Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner may or may not be out of commission for the duration of the 2021-22 campaign.
It was initially reported that Lehner would undergo season-ending surgery to address a knee injury suffered in early March that Lehner was unable to play through, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
Robin Lehner is getting season ending surgery, sources told ESPN.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) April 22, 2022
Lehner had battled back from a major knee injury he sustained in Philadelphia on March 8. He gave it all he could but his body finally gave out.
However, Pete DeBoer denied any such claim when asked after practice, according to multiple sources. DeBoer expects Lehner to be back at practice tomorrow after taking a maintenance day today and expects him to be dressed for Sunday’s game against San Jose.
Pete DeBoer on if @espn’s report that Robin Lehner will have season-ending surgery is accurate: “Not to my knowledge. It was a maintenance day today. I expect him at practice tomorrow. I expect him dressed on Sunday.”— Ben Gotz (@BenSGotz) April 22, 2022
This latest wrinkle is particularly intriguing since Lehner’s injury status has been under the microscope multiple times this season.
The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported on two occasions that Lehner had sustained serious injuries, the first to his shoulder and the second to his knee.
Lehner denied both reports.
Lehner on whether he believes he will be healthy the rest of the season: "I'm not going to talk about injuries. Obviously what Dr. Seravalli wasn't true. Obviously I haven't had a surgery, so I'm good."— David Schoen (@DavidSchoenLVRJ) March 2, 2022
Lehner deleted his Twitter account earlier this month, but he refuted Seravalli’s second report in a March 18 tweet.
All of this comes after Lehner was curiously pulled following the first period of Wednesday night’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals.
After allowing one goal on 13 shots in the first period, DeBoer opted to play 25-year-old Logan Thompson for the rest of the game. Thompson ended up making 13 saves on 15 shots in his two-plus periods of action.
But it remains unclear whether or not Lehner will be available for the Golden Knights’ final push as they look to make the postseason for the fifth time in five years.
If true, the timing of the season-ending surgery could not be worse for the Golden Knights. With just four games left to play in the regular season, the Knights are two points out of a playoff spot, making just about each of their remaining tilts must-win outings.
When healthy, Lehner has been the Knights’ primary backstop for much of the 2021-22 campaign. He’s started 44 games this season, logging a .907 save percentage and 2.83 goals against average — not exactly sterling numbers, but he’s also been tasked with playing behind an injury-riddled squad for much of the year.
Laurent Brossoit, who’s served as Lehner’s backup for much of the season, is also out with an injury of his own. Brossoit was placed on injured reserve last month, opening the door for Thompson to earn more time in the crease.
Thompson, who signed with the Knights as an undrafted free agent last summer, has been solid throughout his short time in Vegas. Appearing in 15 games, the Calgary native has logged an impressive .920 save percentage and 2.56 goals against average while guiding the Knights to nine wins.
The Knights next play Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks before taking on the Dallas Stars Tuesday in what could end up being their most important game of the season. The Knights trail Dallas by two points in the chase for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.