The Vegas Golden Knights have been so close, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is a huge reason why. However, his time with the team may be coming to an end. He is 36, but has done very well for Vegas. Backup Robin Lehner overall is good. With that being said, Lehner is not the answer. Lehner should remain the backup, but in terms of a starter, the Vegas Golden Knights need to go younger. So, what are some options?
Surprisingly, a lot of young goalies are hitting the market. Some will most likely get resigned by their teams. But, we don’t know anything for sure yet. One name that sticks out is Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers will want to resign him since he looks like the future for New York. Speaking of Russian goalies that played in New York, Ilya Sorokin is hitting the market after playing for the Islanders. Sorokin split time with Semyon Varlamov, but Varlamov did get more playing time down the road and was the top option in the playoffs.
Ilya Samsonov is also on the market after playing with Washington. He spent time in the COVID protocol and had some injuries, so NHL newcomer Vitek Vanecek had a lot of opportunities. A couple of dark horse candidates to consider-one is Alex Nedeljkovic with the Hurricanes. Another name is, get ready for this one, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Yes, that is his real name and it is the best name in hockey. He played for Buffalo and even though it was a small sample size, the upside is huge since he is only 22. At this point, it seems unlikely that Nashville lets Juuse Saros walk out the door especially since Pekka Rinne just retired. Carter Hart is also a fee agent, but after a rough year, probably best to stay away and let Philly decide what they want to do with him.
Vanecek was left exposed to the Seattle Kraken for the expansion draft. If Washington decides to keep Samsonov, make a phone call. Back in New York, the Rangers signed Alexander Georgiev to new deal in 2020. Two 25 year old goaltenders on the same team are going to want their own opportunities to play. Vegas could put an offer together to land Georgiev. Keeping Fleury is also a very good option, but seems like salary cap may prevent that from happening. Pittsburgh is interested in bringing him back. Chicago wants to go all in, and they are very interested in Fleury’s services to do so. The walking hall of famer has some options, but if he leaves Vegas, it will be hard to see him go.
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