Robin Lehner went under the knife on Wednesday to have surgery on his injured shoulder, and the procedure was a success.
Now the recovery process will begin, and one has to think there will also be some thoughts on what the future of the Vegas Golden Knights are going to look like in 2022-23.
At this point in time, Pete DeBoer remains the head coach, and he is meeting this week with the front office to review the season and his future. He has one year left on his contract, and in his end of year availability stated his desire to return behind the bench.
Lehner has three years remaining on his contract at $5 million a season, and has an 8-team no trade list according to Cap Friendly. DeBoer’s comments to the media toward the end of the season weren’t too kind to Lehner, and that was before fans knew that the Golden Knights’ starting goaltender was having surgery.
He did walk things back a bit, but it doesn’t make things all that better considering that Lehner was battling multiple injuries so it would be odd for the Golden Knights’ head coach to not have a true read on the health of his starting goaltender.
"When I used the word healthy, they was the wrong word to use and that was on me." -DeBoer— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) May 3, 2022
Said the way he views it as a coach is that if you can play you are "healthy." He regrets using that term.
Added that he wouldn't have started Lehner is he thought he was compromised.
Lehner was limited to 44 games in 2021-22, and he posted numbers that include a 9.65 goals saved above expected, and a -1.06 goals saved above average per Evolving-Hockey. It was hard for him to get into a rhythm, and there was a short stretch of time where he seemingly was playing at 100 percent.
Given the promise Logan Thompson showed, and the cap situation Vegas faces, one has to wonder that if the team brings back DeBoer if they will consider moving Lehner. Goalies and head coaches fight all the time, and there are numerous examples throughout hockey history of individuals co-existing for the good of the team.
As things stand, the Golden Knights have a roster size of 18 for next season, and a projected cap hit of $83,066,667 per Cap Friendly. This doesn’t include UFAs Reilly Smith, Mattias Janmark, Jake Bischoff, or RFAa Nicolas Roy, Keegan Kolsear, Nicolas Hague, or Brett Howden.
It will be interesting to see how things play out, but for now it is good to see that Lehner had a success surgery, and is on the road to recovery. When healthy, Lehner has shown he can be a top goaltender in the NHL, and he could be a real help to the Golden Knights.