As anticipated for nearly a month now, the Vegas Golden Knights and goaltender Robin Lehner have agreed to a five-year, $25MM contract extension. The deal has been officially announced with plenty of social media fanfare in typical Knights fashion. Lehner would have been a free agent and highly sought-after commodity when the market opened next Friday, but instead will stay in Las Vegas. PuckPedia reports that the deal breaks down as follows:
2020-21: $1MM salary, $2MM signing bonus, eight-team NTC
2021-22: $5MM salary, eight-team NTC
2022-23: $6.5MM salary, eight-team NTC
2023-24: $6MM salary, five-team NTC
2024-25: $4.5MM salary, five-team NTC
This new deal is a win-win for both sides. Despite playing at an elite level for the past three seasons, Lehner has only landed one-year contracts and played for fours different team in that span. His goal has always been to find a long-term home and his fit with Vegas has been obvious. At a $5MM AAV, this deal may not be at the top of Lehner’s potential market value, but it provides him with security and the chance to compete for a Stanley Cup each year. As for the Knights, goaltending was not considered a major area of need when the team acquired Lehner at the trade deadline as the intended backup to Marc-Andre Fleury, but it would have become an issue down the road as the 35-year-old Fleury neared the end of his contract with his play continuing to slip. Vegas has merely solved their problem in net before it had a chance to occur. Of course, Fleury’s days with the team are now numbered as Vegas likely cannot afford to keep both goalies, even at a very fair price for Lehner. With limited cap space this off-season, the Golden Knights will have to move their veteran keeper and officially hand the starting job to Lehner.
The other player impacted by this deal is UFA-to-be Jacob Markstrom. With the 29-year-old Lehner off the market, the 30-year-old Markstrom is now the clear-cut best available free agent goalie and will see an increase in his leverage to command a term and salary that could come in higher than Lehner’s.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli was to the first to report that the deal had been agreed upon to earlier today.