due to undergo shoulder surgery, while it was also revealed that Marc-Andre Fleury is going nowhere.

Moments before Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon was due to hold a Press Conference with the Media following the signing of Pietrangelo to a seven-year, $61.6 million deal, it was reported by Frank Seravalli of TSN that Lehner had an injury that may cause him to miss some time.

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However, in speaking to the media, McCrimmon allayed any fears by revealing that Lehner will undergo shoulder surgery this week and should be ready for the start of Training Camp.

“There’s very little complexity to the surgery. It’s what we refer to as clean up surgery,” McCrimmon told the media.

That will be a relief for the Golden Knights given that Lehner has just signed a five-year, $25 million contract and should be Vegas’ undisputed started heading into the 2020-21 NHL season.

And, given the uncertainty over when next season will start, Lehner should have ample time to be able to recover from surgery and then get himself ready for action.

Also, in what was a huge revelation given all the recent speculation, McCrimmon also revealed that the Golden Knights will be riding with a goalie tandem of Lehner and Fleury for the 2020-21 season.

Fleury’s future with this franchise has been uncertain dating back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Lehner emerged as the No. 1 starter, leading to a boatload of controversy including Fleury’s longtime agent Allan Walsh sending out that now infamous Tweet which depicted a sword plunging through the back of his client with the name of Head Coach Pete DeBoer emblazoned on the blade.

That speculation only increased in the wake of Lehner signing his contract, and it reached boiling point when the Golden Knights began to actively and aggressively shop Fleury in trade talks in order to clear cap space for the impending signing of Alex Pietrangelo.

However, with teams wanting high draft picks back in return in order to take on Fleury’s $7 million cap hit coupled with the amount of high-end goalies available in Free Agency, the Golden Knights couldn’t find a trade that would work.

As a result, McCrimmon went down another path by dealing forward Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Carl Dahlstrom and a 2022 Fourth Round pick, before pulling the trigger on a trade that sent defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a Third Round selection in 2022 earlier today.

Thanks to those moves the Golden Knights are now just $124,000 over the $81.5 million salary cap and, with teams allowed to go over the cap by 10 percent during the off-season, the front office have plenty of time to get cap compliant before the start of the 2020-21 season.

With those moves made, Fleury will now remain with the Golden Knights and the goalie has two years remaining on his current contract with an AAV of $7 million.

It gives the Golden Knights one of the best one-two punches between the pipes in the entire National Hockey League, while keeping hold of their face of the franchise and keeping the peace in the locker room and amongst the fans.

Fleury is the heartbeat of this team and, in an off-season where Paul Stastny, Deryk Engelland and Nate Schmidt have all left, the future Hall of Famer’s leadership will be even more crucial going forward.

Marc-Andre Fleury (29), Robin Lehner (90)
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) congratulates goaltender Robin Lehner (90). Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Lehner was elite for the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 9-7-0 in 16 starts with a 1.99 Goals Against Average and a .917 Save Percentage to go along with four shutouts.

Fleury endured a bit of a down year in 2019-20 with a 27-16-5 record with a 2.77 GAA and a .905 Save Percentage, although he was stellar in four starts inside The Bubble in Edmonton with a 2.27 GAA and a .910 SV% in the postseason.

And McCrimmon couldn’t stress enough that he will be riding with that elite goalie tandem going forward.

“Our goalies will be Robin and Marc-Andre entering Training Camp, and next season. We’re dedicating $12 million in contracts towards goalies, and that is a lot. The importance of two goaltenders will be really valuable.”

That last point is key given that the 2020-21 season could feature a really congested schedule due to the late start date, so having two high-end goalies that can split the workload will be more important than ever.

Also, the fact that the likes of Cody Glass, Zach Whitecloud, Peyton Krebs and Nic Hague will all be relied on to take on big roles while on their Entry-Level Contracts should help the Golden Knights to get and then remain cap compliant, but we’ll delve more into that later this week.

Next. Schmidt is the sacrificial lamb. dark

For now, it has been a day of incredible news for the Vegas Golden Knights who acquired their franchise defenseman, while their face of the franchise and future Hall of Famer goalie is now staying put.