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How Will The Golden Knights Replace Robin Lehner?

With hip surgery sidelining goaltender Robin Lehner for the coming season, there are questions over how the Vegas Golden Knights will replace him. Finding a suitable starter through trade or free agency will be a daunting challenge.
Robin Lehner and William Karlsson

With hip surgery sidelining goaltender Robin Lehner for the coming season, there are questions over how the Vegas Golden Knights will replace him. Finding a suitable starter through trade or free agency will be a daunting challenge.

The Athletic's Jesse Granger observed the pickings are slim in the free agent market. Braden Holtby remains unsigned but injuries threaten to end his career. Cory Schneider is available but he spent the past two seasons in the AHL.

Vegas Hockey Now's Owen Krepps suggested the Anaheim Ducks' John Gibson and the New York Islanders' Semyon Varlamov as possible trade options. However, both goalies carry modified no-trade lists.

In June, Gibson denied rumors claiming he wanted out of Anaheim. Meanwhile, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello appears intent on maintaining his goalie tandem of Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin for the coming season.

Krepps also suggested the Columbus Blue Jackets' Joonas Korpisaso and the San Jose Sharks' James Reimer. Neither goalie, however, seems capable of suitably filling Lehner's skates.

Granger raised the possibility of the Golden Knights signing Dallas Stars' restricted free agent Jake Oettinger to an offer sheet. They lack a second-round pick in next year's draft, prompting Granger to suggest an offer between $4.2 million and $6.3 million to meet the compensation requirement of a first and a third-round pick.

Assuming Oettinger accepts an offer sheet, it could take something north of $6.4 million to come up with a contract that the Stars might be unwilling to match. Without their own 2023 second-round pick, the Golden Knights can't make that pitch.

The lack of suitable trade and free-agent options could force the Golden Knights to find solutions from within. That could mean promoting Logan Thompson as Lehner's replacement with Laurent Brossoit or Michael Hutchinson backing him up. 

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