NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2021
Could the Golden Knights move a goaltender to free up cap space to fix their power play? What’s the latest on Duncan Keith? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reported Golden Knights owner Bill Foley will be meeting with his club’s front office and pro scouting staff in the coming weeks to draw up their plan for the offseason. He singled out the club’s power play as a key area to address.
The Golden Knights’ play with the man advantage has plagued them since last year’s postseason. Their power-play was held scoreless in 15 attempts during their semifinal series against the Montreal Canadiens and was 4-for-43 in this year’s playoffs.
With the second-most salary-cap space allotted to goaltending ($12 million), the Golden Knights must also decide whether to keep Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Foley advocated during last offseason to retain Fleury and has expressed his wish for the veteran netminder to finish his career with Vegas. Fleury, 36, won the Vezina Trophy this season. He and 29-year-old Lehner also won the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals-against.
Foley said he likes both goaltenders but indicated they’ll have to see how things evolve in the coming weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights could face a difficult decision with their goaltenders. They could be forced to move one of them to free up salary-cap space to bring in additional scoring punch for their power play.
Fleury and Lehner would draw plenty of interest in the trade market. Perhaps the Penguins could be among them but their limited cap space means shedding salary to make room for one or the other.
Fleury has a year left on his contract but carries a $7 million cap hit. Lehner’s is $5 million annually but has four more years on his deal. However, their modified no-trade clauses will limit the potential destinations. Fleury has a 10-team no-trade list while Lehner’s is eight teams for the coming season. If Vegas trades one they’ll have to find a suitable (and affordable) replacement via trade or free agency.
With the Oilers expected to protect seven forwards and three blueliners, perhaps it means any possible deal for Keith takes place following the July 21 expansion draft. In that case, however, it could mean the Blackhawks risk losing Riley Stillman to the Seattle Kraken if Keith won’t waive his no-movement clause for the draft.
Given Keith’s age (37), Matheson suggested the Oilers would be better off in an ideal world trying to sign 28-year-old Dallas Stars blueliner Jamie Oleksiak via free agency. However, Oleksiak could command $4 million per season. Oilers GM Ken Holland would likely be bidding against eight-to-10 other teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson raises an interesting point regarding the Keith-to-Edmonton trade speculation. As he pointed out, the Oilers could send the Blackhawk a defenseman in return for Keith that can be exposed in the expansion draft to protect Stillman.