In a head-scratcher of a move, Robin Lehner – a starting goaltender – was traded to a team that already has a starting goaltender. The Vegas Golden Knights sent backup Malcolm Subban and prospect defenseman Slava Demin to Chicago in return.
Vegas gets: one of the better, and obviously underrated, goaltenders in the league. Until a month ago, when Lehner hit a rough stretch, he had posted some of the best numbers in the NHL and was on more than a few midseason ballots as a Vezina Trophy nominee.
Chicago gets: a backup goalie. If that. Malcolm Subban may one day be a decent backup in the NHL, but that day is not today. His career SV% is 0.901 and this season is the worst of the three – just 0.890%. Prospect Demin is a stay-at-home defenseman and we have his prospect profile and scouting report here.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Vegas’ current starter Marc-Andre Fleury has won three Stanley Cups and has been to the Final five times. He makes $7M next year and the season after that. But he is 35 years old and has followed up last year’s 0.913 SV% with a 0.906 SV%. That sharp decline from his high of 0.927% in 2017-18 was enough to scare ownership and management into action. So now this becomes Robin Lehner vs. Marc-Andre Fleury. The Goalie Comparison Tool for these two is here.
Even with the horrible past month, Lehner still boasts a SV% of 0.918. He’s younger (seven years), he’s fresher (33 games played versus 45 for Fleury), and his SV% at even strength is 0.921. It’s the goals that Chicago gave up on the power play that has done him in. Lehner’s numbers have been stronger from all shot distances. Over the last three years, Lehner has played 132 games and has a 0.918 SV%. Fleury has played 152 games with a 0.915 SV% on a much better team. If Lehner performs well down the stretch, does he get extended? Rumor has it that he was willing to take a three-year deal at a discount to stay in Chicago. What happened there? And why didn’t Carolina pay this small price that Vegas paid? Carolina is going to limp into the playoffs with a prospect in net. While Lehner certainly could have gone to a team that was a better fit with no competition, the fact of the matter is – he will play. And on Vegas – he will win. If he wins “too much” then perhaps he steals a job, even though Fleury is akin to a god over there. But his starts split will be limited, perhaps even more than it was in Chicago.
In Chicago, Collin Delia is signed to a one-way contract beginning next year. He had a rough start in the AHL when he gave up 28 goals in his first seven games (0.841 SV%). Since then he has had a 0.921 SV% for Rockford and has gone 11-7-1. I would be surprised if we don’t see the 25-year-old Delia get called up for a look.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
- Corey Crawford
- Collin Delia (prospect profile and scouting report here)
- Robin Lehner
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
- Marc-Andre Fleury
- Malcolm Subban
The link for the forum discussion on this deal – fantasy hockey talk! – is here.