1:57 PM: Coach Pete DeBoer has added some mystery to the situation. Despite ESPN’s reporting and corroboration from other media sources, when asked about Lehner’s situation DeBoer stated that the reports of Lehner undergoing season-ending surgery are not accurate “to his knowledge.” He said that he expects Lehner to be at practice tomorrow. This is certainly an unexpected development, and a situation that we will keep updating as more information becomes available.
1:11 PM: As the Vegas Golden Knights look to make the playoffs over this final stretch of the season, they now will have to do so without their starting goaltender. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan has reported that Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner’s season is over, as he has opted to undergo surgery for a major knee injury he suffered against Philadelphia last month. Lehner had attempted to play through that injury over the past month but has finally made the choice to end his season to get started on the recovery process.
This was the 30-year-old Lehner’s first season as the Golden Knights’ unquestioned starting goalie thanks to the offseason departure of Marc-Andre Fleury, and Lehner finishes his season having posted mixed results. His .907 save percentage over 44 games played ranks 30th in the NHL, and his inconsistency has been a factor in the Golden Knights’ struggles this season. He has had games where he has shown the brilliance that made him a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2018-19, but has also had games where he has looked off and struggled to make expected saves. The Golden Knights are committed to him financially, as he holds a contract worth $5MM against the cap through 2024-2025, but coach Pete DeBoer’s comments and Lehner’s struggles to fill Fleury’s shoes leave questions about his long-term future in Vegas’ crease.
With Lehner out, the fate of the Golden Knights’ season now rests in the hands of goaltender Logan Thompson. The undrafted Thompson, 25, has earned the trust of coach Pete DeBoer in recent weeks and has posted a sterling .920 save percentage in 15 games this season. While the former Brandon Wheat King was stopping pucks in the ECHL as recently as 2019-20, it is his rapid rise through the ranks of Vegas’ organization that has put him in this position. He posted a .943 save percentage in 23 games last season for the Henderson Silver Knights and has a .920 in games at that level this season. Given the lofty expectations surrounding the Golden Knights, the entire organization has to be hopeful that Thompson can continue that run of success into Vegas’ next four games and save their season.